• Dancong Oolong,  Tea Review,  Teaappreciation,  Teareview

    Black Leaf Special via Tea Hong

    Basic info about this special tea:

    The dry leaves are tight, smaller and looks glossy.

    Da Wu Ye Cultivar
    2017 Spring Tea.
    From higher altitude area near Wudong, Fenghuang, Guangdong China
    Temperature ( 95 degrees Celsius)
    Brewing Vessel (100 ml Jingdezhen gaiwan)
    Grams of Leaves ( 5 grams)
    Steeping Time ( less than 5 seconds per infusion, and every infusion increasing the time by 5 seconds)

    Main Info
    Number of Total Steepings: Over 12 strong infusions.
    Aroma of Dry Leaves: Mild, very gentle but floral. Almost minty in a way. It has the Qingxiang or Clean Smell.
    Aroma of Wet Leaves: Classic Dawuye characters like mango, banana, lychee and herbs. But not like medicinal, but rather very fresh herbs from the garden.
    Taste Profile: See Below
    Texture Profile: The texture is sharp but not very astringent. Soft bitterness but a refreshing kind, almost like a fresh citrus peel. The mouthfeel is lighter than other Dancongs I’ve tried. But still good enough to appreciate the different faces of this tea.
    Feeling/Aftertaste: Cooling, and not over the top chi. Some energy is felt around the heart, but it cools down my body. Reminds me of a greener TGY
    Price: 23 dollars/ 40 grams
    Rating 8.5 out of 10.

    Da Wu Ye leaves in 盖碗

    From the appearance of the dry leaves, it is obvious that it is probably not roasted nor fermented as much as perhaps a Milan or Duck Shit. The smell and taste are definitely heavier than a green TGY, but is not thick like a roasted Dancong. The aroma is very delicate, more savoury than sweet but not in anyway herbal. The tea does give off a lot of fruity aromatics, but rather dry and less sweet. It’s maybe like dried fruits, lychee is the number one thing I smell. Candied, dried, but not fresh.

    1st infusion
    Bubbles indicating a rich brew!

    The first and second infusions are just opening up the tea. Smells quite grassy, as well as tastes fresh and fruity. Like wild mango but without that honeysuckle taste. The end is short, and has a very nice bite to it. The third infusion is sweet, more balanced, and bitter. Throughout all the infusions up to the sixth, the aroma is mostly focused on being light and fragrant. However, after the seventh infusion, the ending became longer, and the tea felt thicker. The leaves were pushing itself to the maximum. The creamy aspect of this tea started to coat my mouth, and a herbal stewed note came off. It was delicious. After the 12th infusion, my mouth was full of gan. The minerality of this tea is very good, and powerful. My gongdaobei started to smell sweet even after the first infusion. The lingering aftertaste lasted uninterruptedly for 15 min.

    The 5th infusion of this tea

    In conclusion, this tea is really good. I am impressed with t

    Dancong Dawuye leaves completed their opening.

    he price, it’s a really good value. The taste is super light but fulfilling, and it can be steeped over and over again. I would’ve liked it to be a little deeper in the body, but this lightness is the character of Da Wu Ye. A great morning tea, I think! Thank you, Tea Hong, for providing me with this awesome sample!

  • 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.

  • Black Tea,  Gongfucha,  Hongcha,  Oollo Tea,  Taiwan Tea,  Taiwanese Tea,  Tea Review,  Teaappreciation,  Teainfo,  Teareview

    Gongfu Black Tea/Oollo Tea

    Alishan Gongfu Black Tea from producer Grandpa Mr. Lo
    Basic info about this special tea:
    Qingjing Oolong Varietal
    2016 Winter Tea
    From Alishan, Jiayi, in Taiwan
    1200m-1800 m Elevation Above Sea Level.
    Temperature ( 97-98 degrees celsius)
    Brewing Vessel (90ml Jingdezhen gaiwan)
    Grams of Leaves ( 4 grams)
    Steeping Time ( less than 10 seconds per infusion, and every infusions increasing the time by 2 to 5 seconds)

    The whole unbroken leaves of this beautiful Gongfu Black

    Main Info
    Number of Total Steepings: Over 10 strong infusions.
    Aroma of Dry Leaves: Clove, Dates, Raisins, Honey, Chocolate
    Aroma of Wet Leaves: Dark Honey, Plums, and a bit of Eucalyptus.
    Taste Profile: Almonds, Dark Cocoa and tropical fruits .
    Texture Profile: aged Cheddar sort of sharpness but with a complex finish .
    Feeling/Aftertaste: sweet and delicate, with a herbal finish.
    Price: 15 dollars/25 grams
    Rating 8.5 out of 10.

    Thick, glossy liqure with a bubble formed on top. Indecating rich minerality and quality.

    Firstly, the packaging is amazing, with its ultra-protection aluminum lining on the inside; the aroma is kept safe, while the tea can mature or rest. Perfect little baggy or package for one or two gongfu sessions at home. The leaves are long, unbroken, and very distinctive. Using these unique twigs and edgy leaves, Oollo Tea has managed to make this tea into something amazing, using again a non-black tea cultivar, and using such advanced oxidation techniques and making sure that the body of a good black is there while keeping the fragrance that many Taiwanese Oolongs carry. The dry leaves smelt a lot like a KitKat bar or something chocolaty with some clove, or something a little cinnamony. Then came the wet leaves, which transformed more of the vegetal, herbal notes into something fruity, and more woody. The classic roasted aroma came out from the dry moist leaves, meaning the dry leaves that hit the gaiwan right after.

    The initial first impressions were very good, resulting in me exploring both my upper and lower palate. The upper palate engaging in activities like seeing where the fragrance can go, and while the lower pallet sees the body, or how much richness the tea soup carries. It was really an amazing experience, and I will recommend this tea for especially for people who love complex, artisan, rich tea.

    I also feel as a constant tea drinker that this tea very much impressed me. My body and soul was warmed, and I feel as if I was walking in the markets of the middle east, buying spices and dried tropical fruits. A real experience that should be looked up to. The money is definitely worth it, as you get more infusions than definitely most of the black teas. The leaves pulled off extremely well, and I tried to cold brew it after. It worked so well. The body really kicked in as well. I gave it 8 on the Attitude Rank, as it definitely has the power and flavor to make me feel drunk. The missing two stars was because I felt maybe the chi could’ve been stronger, and if it had lasted more than 15 infusions, there is no doubt that it deserves a full 10 Attitude Rank.

  • Gongfucha,  Oolong,  Tea Review,  Teaappreciation,  Teainfo,  Tieguanyin

    Tie Guan Yin from Zhiqiang Wang

    Tie Guan Yin Tea from producer Zhiqiang Wang
    Basic info about this rare tea:
    Tie Guan Yin Varietal
    2017 Spring Tea
    From Anxi County in Fujian Province
    600-700 m Elevation Above Sea Level.

    Temperature ( 95 to 96 degrees Celsius)
    Brewing Vessel (Jingdezhen Porcelain Gaiwan)
    Grams of Leaves ( 8 grams)
    Steeping Time ( less than 3 seconds per infusion, and every 2 infusions increasing the time by 5 to 10 seconds)
    Main Info
    Number of Total Steepings: Over 8 strong infusions.
    Aroma of Dry Leaves: Dried Nougat, Sour Apples, Grassy Nuts.
    Aroma of Wet Leaves: Soft ketchup, Orchid.
    Taste Profile: Boiled Broccoli with Gardenia Stems, Bitter Grass.
    Texture Profile: Soft but Astringent.
    Feeling/Aftertaste: Gentle, Sweet Melon aftertaste.
    Poetic Expression: “ A bull frog taking a nap under the hibiscus flower.” -An ugly beast having pretty foods, that’s what I feel from this tea.
    Price: 150 dollars/500 grams
    Rating 7.2 out of 10.

    I will first give a brief introduction to Tie Guan Yin.
    The Chinese believe in two stories surrounding the myth of where Tie Guan Yin is originally from. The first story is from Wei, where the tail saids that Wei was concerned about the local temple that had a Iron statue of the Buddhist goddess Guan Yin, who is no other than Avalokiteshvara in Sanskrit, while he was so poor and couldn’t even afford thinking about repairing the statue and temple. So, what he did was bringing a broom and some incense twice a month for a long time, accumulating merits for his good karma. One night, the goddess Guan Yin appeared in his dream indicating that there is a treasure in a cave nearby, and he was told to take it out and share it with others. In the cave, he found a tea shoot, and brought it out to plant in a small stream. This eventually became a great bush, providing the best tea. Later on, people in the village started to call this tea, Tie Guan Yin, The Iron Goddess of Mercy.

    The second story is from Wang, as this tale goes like this. The great scholar Wang accidentally found a Tea bush underneath the Guanyin rock in Xiping, Anxi, China. He then brought the plant back home for cultivation. In the 6th year of ruling for the Qianlong Emperor, Wang visited the emperor with this tea as a gift from the local village. Qianlong was so impressed, he asked where this tea is from. From there, the name Guan Yin was started to be used for this tea.

    There are three main types of Tie Guan Yin teas.
    Traditional ( Charcoal roasted)
    Jade or Modern Style ( Unroasted)
    Medium Roast (Traditional medium roast)
    The traditional-style Tie Guan Yin offers a very dark, heavily-oxidized, and was the first kind of Tie Guan Yin to ever be made. The roasting however is usually lighter and more fragrant than typical Wuyi Rock teas. The Medium Roast Tie Guan Yin offers very bright and deep aromas, compared with the Green Type, also known as Modern Style, very strong on the nose and has notes of gardenia flowers, honey butter, and melons. The market recently has shifted more attention on the Green Tie Guan Yin rather than the Traditional ones, due to the high-rise in Taiwanese Oolongs, and land, labor, and capital is actually cheaper to produce green oolongs in China than it is in Taiwan. Plus, making Green style requires less effort and is cheaper, so more people want to buy it, and the economy is rising for this.

    I did enjoy this tea, but I wouldn’t say I am a lover of it, because I know the quality isn’t the highest. High quality Tie Guan Yins are very hard to find in the western Market, because of two main reasons. First, because the good Tie Guan Yins are being bought within China, and the outside market doesn’t usually get involved. Also, because the price gap between qualities of Tie Guan Yin significantly jumps from very low to high. I mean, very much. In my opinion, Pu Erh has a much more controlled and standard rate for Gushu material, while Tie Guan Yins are very skeptical and increase in price so much compared to other higher quality teas. This one I tried was given to me by Lillian Li, the owner of SpiriteaStudio, as it was given to her by her friend in Xiping, Anxi. The initial taste is very good, resulting in a deep, warm taste of broccoli, with gardenia stems. I should say this sample was not exclusive, but was not bad either. It was not a tea for me to contemplate on, and during the last 3 infusions, I experienced the typical, minerally, acidic sort of taste that comes from Green Tie Guan Yin when the session is almost starting to fade away. This gave me that look on my face of, “Is this the thing again?” Yes, so this tea is a good oolong but not a great oolong, because it doesn’t have anything unique, but very standard and fair. It is a good tea for beginners to compare qualities. For more info and to get sample packs of different grades of oolong teas, go to Spiritea Studio in Vancouver or contact Lillian at lillian0403@gmail.com. This was a introduction to Tie Guan Yin, more oolong related articles coming soon. Stay tuned for the next article, the Floral Mountain Tie Guan Yin.`

    Dry leaves of the Qingxiang Tie Guan Yin from Anxi, Fujian.