Shan Lin Xi, light style Taiwan oolong
From the Stream of Cypress Woods
To most people, teas from Taiwan are synonymous with high mountain oolongs. Officially, these are the four top subregions for the tea: Alishan, Shan Lin Xi, Li Shan, and Yu Shan. We already carry quite a few Alishan’s, to find one from the others, we have been relentlessly searching. It has to be one comparable to those from Alishan but individualistic enough.
Shan Lin Xi — literally Stream of Cypress Woods — is an area deep in a national reserve in the mountainous central area of the island country. Two hour driving from the station in the small city of Chia Yi, you will have climbed 1000m on the curvy roads deep in the sparse village areas with dense tall trees and quite many degrees lower than down there. Tea patches are hidden here and there amongst forests, occasional clusters of bamboos and a great diversity of wild plants.
The same Chin Hsin Gan Chi cultivar grown here yields leaves that seem to have acquired a different character, a somehow lighter yet more complex, more stimulating tinkle. Previously when I was still operating a teahouse, some customers came to do Zen with tea as the medium. I guess this Shan Lin Xi Oolong can be one for it too.
Net weight: 50 g (1.8 oz) in Handy alu-bag
Warm, yet light aroma akin to steamed rice from afar, tinted with the blooming of chrysanthemum morifolium and a very light touch of honey and rosemary. Cleansing, lively body with a lighter, less demanding character on a silky texture. Initial clean aftertaste, with late onset yet lingering sweetness.
This oolong can manifest to become quite widely different characters. Higher heat, as much as near boiling, yields a stronger backbone with more prominent astringency. Tone it down to 90°C, the tea can be silky soft. Give it a higher leaf to water ratio, a velvety mouth feel. The taste experience from one of the Taiwan top four high mountain oolongs is worth experimenting with.
|Dimensions||18 × 9 × 5 cm|
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This is among the best Shan Lin Xi I’ve ever had. I’m not a connoisseur of Taiwanese oolongs to nearly the same extent that I am a fanatic for Fenghuang oolong, but I’ve been around the block many times and sampled all kinds of Shan Lin Xi with price points from $0.10/g to beyond $1.00/g – and I must say, without a doubt, this is top-tier quality at a price point that makes it a no-brainer.
Even the most die-hard aficionados of Taiwanese oolongs could comfortably keep some of Tea Hong’s Shan Lin Xi in their stash.
The flavor profile is exquisite, it oozes sweet and creamy overtones reminiscent of cinnamon-infused rice milk or coconut milk, with gentle herbaceous accents that remind me of rosemary or pine needles. It’s consistent all the way through and the aftertaste lingers persistently.
This really hits the spot, it’s complex enough to impress those who are new to Taiwanese oolongs, as well as satisfy even the most discerning aficionados who want a great price to quality ratio daily-drinker that does not sacrifice quality in the cup.