Monday, September 21, 2015

Mountain Tea's Light Roast Sumatra Oolong

Mountain Tea's Description
Grown in the mineral rich, volcanic soils of Sumatra, this tea has a unique aroma and flavor of passion fruit. After a quick 30 hour roast, we were able to bring about notes of roasted chestnuts and honey.

My thoughts
A couple months back, I ordered a handful of different oolongs from Mountain Tea. Mostly medium- and dark-roast stuff, but this one  intrigued me, so I bought a couple ounces. Nearly all of Mountain Tea's stuff is grown in their gardens in Nantou, Taiwan, however this one being grown in the big Indonesian island of Sumatra makes it somewhat of an outlier. Also having a very short roast time makes it a bit unusual too, at least within my tea stash. Once I got the teas (within 48 hours of ordering. Seriously, their shipping is fast), this one was sort of forgotten behind the medium-roast dong dings and dark-roast tieguanyins. I recently rediscovered it, and I love what I found.

Dry leaves - The forest green leaves are rolled in the normal oolong way. The aroma is very unique; I'm still having trouble pinning down what it is I'm smelling. Vegetal/herbal base, fruity hints, floral undertones, with just a tinge of roastiness. It's different than what I was expecting, though honestly I don't know what it was that I was expecting. It smells awesome, that's for sure.

Brewing parameters - 190F, 60s first, +15s after. These tend to be my go-to numbers for most lighter rolled oolongs, going a bit warmer for darker roasts.

Tasting notes - Roasted chestnuts/almonds, floral, honey, passion fruit

Wow, ok. This is a good one. The aroma of the brew is a thick, sweet, honey/floral blend. If I had to pick specific florality (yes it's a word), I'd say rose and lily-of-the-valley, mixed with wildflower honey, and just a touch of roastiness to set this apart from a green oolong.

The taste of the broth itself is no less amazing. It starts off quite similar to the aroma, but quickly turns to a wonderful juicy fruitiness that I guess is the passion fruit that MT claims. To be honest, the only passion fruit I've ever had is the Chobani yogurt flavor, and this tastes fairly similar to that, so I'm gonna say that passion fruit is accurate. The whole shebang is covered by a mild roasted chestnut taste from start to finish. I can also detect hints of overripe peaches in the finish and lingering aftertaste.

One thing that really stood out to me with this tea is that it makes my mouth water immediately after the sip. I've never had a tea that actually, literally made me salivate. I can typically get 7-8 steeps from these leaves before they give out, with steeps 3-5 being my favorite of the bunch.

The complexity that this tea offers really makes it a standout in my stash. It could actually compete with the 2003 Aged Green Heart Oolong that Mountain Tea (and also What-Cha) offers, which is unquestionably the best tea I've ever had in my life, but that's another review for another time.

You can buy this tea from Mountain Tea, here:

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