Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Is there honey still for tea?

Heritage Honey Oolong
Hello! Today I'm going to be talking about another tea from MountainTea.com: Heritage Honey Oolong. This tea is grown in Nantou, Taiwan at an altitude of 1300m above sea level; classifying it as an Ali Shan Oolong. Mountain Tea doesn't have any information about the roast or oxidation of HHO but my guess is that the roast is 0% or very very little while the oxidation is probably around 40% or more. What brought me to this conclusion is all in the cup; the liquor is a deep honey color after a quick rinse which usually indicates a roast or high oxidation. From tasting the broth, I cant taste any noticeable roast flavors. The tightly rolled balls are green so I can only assume the deep rich amber liquor the cha is producing is from oxidation which I would also assume is where the name comes from. (a lot of assumption there, I know)

Ive been enjoying this tea for some time now to offset the expense of some of the high quality teas Ive been purchasing. Mountain Tea is offering this tea at a very low price of $10/5oz. You're not going to find a better deal for a classic, one dimensional, straight forward oolong.  They have notes of peach, citrus, and sugarcane listed on MT's site but sadly I couldn't detect any of those notes. That doesn't mean I haven't enjoyed this tea though. Due to its price, I tend to use this tea as my "all day" tea, meaning, when I want to drink some tea but I don't have the time to focus on the qi or its life. I can drink this tea without much distraction from its flavor and effects.
First  Steeping.

For sake of having steep by steep information, I used 8-10g in my 4oz houhin. Starting off, I did a quick 10-15 second rinse with off boiling water. The smell of earth and tea rise from the vessel to greet me with a welcoming aroma. I may be able to pick out some fruit notes by smelling the leaves but only slightly. The first steep was for 15-20 seconds and produced a yellow tinged liquid. The second steeping is where this tea's name comes from; deep honey(amber) liquor with a 30 second infusion. The flavor I get from this tea is that of a decent oolong without much excitement. I'm not getting any bitterness or astringency, unless you steep way too long, which my pallet is thankful for. I feel a nice warming effect after a few more steeps of the same broth as the first, its nice and calming. I'm enjoying this cha's modest offering more and more at night, sort of like a tea night cap. Its relaxing qi puts me at a great place to get into bed and sleep.
Second steeping.