The test for my new teapot has been to brew a few Oolongs that I simply couldn't enjoy prepared in my normal teapot. The first one I tried, and it was much better, was a Jun Chiyabari Oolong from Nepal. Not sure why it tasted so much better steeped repeatedly in this brown clay pot, but it did.
I'm hoping that the more I experiment with these different teas, the more infusions I'll be able to get. Earlier this year, I got some Darjeeling Rohini Oolong from Teehaus Shila in Hamburg. I've briefly mentioned Oolong from Darjeeling before (the Himalayan Oolong that Darjeeling Tea Express sent me was quite good), but because I couldn't brew the Oolong from the Rohini Estate to taste very good, I assumed Oolongs from Nepal or Darjeeling simply weren't of a very high quality. Am beginning to see that the problem lay more with me than with the tea.
Here's how the leaves looked at the outset:
If I hadn't tasted this tea, I'd say the leaves looked like a typical Darjeeling black tea. This tea was anything but.
The first infusion was light, but there was something a bit malty to the taste. I steeped the second infusion too long and although it was a bit bitter (something I rarely experience with Oolongs), I noticed a taste that I normally associate with Formosa Oolong. It was almost a bit of a burnt flavour.
The third infusion was where I under-steeped it after going too long the time before. Nevertheless, there was a bit of a mint aftertaste. Very light, but definitely there. Only on the fourth infusion could I detect a bit of vanilla. I've never tasted vanilla in an Oolong. Quite a surprise.
Here's how the leaves looked after the workout I gave them:
For the next week or so, I'll be in France for the New Year. Cannot wait to report on the Tea Salons in Nice and whether there are differences between tea drinking there and in Paris. Stay tuned.