Flavor Profile:Smooth, full-bodied golden infusion with a toasty, grassy-sweet flavor and light floral notes. Ingredients:Oolong Tea Leaves.
Grown in the mountains of Anxi county, the home of oolong tea in China. There are several oolong tea plant varietals (at least 12) growing in Anxi, each with its own distinct flavor profile. The most famous of these varietals is Tieguanyin. Ben Shan Green Dragon is a young varietal (a clonal), grown primarily near Raoyang village in Anxi. The plant varietal has strong, heavy branches and brightly colored, distinct, ellipse shaped leaves. It shares some similarities in fragrance with the Tieguanyin varietal.
Oolongs range in their flavor (mild and floral to strong and toasty) and color spectrum (from light green to dark) depending on the processing technique adopted. Ben Shan is a greener oolong with low oxidization.
For Ben Shan, mature leaves are plucked and then withered in the sun (weather permitting) for a few hours to reduce moisture.
Once suitable suppleness is achieved in the leaves, traditional rolling techniques (which include wrapping the leaves in cloth and binding it tightly into ball shape) are applied in conjunction with light roasting. Successive re-rolling and re-roastings are done to achieve the optimum shape and flavor. A final roast is given to complete the processing.
Ben Shan is best during spring (April-May) but if stored well (cool, dark, low humidity place) maintains its flavor well throughout the year.
For daily drinking, a smaller amount of leaf with a longer steeping time gives a rewarding cup with little effort. This teaâ€™s tightly rolled leaf requires fairly hot water (180 to 200 F) to bring out its full taste and unique aroma. Steeping 1 teaspoon of leaf per 8 ounces of water for 3 to 4 minutes will typically yield 2 to 3 satisfying infusions, although some oolongs will provide more.
Another common method would be to enjoy the tea â€śChinese style." Merely place a few leaves at the bottom of a cup or glass, add hot water, and cover. After a couple of minutes or so the leaf will unfurl and sink to the bottom of the vessel allowing you to drink from the top. When the water is down to just over the leaves, simply add more water. This style provides many infusions for a small amount of leaf.
Of course, the most famous way to drink oolong tea is Gongfu style. (Gongfu is the Chinese term we derive â€śKung Fuâ€ť from. It means to do something skillfully.) Though it takes many years to perfect the true Gongfu tea ceremony, a simplified version can be practiced at home.
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