Monday, June 22, 2009

Floating Leaves' Shan Lin Xi

In addition to the new Shui Xian tea I bought on my last trip to Floating Leaves, I also treated myself to an ounce of new spring 2009 Shan Lin Xi High Mountain Oolong Tea (杉林溪高山烏龍茶).

Shan Lin Xi (fir forest creek) is an alpine region in Nantou County (南投縣), Taiwan. The oolong tea produced in this area is grown around 1800 meters elevation. Although I have not yet had the pleasure of visiting this part of Taiwan, I have heard from many sources that it is a natural wonderland of beautiful forests and mountains.


I've been steeping this tea all day using a small clay teapot named Sam. I filled the pot about one-third full of dry leaf and infused the tea 15 times with boiling water. Using this method I enjoyed many strong, hot, flavorful cups. Some people may call this "Taiwan-style tea brewing." It is a method I often use to enjoy high mountain tea.

Although five hours have passed since I finished drinking this tea, its flavor still lingers in the back of my throat. It delivered a golden liquor that was incredibly aromatic. I was delighted by its piquant fruitiness and sparkling clean taste.

Nine years ago my wife and I were hiking to Marymere falls in the winter. On our way back down from the falls it began to snow heavily. The dark green forest quickly turned white as the snow muffled all sounds. The smell of the old, wet, northwest pines mixed with newly fallen snow is a smell I will never forget. I have only experienced this smell two times since that magical hike, and both were in Shan Lin Xi tea. The first time was during my first trip to Taiwan (2005) when I bought a 100-gram bag of new winter tea from an upscale retail tea shop. That tea came packed in a beautiful cardboard box with a picture of a butterfly printed on it (butterflies are a common mascot for Shan Lin Xi). The second time was in this delicious oolong!

1 comment:

Shiuwen said...

Hey Brett,

It was nice to drink tea with you and Cora.
See you very soon for tea!