Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Cuppa' Chaa - Red Blossom Alishan Formosa Oolong, Winter 2009

Cuppa' Chaa is my new Chinese tea series. Its name may change. I needed to dub it something quickly and am still warming up to 'cuppa chaa.' Unlike other sundry series which might have only been one offs, this one is for real. I'm geeking out way too much to not want to do everything I can to learn and form some impressions of my newly beloved Chinese tea. The blog, of course, is a terrific way to accomplish this. I'm not ready to guarantee frequency, or a regular day for this tea stuff, but let's just say that if you like what you see below, you will have more to look forward to in the weeks ahead. And if not, feel free to take a pass and catch up when the proceedings veer back towards wine, food, or music.

More photo's than words for this first entry in the series. Today, I'm featuring Red Blossom Tea Company's Alishan Formosa Oolong, Winter 2009. Produced in Taiwan, from hand harvested leaves growing at a single estate located at 1700 meters in elevation. Very lightly oxidized and gently roasted, there is both a sweet grassy freshness and buttery, rich, immensely satisfying finish to this tea. The aftertaste lingers a long while after sipping.

The 1 oz. package from San Francisco's Red Blossom Tea Company

Heating water. Our tap water tastes fine; maybe I should experiment, though?

Formosa style oolong is typically rolled up

A quick 1-2 second hot water rinse of the tea to prime it and allow for greater appreciation of the aromas

2-3 minute brew time; I went with slightly over 2 minutes

Bright, translucent yellow color

The tea leaves unfurl after their first brew