Saturday, June 6, 2009

Tea Tasting Saturday #23 - Ali Shan

Lesson for the week: Just because a tea resembles gunpowder green doesn't mean it will taste or *steep* like gunpowder green!

Category: Oolong Tea

Purveyor: Harney & Sons

Dry leaf appearance: Like larger balls of gunpowder green, but with a variation in color and not quite as tightly rolled. But definitely "ball-like."

Wet leaf appearance: Large, clearly life-sized tea leaves, sometimes still attached to the twig. I actually steeped this tea directly in my gaiwan for a change, and I was stunned when the 3-minute timer went off and I walked in the kitchen to see tea leaves completely filling the cup. Wow! I ended up pouring it all in a teapot and adding a few more ounces of water because I couldn't believe there should be this much leaf in the cup.

Steeping temperature and time: 1 teaspoon of tea, 205 degrees, 3 minutes.

Scent: This tea had a light floral fragrance, reminding me of last week's oolong but with a hint of jasmine.

Color: Medium gold.

Flavor: As with the scent, this reminded me of last week's tea but with the jasmine flavor. And although I liked this tea just fine, I definitely prefer the Wenshan BaoZhong oolong from last week.

Additional notes: Ali Shan is considered a good example of high-mountain oolongs from Taiwan, which Michael Harney says "first emerged in the early 1980s, after the lifting of the embargo against world trade with Communist China." And if you have the book, be sure and read the account of how this tea is processed. So much work goes into this tea!

Next week's tea: Dong Ding


  1. Thanks for the review. By the look of the tea I too would have assumed it would taste like gunpowder green. Glad it didn't.

  2. I'll bet it was a surprise to see such large steeped leaves. I may like this tea, if the jasmine flavor is very light. Thanks for another great review.

  3. It's hard to believe you're half way there!


Thanks so much for taking time to leave a comment! It makes my day to hear from readers!