Review: Ali Shan, thepuriTea

If you celebrate, I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday! I spent the holiday drinking a wonderful Shanghai-origin high mountain oolong tea and am hoping to review it soon. In search of a light tea for breakfast, I decided to try Ali Shan from thepuriTea.

Review: Ali Shan

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Ali Shan Oolong is a lightly fragrant oolong tea hailing from Taiwan with a pleasing pear and honey aroma but very light flavor. The tea has a delicate pear and honey taste without being overpowering in its sweetness, which makes it a wonderful light tea to start the morning. Here is how it is described on thepuriTea’s site:

Our Ali Shan Oolong hails from the famed Ali Shan (a.k.a. “Alishan” or “Ali Mountain”) of Taiwan. It is a high elevation Taiwanese oolong with all the floral, sweet flavors you’d expect of one. Dry and wet, the large leaves emit aromas of clover honey, field grasses and fresh flowers. Ali Shan’s complex flavor profile includes classic floral, honeyed and creamy notes, as well as hints of marine air, clover fields, sage and cracked black pepper. A honeyed finish with suggestions of pepper, menthol and sweet grass and a creamy, sweet second infusion make Ali Shan a tea that can be enjoyed for a long period of time. Try brewing it gong fu style with a leisurely breakfast of sliced green pears, chopped fresh mint and Greek yogurt, or with a dinner of creamy sage-asparagus risotto.

Tasting Notes

Brewing Instructions

Steep at 3-4 minutes with simmering water. Serve without milk or sugar.

Appearance

The dry leaves are tightly wound into tight little balls with a sheen of oil, which are a deep evergreen with muted accents of spring green and olive stems. The fragrance of the dry leaves is floral, with hints of pear and honey. After steeping, the closed fists expand, unfurling exuberantly into large leaves and stems and releasing the strong aroma of pear and honey which the dry leaves promised. A bright green with brown edges, the tea shows show light oxidation and roast.

Taste

The steeped tea is light-bodied with a vibrant goldenrod yellow liqueur and a floral, nutty aroma. The flavor is faint and very light but definitely there: brewing the tea surfaces the first impression of a well-rounded, buttery taste followed by secondary notes of vegetable and fruity pear. Despite the strong promise of the brewed tea leaves, the liqueur is surprisingly light in flavor even after steeping for a full 4 minutes. The aftertaste lingers and is sweet with a hint of astringency.

On second infusion, the tea tastes weaker but has an improved, more consistent flavor. The taste is more buttery and loses its astringency, with the vegetable and pear notes subsiding into the background. This decreases the range of the tastes, but results in a harmonious blend of honey and butter with a smooth, sweet finish. I would really enjoy this tea if the flavor was amped up a notch. If you are trying this tea, I’d recommend steeping it on the long side. However, be careful of over-steeping or the tea could become bitter.

Origin

This tea is from the Ali Shan mountain in Taiwan. I’ve included a map below.


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Pricing & Where to Buy

This tea is priced at $32 per 4 oz. pkg. which brews approximately 40 cups, or you can get a small sample for $4. If you’d like to try this tea for yourself, you can head over to thepuriTea.com Ali Shan) to buy it directly online.