It’s that time of year in the UK to dig around the attic and find the fans that were put away the previous winter. With scorching hot weather like today we really need them. It couldn’t be a nicer day to celebrate May Day (and also my cousins 25th birthday).
Truly hot weather requires constant fluids and with tea being my fluid of choice I thought today would be perfect to drink some Oolong. Nothing says summer like Oolong.
So I rummaged around my tea cupboard and pulled out this Single Estate Black Oolong by Lu Lin Teas. I want to thank Lu Lin Teas for supplying me with this sample.
Here is what they say about this Oolong.
This tea is from the spectacular province of Fujian on the Southeast coast of China famed for its Oolong teas this Oolong is unlike any we had tried before. It is closer to a black tea than most Oolongs but still brews an attractive amber colour.
The leaves used are from a later harvest than our Fujian Oolong, they are sun dried but are then withered for longer like with a black tea giving this tea its dark appearance and smoky taste. - Taken from the Lu Lin Teas website.
It’s always nice to know where a tea comes from and how it’s produced. Imagining this Oolong drying in the hot Chinese sun is simply amazing and the hot weather today really makes the imaging stage much easier.
The tea in raw form consists of small Oolong balls that are very dark brown/black in colour. They do look mature by the dark appearance alone but the rich toasted floral scent would have given it away had I not known before hand. Mature Oolong is always a treat and with age it becomes smokier and thicker but also more mysterious and interesting.
Using my Gongfu teapot with roughly 4g of Oolong and following the following instructions as taken from the Lu Lin Teas website.
Using boiled water cooled to 85˚C. Infuse for 30 seconds and discard first brew. Re-steep and infuse for 1-3 minutes, depending on taste. Re-steep up to 3 times.
A side note – The reason for discarding the first steep is purely to stimulate the tea to wake up. The balls require a longer steeping time on average and with mature Oolong in particular it’s always best to do a short steep to remove any impurities that may be present. Also the more the tea balls unravel the more flavour there will be.
First Steep – 1 minute – The tea is light orange/brown in colour and has a thick smoky, roasted/toasted aroma.
Flavour is rather delicate but has strong smoky tones of wood, flowers and leather. It’s also slightly sweet which tones down the richness of flavours. The consistency is smooth and overall a very pleasing first steep.
Second Steep – 2 minutes – A little darker in colour and with a richer scent. The Oolong balls are also starting to unravel and open up and expand to become twice the original size. A little deeper in flavour now with more smoky leather tones becoming more dominant and the floral notes are becoming weaker to detect. It does however remain sweet and honeyed almost.
Third Steep – 3 minutes – It’s amazing how quickly a tea can start to weaken in both smell and taste. We went from being fairly weak to moderately strong and back down to openly weak. That would conclude that this is the last steep so around three steeps per pot is correct (at least for me). The scent is mostly toasty now compared to the previous much smokier steep. Flavour is also much sweeter and resembles toasted flowers.
Overall it’s been a beautiful tea on a beautiful day and I could not have asked for more. This is toward the early end of the mature scale so it’s not as mature as it could be but it’s at a nice level. Mature enough to have flavour but light enough to be refreshing. It would be a great example tea for those interested in trying aged Oolong without throwing themselves into the deep end and buying something too strong.
My rating for this tea is 8/10.
Please visit Lu Lin Teas website to view their large tea catalogue and for helpful tips on everything tea.
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