Initially, I had stumbled upon Alishan Black while casually perusing Tea Rebellion’s online catalog. This black tea in particular, is made of the Forever Spring varietal (a Taiwanese oolong) and handpicked from Alishan’s finest tea gardens, high up in the mountains, I knew immediately that I had to get my hands on this tea to try for myself. Conveniently enough, Alishan Black was one of three teas included in my recent Authentic Tea Lovers Club box for fall!
Alishan Black comes packaged in a resealable foil pouch, with accents of red on the front and back. Tea Rebellion’s packaging has always been some of my favourite, as it always gives you insight on the tea you’re about to consume, all the way down to the farm it was harvested from. Nowadays, the packaging is made from 100% compostable films and inks, which is an added bonus. The appearance of the dry leaf consists of dark brown tea leaves, some pieces are long and twisted, while others are rolled into small nuggets of tea waiting to unfurl. The (only) listed ingredient is: black loose leaf tea. As for the scent, it is not incredibly fragrant, but it reminds me a lot of cooked squash.
Tea Rebellion suggests steeping Alishan Black for one minute in 95°C (200°F) water. I followed these instructions exactly.
After a short steep of just over a minute, Alishan Black brews to a translucent liquor with a bright amber colour. The leaves are just beginning to unfurl at this point, while the post-steep scent is an amped up version of what it was while dry. It’s amazing just how flavourful this tea is despite its quick infusion, without a single trace of astringency or bitterness. There is a nice briskness present that translates into a pleasantly clean, and fresh feeling mouth feel.
Alishan Black provides a worthwhile sensory experience from start to end, and I quite enjoyed experiencing the complexity/all the layers of this unique black tea with each subsequent re-steep. I’m still stuck on the notes of cooked squash, which feel like such a perfect quality to have, now that it is officially October!
Have you ever tried a black tea from Taiwan before? Sound off in the comments below!
Stay tuned for a blend that is fruity, floral, with an added kick of spice!
Until we steep again…