Tasting of Li Shan from Harney & Sons

I ordered a sample of Li Shan oolong from Harney & Sons. I’ve read about the Li Shan or Alishan high mountain oolong from Taiwan being naturally creamy and thought it sounded interesting so I gave it a try.

Boy was it delicious! I didn’t realize how much I needed a creamy oolong in my life until I tried this tea. I have already brewed it twice from this same sample pack, and this was the last of the sample so I wanted to document it before I ran out of it.

Last of the Li Shan sample

As you can see, there was a good bit of dust in the gaiwan. This was disappointing but I think it is to be expected at the bottom of the pouch for pretty much any tea.

So I gave it a quick rinse and brewed it up Gongfu style. 100ml of water at 212 degrees F and about 6 grams of tea (I didn’t weight it this time since it was everything left in the pouch). The first infusion had a good bit of dust floating around even after the rinse. I brewed it for 20 seconds and it actually came out more bitter than it had been, which I can only assume is due to the amount of dust in the gaiwan. The smaller the particle of leaf, the faster it brews, and the faster it will turn bitter.

First infusion, some dust got past the strainer

Other than the bitterness, it was very floral and not very creamy, which was surprising. The firs two times I brewed this one was very creamy all the way through and very good. You can see some dust got past the strainer (which I just ordered and I love, more on that later). I did the second infusion for 20 seconds also in hopes to reduce the bitterness. That seemed to work, as the second cup was much less bitter and more creamy than the first. This one was still very floral as well.

2nd infusion

I did the third infusion for 25 seconds, and added 5 seconds for each infusion thereafter. By the third infusion, the brew was not bitter at all and I was tasting the creaminess at last. The fourth infusion was very creamy and very good and the fifth may have been the best one of all. Super super creamy and floral and no hint of bitterness at all.

Infusion number 5 with some dust in the strainer

I ended up infusing this one 8 times and the flavor had only fallen off a small amount by the eighth infusion.

So the lesson I learned on this one is to be careful when you reach the bottom of the pouch or tin and adjust the first few brew times according to how much dust is in there. Like I said earlier, the first two times I brewed this tea, it was amazing and blew my socks off and I will certainly be trying it again.

This is the first every Taiwanese Oolong tea that I have ever had and let me tell you I will most certainly be trying the rest of them all hopefully sooner than later.

That’s all for now, as my favorite rodent likes to say instead of goodbye, see you real soon!

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