I love single estate teas. The flavor profile not only change from season to season, they also change from week to week. I enjoy the surprises! Take my winter High Mountain Oolongs, for example. When I first received them in December 2015, I brewed them in Gaiwans. I liked ShanLinXi and Lishan the most. The salivation effect from ShanLinXi showed up right away and it was bold, and one couldn't miss the buttery-ness of this Lishan.
In January 2016, I did a blind tasting of these High Mountain Oolong with my tea club members. We didn't know which high mountain Oolong was in which tea bowl. The point of this kind of tea tasting is to use our senses and tasting skills to evaluate teas. It can be challenging, but it is fun for sure! From this blind tea tasting, I was amazed to discover that my two favorites were Lishan and
By the middle of January, I was a bit worried about the HeHuanShan. I wondered if it would open at all. Then one day in February, I brewed the HeHuanShan High Mountain Oolong and was delighted that so many good qualities in the flavor, salivation and aftertaste showed up!
In the middle of February, I was in Portland doing a Lunar New Year tea tasting with my tea friends. I decided to do a blind tea tasting with all the High Mountain Oolongs again. I noticed most of the teas opened up nicely at that time. ShanLinXi did well during this round, Lishan and DaYuLing maintained their qualities, HeHuanShan bloomed and Alishan was its usual self, affirming that "I am a beautiful tea!"
A good tea is like life: it changes. Sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse. I love these changes though. I embrace changes and surprises. Every time when I brew a pot of tea, I am always looking forward to the known and the unknown qualities.
*photos provided by Lee Damon.