Queen of Cups
Ali Shan is blanket name used to cover a region rather than just a specific mountain, which renders it fairly useless as a way to discern quality from rubbish. This is an affliction found with any tea that gains a bit of fame, and part of the price for having a vibrant, constantly changing industry.
But, back to the tea at hand. We could tell you that this tea is from Ali Shan and leave it there, but where would the fun be in that? Not only is Queen of Cups worth celebrating for its bona fides, but like the Minor Arcana card this tea shares a name with, sipping it for the first time broadens the imagination of what high elevation Taiwanese oolong can be. It shows just how the craft and care taken in making a tea can manifest into a unique cup.
With its Baozhong adjacent level of next-to-no oxidation, this tea starts out with some lovely vegetal notes of artichoke and bamboo shoot in the first cup, before it begins to tear at the fabric of reality. Fragrant twinkle fantasy orchid, Hannah yam and vanilla bean follow through multiple cups, leaving the drinker to marvel in this tea's beauty and the joy each sip brings.
Teamaker - Liu Chia-Yao
Location - Chushuikeng, Jinshi Zhen, Zhuqi Township, Chiayi County, Taiwan
Elevation - 4,900'
Harvest Time - April 5th, 2023
Cultivar - Qing Xin
Oxidation - 15%
- Gong Fu - This tea works great in both porcelain and semi porous vessels. Since it is ball rolled, we recommend filling less than a third of the vessel with dry leaf. A transportive experience is also available when brewing grandpa style.
- Western - Use 1 heaping teaspoon per 8 oz of water. Add 195F water and steep for 4-6 minutes. Can be re-steeped a second time, adding 2-3 minutes to the original steep time.