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Tea Review: Teas Etc.: Plum Blossom Reserve Oolong

December 14, 2009

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Teas Etc.: Plum Blossom Oolong ReserveTeas Etc.’s Plum Blossom Reserve Oolong (Dong Fong Mei Zen), a Bai Hao style oolong from Taiwan, is an exceptional and fabulous tea. It is one of a small number of teas that Teas Etc. has started importing from an award-winning Taiwanese grower.

If you’ve tasted any Bai Hao oolong and are capable of calling to mind its flavor, you’ll know what the essential character of this tea is like. As its name suggests, the scent of plum blossom is a dominant element of this tea’s flavor profile. If you’ve never tried any Bai Hao style oolongs (also known regrettably as “Oriental Beauty,” a name attributed to Queen Elizabeth II, in her enthusiasm over this tea), I recommend that you do. They’re quite deserving of their worldwide repute, and this Plum Blossom Reserve in particular is a very good example of a Taiwanese oolong produced in the style of a Bai Hao. Teas Etc.’s description:

“Obvious fruit tones, crisp bright notes and a smooth finish make this a rare yet classic favorite.

This exceptional dark Bai Hao (Oriental Beauty) style oolong comes to us from MiaoLi County in Taiwan, long renowned for producing some of the finest of this superb varietal.

The high elevation, environmental conditions and synergy of the tea bush and the green leaf hopper impart a unique fruit tones, the likes of which we have not cupped since 2002-2003.

This summer harvest is oxidized at approximately 50% and was produced by an award winning tea master.”

Teas Etc.: Plum Blossom Oolong ReserveTeas Etc.’s recommendation for brewing suggests using water between 180-185°F and I would encourage you to follow this advice. If you use water that is too hot, the tea will be a little bitter and will not emit as many of the deep floral fruity notes that make it so enjoyable. I wouldn’t get too caught up in thermometers and worry, though. If you’re brewing it Gongfu style just pour the water from the kettle into your sharing pitcher and leave it for a minute or two before pouring it into your teapot or gaiwan to begin steeping the tea leaves.

Teas Etc.: Plum Blossom Oolong Reserve

One of the most notable things about the Plum Blossom Reserve was how the deep aroma and flavor lingered for a long time after I had finished drinking it, slowly fading with time.

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