Shan Lin Xi Qing Xin Oolong (杉林溪青心烏龍) is a beautifully floral high mountain Oolong from the famous Shan Lin Xi (Sun Link Sea) tea growing area located in Nantou County of Taiwan. This spectacular oolong is made from hand-picked leaves of Qing Xin ‘Green Heart’ (青心) cultivar plants that are grown at an altitude of 1,200-1,300 metres. This tea is grown by Mr Chen and was picked and carefully processed in April 2020. We source it from Mr Chen via our Tea Master in Taiwan.
Shan Lin Xi (杉林溪) is an exceptional terroir located high in the mountains of Nantou Province. Although Alishan as a terroir may be more famous, it is without doubt that Shan Lin Xi produces high mountain (Gao Shan) oolong teas that are also considered to amongst the best from Taiwan. Shan Lin Xi can be literally translated as Pine Forest Stream from Chinese. However it is also commonly known as Sun Link Sea, an English phonetic approximation of the Chinese Shan Lin Xi, a process referred to as phono-semantic matching in linguistics. So both Sun Link Sea Oolong and Shan Lin Xi Oolong refer to teas from the same terroir. The gardens of Sun Link Sea terroir range in altitude between approximately 1,000 and 2,000 metres. The picturesque mountainous landscape is also home to Shanlinxi Forest Recreation Area, a popular destination for nature hiking that is known for its giant forest trees and waterfalls.
The vast majority of oolong teas grown at high altitude in Taiwan are made from the Qing Xin ‘Green Heart’ (青心) cultivar plants. This is true of most Sun Link Sea oolong teas as well. This particular Shan Lin Xi Qing Xin Oolong is also made from hand-picked leaves of Green Heart cultivar plants. They are picked in mid-April, and come in classic tightly rolled leaf shape. The oxidation level is approximately 15-20% and this tea does not undergo any baking. This results in a beautiful floral aroma and character that Taiwanese high mountain oolong teas are famous for.
If you are interested in comparing the different terroirs, we also feature other classic high mountain oolong teas made from the Qing Xin cultivar in our shop: Alishan Green Heart, Gao Shan Qing Xin from Meishan and Shan Lin Xi Long Feng Xia Oolong (Long Feng Xia is a renowned tea growing area that is part of Sun Link Sea).
This Shan Lin Xi Qing Xin Oolong comes in tightly rolled leaves, which are mostly large but also vary in size. The dark green leaves have a wonderfully floral aroma. When brewed they unfurl into large leaves consisting of a tip and the top 1-3 leaves. The produced liquor is clear and bright, with a pale golden colour and a floral and lightly buttery aroma. The very bright and clean flavours are predominantly creamy and floral with a pleasant sweetness running through. The main taste is dominated by notes of alpine meadow flowers; this typical high mountain flavour is what makes these Gao Shan oolong teas so captivating! There are further verdant notes with a buttery and herbaceous undertone that adds pleasant complexity. This tea has a satisfyingly smooth, almost silky mouthfeel. The herbaceous flavours further build up on the lightly lingering aftertaste that is pleasantly floral. This tea is a fantastic example of a classy Sun Link Sea oolong displaying the best bright and floral characteristics.
We suggest brewing this tea at 90°C for 3-4 minutes according to your taste. It can be brewed 3+ times depending on your taste preferences. To get the most out this tea, consider using a gaiwan or a traditional clay pot to benefit from the complexity of flavours from repeated multiple infusions. For gong fu brewing we suggest using 6g per 100ml at 95c. Optional 2-3 second rinse, 1st infusion 25s, add 5s to each further infusion. Gong fu style brewing should get many, many infusions from this lovely tea!