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Speaking on Taiwan tea, Li Shan Oolong Tea is the top level Taiwan Gao Leng oolong tea. The special phrase Gao Leng, 高冷(gāo lěng) in Chinese, means high and cold, refers to the environment at high altitudes and in low temperature. Li Shan tea trees are grown in this high and cold environment, making the tea leaf soft, thick with high content of pectin substances. This unique feature cannot be found on the teas grown in low altitude areas. Just as an old Chinese saying that human beings are shaped by the land around them. So are the tea trees. By this token, growing of the tea trees, picking the fresh tea leaves, as well as processing of the tea all reply on the environment condition. The climate in Lishan Mountain makes Gao Leng Tea in a limited output. It is a remarkable tea.
A good tea needs attentive observation on its appearance and careful taste on its flavor. This Nonpareil Taiwan Li Shan Oolong Tea is twisted into round particles. Dry tea is in dark green color of glossy appearance. Infuse the tea with 100℃ water. Tea liquid looks transparent in golden yellow color. It tastes full and mellow, with long-lasting sweetness and fresh fragrance in the mouth. The floral aroma and smooth flavor still stays after ten or more steeps. As it cooled, its fragrance and sweetness retains in your cup. This is a special characteristic which only can be found on high grade teas. Another characteristic of Li Shan High-Mountain Oolong Tea is the natural fruity scent. It is a result of the high mountain and low temperature condition. Unique climate and fertile soil bear the tea trees that are grown with the natural fragrance. Thus the tea’s flavor tastes richer which differs from low grade tea. This is the important fact that the tea can become a representative of Taiwan Gao Leng tea.
The test of this Lishan Tea is commissioned by Davidoff Rhine Laboratory (German). The testing result is compared to the low pesticide residues standard of tea of Taiwan's Department of Health. The result complies with the standard.
Recommend Brewing Guide:
Lishan Mountain is in the middle of Taiwan. From 1970, people started to plant tea trees on Lishan Mountain. It is the highest tea planting areas in Taiwan with an average altitude at 2600m.
Lishan high mountain tea is produced in Fushoushan Farm on Lishan Mountain, in the area at 2000 meters high. The farm is in marked high mountain climate. Tea trees grow slowly in cold weather throughout the year, which makes the tea leaf small and soft, containing high content of nutritious substances. This is a hotbed for planting tea trees.
calla lily in the tea garden
It is a regular pattern about aromatic substances in tea, that new buds have higher content than old leaf, spring teas contains more than summer teas, and high mountain tea is higher than low altitude tea. This is the reason that new harvested high mountain tea has strong aroma.
In Taiwan, the teas planted above 800 meters high can be called as High Mountain Tea. Main representative High Mountain tea includes Ali Shan Oolong Tea (altitude between 1000 meters to 1500 meters), Ali Shan LuZhu Tea, Shan Ling Xi Oolong (altitude at 1600 meters), Li Shan Oolong Tea (altitude over 2000 meters), and Da Yun Lin High Mountain Cha Wang Oolong Tea (altitude over 2500 meters).
Vertical Distribution of High Moutain Tea
Due to the cold, cloudy and short sunlight time, High Mountain tea is better in quality than teas grows in lower altitudes.
Normally, in Taiwan tea trees grown at the altitude less than 800 meters are called as low altitude tea. It is different from high mountain tea on the geological features and climate. Taiwan is a mountainous island. The mountain area covers almost 2/3 of its total area. With high mountains in the middle of the land and low coast surrounded, the island has wild water and good drainage. Climate here is more complicate. Mountainous geography allows monsoon climate and high mountain climate existing at the same time. Li Shan Oolong Tea grows in the area over 2000 meters high. Yet as we know, temperature declines 6 degrees for each kilometer the altitude rises. Therefore, the climate on Lishan Mountain is cool all year round. Tea leaf grows slowly, and is soft with elegant aroma and obvious floral scent. Moreover, the unique geography feature forms distinctive nutritious substances in the tea, which is the quality that low altitude tea doesn’t have.
But there is a question: can this place produce top quality Taiwan Gao Leng tea? The answer is not certain. Under the high mountain and cold condition, processing Gao Leng tea will be extremely hard, which can be seen from its expensive price. But why? The making of high quality oolong tea requires good material as well as good weather. Chinese people believe that when the weather favors us, it is the best time for making oolong tea. Good sunlight is needed; meanwhile the process must be quick. Nevertheless, the unstable weather on high mountain couldn’t allow the workers to make tea always in the best condition. In bad weathers, the Gao Leng tea wouldn’t have high quality. No wonder why top teas are always expensive. The result of making high quality teas are limited by many factors. However, if you have a chance to taste it, you will think it values.
Lishan Mountain locates on the north end of Nantou County, lying on the common boundary of Taichung, Hualien, at the altitude of 2000 meters. The main tea production areas in Lishan Mountain include Fushoushan Farm, Cuifeng, Cuilan, Wuling and so on, spreading from altitude 1200 meters to altitude 2600 meters. Fushoushan Farm is on the south mountainside of Lishan Mountain, close to the Central Cross-Island Highway. When looking at the farm, you will see the land is covered with green tea trees, and smell the elegant fragrance of flowers. The Fushoushan Farm, however, is not the highest tea garden in Taiwan. It ranks number 2, after the top Dayuling tea garden, which is 2500 meters high. Dayuling Oolong Tea is the best grade among Li Shan Tea. Besides this, Wuling Farm and Cuifeng tea garden are also the representative Li Shan tea gardens.
Fushoushan Farm surrounded by clouds
Though Lishan Mountain is high, it is a busy place with crowds and traffic. But at the height of 2000 meters, Fushoushan Farm is a quiet and cool place for spending the hot summer.
Qing Xin Oolong tea tree is high quality specie, suitable for making Pouchong tea. The tree is bush. Leaf is oval, has thick mesophyll, and appears to be soft and smooth, slightly elastic. Its surface is glossy in deep green color. Buds have abundant pekoes, sprouting later than other species. The bud is green with light purple color.
Li Shan Tea refers to the tea planted in the altitude higher than 2000 meters. In the early 70s, the farmer Chen Jindi firstly succeeded to plant tea tree which is the famous Qing Xin Oolong, in his apple garden and pear garden. After that, this tea tree is extensively planted in Fushoushan Farm. The farm was undertaken by Tian Ren Tea in the early stage, because of which the tea was called Tian li Tea. As the tea tree are planted in the area over 2000 meters high where the climate is cool and cloudy all year long, the tea leaf is thick and soft, contains high amount of pectin substances as well as amino acid. Therefore tea made in here has full aroma and excellent taste. It has been wildly popular among tea lovers for a period of time. Thus, Li Shan Tea became famous. Afterwards a tea manufacturer was settled in Foushoushan Farm. Teas produced there and nearby are mostly called as Li Shan Tea.
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A beautiful tea, similar in taste and scent to Ali Shan, but with a hint of darker, almost earthy tones underneath the sweet butteriness and floral high notes. I steeped in a gaiwan, boiling water, 20 seconds each time, and the Li Shan (like the Ali Shan) lasted for steep after steep. The flavours and aromas didn't change an awful lot through the infusions, though the milkiness became a little more subdued over time, and the floral more pronounced. A lovely, special tea, and one of my all-time favourites.
A fantastic Li Shan with all of the right qualities. It is sweet, creamy, floral, and lightly spicy with some cinnamon notes in there too. I like how this tea evolves from cup to cup. Every steep reveals a different layer of flavor. The price is pretty good for a Li Shan of this quality. It is easy to brew, it always tastes great, and it can be steeped for a very long time.
A very tasty tea. Light and floral aroma with a creamy taste. Very pleasant aftertaste and overall a very relaxing tea. I brewed this tea in a 200ml glass teapot, gongfu style. Excellent green oolong!
Good oolong tea, but I have to use a lot of tea to obtain a juicy cup. 4 gr x 1 minute, multiple infusions.
The aroma, well, often I find myself going ga-ga over the roasted oolongs, but wow, when I have a dance with a Gao Shan I wonder, why did I ever get seduced by roasted tea? It is so sweet and so very floral, like a bouquet of honeysuckles, hyacinth, orchids, and lilies, it is intensely floral and at the same time very delicate, no worry of being blasted in the face by a perfume shop. There are also notes of chestnut and cream with a very sweet nectar finish. First steeping sipping time! First steeps always excite me, they are liking starting a story or journey, you get an idea of how things are going to go, but there is room to grow and evolve. The mouthfeel is quite smooth, it coats the mouth and fills it with floral, sweet, happiness. This steep is pretty mellow, a nice sweet nectar start that blooms into hyacinth, orchids, and honeysuckles. The finish is a delicate honey sweetness with a lingering floral note. I was able to get multiple steepings from this lovely tea
This is a lovely green oolong, very creamy and lightly buttery with a floral aroma. I made several steeps Western style using boiling water and kept the steeps on the short side, from 2-3 minutes. I did not pick up any briskness, but perhaps that was because my teapot was a little larger than the amount they call for. I ended up with a light, smooth, and enjoyable evening tea to relax with before retiring. Very nice!
Thank You Angel for this sample. This is excellent tea. It has some nice well balanced sweet notes that have been described as floral, roasted, and broth and that is as good a description as I can come up with. Sugar brought out a honey like sweetness in this tea, although you could easily drink this without sugar. It doesn't need it. I brewed this once western style with 190 degree water and 6.8g leaf for 3 min in an 18oz teapot. It came out delicious and I may yet resteep it.
Thank you Angel and TeaVivre for the sample! This oolong is floral, sweet and vegetal, with a light toasty baked flavor! Really lovely lingering taste on my tongue. There might be a hint of a mineral note, something I can’t quite put my finger on. Quite complex and a refreshing change from the strongly vegetal green oolongs!
Another sample to try - Thank you Teavivre! This one is very similar to another oolong I've tried from Teavivre, though I'm not sure which one it is now... I've tried many of them! It's one of the savory types of oolong. The bundles are very green and have the scent of fresh vegetables. I used two heaping teaspoons for my 12 ounce mug. Steep #1 // 7 minutes after boiling // rinse // 1 minute steep I really think I've figured out steeping green oolongs now. They seem to have perfect results this way. I can't remember how many oolongs I was waiting around a half hour after boiling to steep in the past -- that means I wasn't tasting those oolongs at their best. I can tell this is a savory oolong even from the scent from the mug - brothy/soupy, hints of salt, buttery... not really floral or fruity at all. It's very delicious when it's the type of oolong I'm looking for. Steep #2 // couple minutes after boiling // 2 min steep This is another cup that tasted deliciously similar to the first steep, but with very potent, strong flavors. Super soupy! It seems like this oolong could be resteeped forever, but it also doesn't get astringent. But I'm amazed at how flavorful this one is... I could have probably steeped a teaspoon and a half leaves rather than two. Steep #3 // couple minutes after boiling // 3 min steep Another solid cup. The steeped leaves are gigantic, a very dark green - as usual, amazing that the leaves can be bundled so small. This is a very nice example of a savory oolong (the flavor never tastes floral or fruity) and the flavor stays very consistent. I love that there are different oolong flavor types... keeps it interesting! Though I would imagine I could drink one really nice oolong all the time anyway.
I don’t know if this got contaminated or what, but the dry leaf smelled so buttery and creamy and almost cake like. It was in a plastic bag stacked I a pile of my other samples in plastic bags so it’s possible. I started with a 15 sec rinse, and did three 1 minute steeps. 7g 8oz boiling water. The rinse was sweet and buttery and creamy and cake like, which I think might have been contamination. The first steep wasn’t as dessert like as the rinse, furthering my conclusion, but it is still buttery and creamy and a bit sweet, but less so than the rinse. The second steep loses more of the sweet, but remains buttery. The third is less buttery, and a tad bit astringent, so I stopped there. This was surprisingly buttery which I enjoyed, and I’m glad I got to try it. Teavivre: The tea is not packed with plastic bag, it is in a foil bag.
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