Tea and origin: Oolong tea from Taiwan
Purchased at: Ten Ren Tea (Chinatown, New York City)
Last month I wrote about my visit to a Ten Ren shop in New York. I was impressed by the selection of teas in the shop, but their New Spring Oolong grab my attention because upon entering I was given a cup of it, and the fresh aroma of the dry leaf was too much to resist. The shop stocks two grades of New Spring Oolong – one everyday and one premium. Today I’m reviewing the everyday grade.
Dry leaf: The dry leaf consists of small rolled balls that range in colour from dark to light green. It is a moderately aromatic dry leaf – fresh, floral notes are most prominent, but there is a sweet undertone to the leaves
Infused tea: The tea cups out a light green liquor, although it becomes slightly darker with each infusion. With the first two infusions, the liquor has a rich, florally, buttery flavour, and a slightly thick mouthfeel. With infusions three and four (when the leaves are almost fully unravelled) the tea takes on a slightly different character: it is still florally and buttery, but the mouthfeel isn’t as thick, and there is a subtle sweetness and a little more astringency to the tea than in the first two infusions. The aftertaste of all infusions coat the back your throat and fill your sinuses with floral notes. It is a medium-bodied tea with a mild astringency
Infusion tips: For this tea, I find that preparing it gong fu style with 90 to 95C water is best. Infuse this tea five to six times
Conclusions: I have thoroughly enjoyed this tea: it is a pleasure to drink, and it is great value for money. The tea is loaded with classic aroma and flavours that I’d expect to find in a Taiwanese oolong. It is not the most complex or high quality Taiwanese available, but it is a great everyday tea with a reasonable price tag. If you want something a bit more special, their premium grade New Spring Oolong is something to explore
Retail price: 4 ounces for $11.25 (approx. £7)