The more practice I get at steeping larger quantities of Oolong for shorter periods of time, the more I get out of this tea. I think there's going to be much more Oolong from Taiwan in my near future, but for some reason I've come across quite a lot of Himalayan Oolong lately. Whether it's from Nepal or Darjeeling, my experience has been that it's more sensitive than the Taiwanese or Chinese Oolongs that I know.
I've had much better results from using water at no more than 75°C. No idea why this is, but just by using water this little bit cooler means that I get the tea to steep as many as two or even three additional times. Am coming to the end of a Nepalese tea that I've written about before called Jun Chiyabari Oolong, and I wanted to write about it now in case I don't find this again for a while.
The leaves looked nearly identical to the high mountain Oolongs I know from Darjeeling (no surprise there). Although there were quite a few green leaves mixed in, this looked like it had a relatively high oxidation. The appearance of the leaves don't always tell, but once I started brewing it, it was obvious this was not a light tea.
Slowly, I've come to expect very little from the first infusion. This was no exception. Having said that, I must say that I love the scent of the leaves in the pot and the tea itself once it's been poured. So fresh and vibrant. It's a wonder that something can smell so delicious and lack a distinctive taste.
The next steep was thankfully the exact opposite. If anything it was a bit too bitter. There was a bit of a burnt taste at this point even if the leaves continued to be overly fragrant.
I took photos of each infusion, but they didn't differ much from cup to cup. This tea that's grown so high in the mountains has a very dark coppery cup colour.
As the bitterness lessened in the third infusion, the taste of vanilla started to come out. this is exactly the kind of thing I never experienced brewing this tea in a big conventional teapot. By the fourth and fifth infusions, the strength of the tea was noticeably diminished. Nevertheless, I could finally taste the floral notes that I could only smell before. Ordinarily, I would've tried to squeeze out one last cup of tea, but the five infusions I had in the late morning/early afternoon seemed to be as good as this tea was going to get.
What a marvel that I got five very different tea experiences from the same little handful of tea leaves.