• Dancong Oolong,  Gongfucha,  Oolong,  Teaappreciation,  Teareview

    Peach Kernel Varietal Dancongs Comparative Review

    桃仁香 Oolong From Yunwei Tea

    Basic info about this special tea:
    Peach Kernel 桃仁香 Varietal:
    Spring 2017 vs Spring 2018 Tea
    From Phoenix Village, Chaozhou, Guangdong.
    Picking Grade: Up to the third leaf.
    One is roasted, one is unroasted.
    Temperature ( for the roasted one 98 degrees, unroasted 95 degrees.
    Brewing Vessel (90ml Jingdezhen gaiwan)
    Grams of Leaves ( 5 grams)
    Steeping Time ( less than 5 seconds per infusion, and every infusion increasing the time by 10 to 15 seconds)

    Clearly labeled with unbroken leaves inside.
    Similar, but is still Maocha meaning it hasn’t gone through the full processing.

    Main Info
    The number of Total Steepings: 8-10 infusions.
    Aroma of Dry Leaves: Have a honey-like sweetness right off the bat with a splash of purple, ripe juicy grapes. Super sweet ( Roasted)
    Smell is similar to the roasted, except much lighter with a less intense tropical fruit aroma. More of white flesh juicy fruits. Lychee, longan, passion fruit, and some dragon fruit. Sourness as well. (Unroasted)
    Aroma of Wet Leaves: Peachy with a veggie base. Higher notes of mango and cane sugar. The heavy greenness in the Dancong is going really well with the obvious peachy aroma. (Roasted)
    The wet leaves smell much more potatoey and complex on the unroasted one. I am not sure why. However, I found out that the aroma is more sharp on the unroasted one, but did not last longer than the unroasted.
    Taste Profile: See in paragraphs.
    Texture Profile: Medium body with obvious changes throughout the sessions. Fairly consistent, but can be over-brewed (Roasted)
    Thin to medium body and with a much more intense bitterness rushing through. More of a greener taste, meaning not as full.

    Notice the leaves looking much darker than the unroasted version.
    Olive green in colour, this one still looks and smells more like a rough Tie Guan Yin.

    Feeling/Aftertaste: Changes from sweet to sour, fruity to savory in later infusions. Mouth is watering with perfume, rich lychee sort of huigan (Roasted) Sweet but astringent, almost like sour orange, and a very sharp bitterness at the end. Zestier than the roasted. (Unroasted)

    Price: 45.33 CAD /50 grams (Roasted) 38.77 CAD/50grams (Unroasted)
    Attitude Ranking: 9 /10 (Roasted) 8/10 (Unroasted)

    The first to third infusions were super balanced, and I enjoyed the second infusion the most. The second one had a bitterness that I liked while maintaining the coolness in the throat as well. ( Roasted)
    The unroasted version was good as well, but not as balanced as the roasted one. For example, the roasted one was able to give off the same level of depth and honey-like sweetness as the aroma and fragrance, but with the unroasted, the body is slightly lacking. Aroma does fade away faster as well. (Unroasted)

    A golden cream with a hint of brown.
    This one has more of a yellow tone, but I think that’s because the roasting is not mellowing the tea down.

    The fourth and fifth infusions: The infusions become slightly more astringent while maintaining the peachy taste, our friend next door, the apricot; started to introduce itself. Sourness also kicks in. (Roasted)
    Almondy, almost chalky. Getting more nutty and creamy. While the body is not as good, the aroma is rocking! I am just amazed at how much the tea can change with time the roast. ( Unroasted)

     

    The sixth to eighth infusions: Getting weaker. The taste is becoming blander but the body is still coming through. It’s like a bitter persimmon. Astringency is the boss, and the starchy or almost mochi-like texture is in the cup. (Roasted)

    By the tenth infusion, the taste almost becomes sweet water with astringency and bitterness. It is very hard to describe. However, I learned mainly two things from this experiment.

    1. The tea becomes smoother and heavier after the roasting.
    2. It will become often fruitier and the notes become more balanced and become grounding.
    From the 6th brew, the leaves started to open up even more. The smell was like a mixture of cooked eggs and piled dry Momiji leaves.
    On the left, is the unroasted finished leaves, while on the right would be the roasted. The difference isn’t a lot, but the roasted version has more of a dark hue around the edge of the leaves.

    I would like to give a big shoutout to Yunwei Tea and a huge thank you for letting me do this experiment. I truly learned a lot. Both teas are special and I love them both very much but the key differences should be taken to account. I understood that the only way to really understand the tea is not just only through knowledge but through tasting, With tasting, we are able to see what really the tea processing is and how it affects us as tea drinkers.

  • Dahongpao,  Gongfucha,  Mei Leaf,  Rock Tea,  Teaappreciation,  Teareview,  Yancha

    Empress Oolong from Mei Leaf

    Wuyi Zhengyan Da Hong Pao Qi Dan Varietal From Mei Leaf

    It’s so cute. Like a mini treasure packet, waiting for me to crack it open.

    Basic info about this special tea:
    Qi Dan Varietal
    May 2017 Tea
    From Zhengyan, Wuyi, Fujian.
    Picking Grade: Up to third or fourth leaf.
    500 m above sea level.
    Temperature ( 99-100degrees celsius)
    Brewing Vessel (90ml Jingdezhen gaiwan)
    Grams of Leaves ( 5 grams)
    Steeping Time ( less than 10 seconds per infusion, and every infusions increasing the time by 10 to 15 seconds)

    Leaves look dark, but not black: Great roasting.

    Main Info
    Number of Total Steepings: 8 infusions.
    Aroma of Dry Leaves: Freshly made coffee, almost smoky but quite. Deep and grounding, well rounded.
    Aroma of Wet Leaves: Medicinal, distinctive rocky terroir aroma. A little bit of citrus at the end.
    Taste Profile: See in paragraphs.
    Texture Profile: Honey like thickness with incredible body. I have to mention that for this tea.
    Feeling/Aftertaste: Changes through each infusion. Mainly chocolatey and sweet, but turns more into fruit in later infusions.
    Price: 22 CAD /30 grams
    Attitude Ranking: 8.5 /10

    Soup is thick and mouth-watering while being fragrant. Good vibes.

    A little bit of history behind the tea and where the terroir comes from.
    “Da Hong Pao is one of China’s most revered and highly sought after teas. This tea is grown on Bai Yun Yan mountain in the protected area of Zhengyan in the beautiful Wuyi mountains of Fujian Province, a nine peak mountain with vast rocky fingers pointing to the sky. The mineral rich, fast draining terrain make it the only place to grow true Empress Oolong.”
    “The tea is produced by hand and is then roasted for many hours slowly over real charcoal fires. This adds a warmth, smoothness and nutty depth to the tea. We advise avoiding any of these roasted oolongs for at least 6 months after they have been produced in order to let the ‘fire’ taste of the charcoal roasting to reduce. This is why we always stock tea picked in the previous year.”
    Don Mei

    After brewing for roughly 20 min, the leaves indeed show it’s nature. Beautiful brown-black leaf with a greenish undertone.

    These two paragraphs really made me thirsty for this tea! I would love to visit Zhengyan one day. But, it is a World Heritage Site, so getting access into the area is very expensive. People have told me that just to get in you have to pay around 50 dollars per person. However, I do think it’s an amazing area for tea lovers and people who want to explore more of China and see something eye-opening. The rocky terroir makes it such a good area for tea to grow, and it is said that many Oolong and Black teas originally came from the Wuyishan area. I believe that Wuyishan can be called as one of the few birthplaces to tea and especially to Oolong and Black teas.

    Tasting through the Infusions.
    First Infusion: Delicious, and very savory at start. Body and depth is excellent, while the balance between the roasting and preservation of the original characters of the Qi dan Varietal is well done. I can notice the flavors changing slowly with time as the savouriness develops into sweetness. Huigan is coming out but not fully present.

    Second Infusion: Taste turns 180 Degrees: Flavors change from the coffee like start into more of a strawberry or ripe apricot taste. However, it is a dry taste; the flavors are on top of one another and hidden. A very complex turn inside and out, as I am starting to feel something from my shoulders.
    Third to Fifth Infusion : The tea is so complex that I can’t exactly pinpoint what I am tasting. But very thick on the pallet, with a fruity overtone before swallowing. The minerality is definitely strong, with a deep apricot taste arising in the cup more. Sounds funny but I kinda think that the infusions taste more like a broth than tea. The sweetness and after taste or huigan is stronger than previous infusions.
    Fifth to Sixth: Notes are too complex by now, resulting in incredible sweetness. My tongue cannot stop salivating. I have never experienced this from a Yancha before; was truly amazed. The taste is not particularly medicinal, not fruity either. It is more of it’s own taste.

    The 8th Infusion tasted like a soup of somekind. The closest thing I can think of would be like a chicken base carrot soup. The carrot is from the minerality and it’s own rock taste. But with a savory kick.

    Sixth to Eighth.
    Silky smooth with a bit of astringency and a little bit of chestnut if you dig hard enough, but I couldn’t get anymore out of it. I think Yanchas are a little less durable for consistent infusions of more than 10 brews. Each brew is very thick and if you can brew it for at least 8 that would be considered a good Yancha.

    In Conclusion…

    I am very new to the world of Yancha and Oolong, but I did very much enjoy this session of Qi Dan Dahongpao from Mei Leaf. The energy and mouthfeel combined with the aromatics of this Yancha just made me wow. I gave a 8.5 out of 10 because I did find that the tea ended a little bit too fast. I wished that the fruity and chocolaty aroma lasted just a bit longer, but the taste transformed throughout different infusions so that was super interesting.

    I am excited to try something that’s again roasted, but a traditional TGY from Fujian that’s full of baked fruits and sweet candy notes. Should be delicious and fun to review.

  • Puerhtea,  Raw,  Ripe,  Tea Review,  Teaappreciation

    2011 Changan Old Tree Ripe Puerh from The Best Tea House

    2011 Changan Old Tree Ripe Puerh

    Pure 2011 Gushu Menghai material; sweet and creamy!

    Basic info about this special tea:
    Dayezhong (Big Leaf Cultivar Varietal)
    2011 Spring Tea
    Area : Menghai and surrounding area.
    Hand picked and selected by Vesper Chan.
    Lightly to Medium Fermented Shou
    280 CAD for 400g.
    Temperature ( 95 degrees celsius)
    Brewing Vessel (100 ml Jingdezhen gaiwan)
    Grams of Leaves ( 6 grams)
    Steeping Time ( less than 10 seconds per infusion, and every infusions increasing the time by 10 to 60 seconds depending on what infusion)

    Look at the dark leaves, it can tell you so much. The picking is pretty good, big leaves but still have some buds.

    Main Info
    Number of Total Steepings: Over 8 strong infusions.
    Aroma of Dry Leaves: Soybean/ deeply fermented smell. However, not fishy and bland but the finish is toasty and nutty, which makes it more complex. .
    Aroma of Wet Leaves: Plumy, and very deep. Almost like dried dates as well. Not too much savouriness. Longan underneath the richness, which uplifts the tea.
    Taste Profile: See Below
    Texture Profile: Perfect, extremely well done. It’s not heavy, but not light. Smooth and goes down like a Raw Puerh.
    Feeling/Aftertaste: Very light sweetness with a slight soybean aftertaste. Huigan is there, but not obvious. The chi is really strong, and probably the best chi I’ve experienced from Shou Puerh.
    Price: 280 CAD for 400 g.
    Rating 9 out of 10.

    This tea is really really good, from start to finish. The tea is super smooth and not uncomfortable, easy to drink. I cannot pinpoint at what is so delicious, and that intrigues me even more. Made from Arbor Trees in Menghai, this tea delivers a sensation that I have never experienced before. It feels like I am drinking a vintage Raw Puerh, that is maybe of ages over 20 years old. Super easy drinking but the feeling and chi you get does not make you believe it is a Shou Puerh. I will recommend people who dislikes Ripe Puerh to definitely try this one; or any tea lover. The only thing I have to keep mentioning about would have to be the intense chi and aftereffect this tea had on my body. I felt as if I may be half floating, my eyes started to close; and feel my feet tingle. That’s what we call Chachi, or tea energy. The bushes from this tea are of ages 200 to 250, which is Gushu or old-tree material.

    The tea soup is dark and yet bright, how miraculous!

    The taste of good Shou is very hard to describe. It isn’t overly savory, not overly creamy, but everything is balanced. It is sweet and vibrant, but not medicinal. It is thick and rich, but not overwhelming; super clean finish. It feels like a rich cocoa tea infused with non-sweet brown sugar. I hope you can image the lovely feeling that can coat my mouth, and the natural, slightly sweet sticky feeling. Ohh I’m in heaven!

    It almost looks like a old Sheng Puerh, I mean look at the clarity!

    I don’t have too much to say other than I am super impressed. Just by the fact that it’s making me feel tea drunk is amazing for a Ripe Puerh. Gushu material really makes a difference, huh! I hope everyone can give it a try. Thank you Mr. Michael Fung from The Best Tea House for letting me sample this here in Calgary! What’s to try next, Attitudes?

  • Black Tea,  Class,  Gongfucha,  Teaappreciation,  Teareview

    Lapsang Souchong (non-smoked) from Family Li

    Lapsang Souchong from Family Li (Unsmoked, traditonal processing.)

    The small 5g packet for the Zhengshan Xiaozhong tea.

    This tea was believed to be the first ever black tea ever produced, as it was believed to be the mother trees for the Ceylon, Indian and also Darjeeling tea bushes. It is also believed that Keemun Black tea came after the Souchong varieties. So, the history is truly incredible.

    A little history behind the tea

    People say that this tea originally wasn’t smoked, and it didn’t happen until the mid- Qing Dynasty, when some soldiers came to tea farmers and asked if they can take some rest on their tea racks. The tea farmers were not happy about it, but they were kind of obligated to say yes. So, the soldiers took some rest on the racks, and because of their heavy weight, the tea became very oxidized. People during that time in Tongmu only made green tea and pure black tea, but because the soldiers stayed on the tea for so long, the leaves became almost undrinkable. So, the farmers decided to maybe try exporting the tea out to the world, which actually brought great results to the farmers. So many Russian, Indian, and other importing countries truly fell in love with the tea. Also, some people say that because the demand was too high, the farmers wanted to really speed up the process. So, they used pine trees to ferment and smoke the tea lightly, which also was a big hit for many countries. From there, other black teas were produced, such as Darjeeling, Keemun, and Ceylon. However, this is just one version of the story that I’ve heard. Please don’t quote me on this.

    Excuse my hand, but the long leaves are unbroken and gorgeous.

    The sweetness aspect of this tea is truly amazing. As soon as you open this packet of Zhengshan Xiaozhong, you will smell notes of beautiful roses, a type of potatoey sweetness, and a very distinctive hongcha aroma. This is the type of tea I would enjoy everyday. Anytime, morning, night, afternoon. Would definitely love to drink it afterschool, and when your mood needs a lift.
    Basic Info about this special Tea
    From Tongmuguan, , Wuyishan, Fujian Province.
    26 /100 grams.
    Xingcun Xiaozhong Species.
    Brewing Parameters
    Temperature (92 degrees celsius)
    Brewing Vessel (Big Gaiwan 100ml)
    Grams of Leaves ( 5 grams)
    Steeping Time ( less than 10 seconds per infusion, increasing by 5-10 seconds every infusion)

    Main Info
    Number of Total Steeps (more than 14)
    Aroma of Dry Leaves (sweet corn, roasted basil, bergamot, and intense honey citrus.)
    Aroma of Wet Leaves ( sweet potato, a little bit of orange and sandalwood )
    Taste Profile ( see paragraphs)
    Texture Profile ( thick syrup, medium bite)
    Feeling/ Aftertaste ( bitter with some sweetness.)
    Attitude Rank: 9 out of 10.

    Even after brewing many times, the leaves are still very intact.

    The first infusion is light but savory, and intensely honey like; while the texture is buttery. It’s the perfect drink for autumn and fall, being so cozy and warm on your body. Huigan is slowly arising, and and is not intense. Very relaxing to both the body and mind.

    The second to fourth infusions carry more berrie notes, oak notes, and sweet potato notes. The huigan is more persistent, building up inside the mouth. I also taste some jujube through these infusions.

    This is the tang-su or infusion colour for the 3rd brew.

    From the fifth to eighth infusions, a more complex, candy like quality is shown. Amazing broth with a golden brown colour. Sweet, tangy mouthfeel. More astringent than the previous infusions.

    Like Pure gold. Lovely colour for every infusion. This is from the 5th infusion.

    Even after the tenth infusion, more raisin and plum like aromas are present. Sweet potato always remaining. I think this may be the best black tea I have ever tried from Tongmu. Thank you Mr. Li for giving me this sample and many other teas to try. You guys should definitely check him out on instagram which is @tong_xin_she. This black tea is truly remarkable. Just super!