29 Tasting Notes
Yibi Hong is a loose leaf raw Puerh, processed as a red tea (black tea) from Yiwu, Yunnan. The long golden black leaves are very beautiful to look at, and difficult to get into small Zisha pots. The very orange tinted brew tastes like hazelnut and orange juice, while feeling very smooth and creamy. Later, a sweet spicy rosemary-like note comes up. Doesn’t feel very much like a black tea, neither like a Puerh. Very interesting.
Flavors: Creamy, Hazelnut, Orange, Smooth, Spicy
Red Jade is a Taiwanese red tea (black tea) from Sun Moon Lake with nice intact leaves. First try with Oolong-like brewing parameters (much tea, longer initial infusion) in a rather big Zisha pot was giving me a very oily, full-bodied brew with lots of umami and some spiciness. It reminded me of broth, a bit too much of everything.
Retrying it with flash infusions in a small Gaiwan. The heavy savoury notes were lowered to a less oily bread crust aroma. I found some discreet fruitiness, like heated lemon juice and raisins, and an after-mouthfeel typically associated with mint. Still not so much my preferred flavours, although doubtlessly interesting.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Broth, Lemon, Mint, Raisins, Spicy, Umami
1990 Zhong Zhuan (Blue Zhong) Sheng Puerh was once a tea cake, but was only available in chunks broken from that, thus also in smaller quantities than 400g. This also makes preparing it a bit easier, as you basically just have to take one of the chunks and put it into the pot (although I enjoy preparing Puerh with the proper equipment).
It is quite a wily tea. It starts considerably bitter, which after some consideration reminded me of an overextracted espresso, only to prepare the palate for the long-staying sweetness that follows. It has similarities to pumpkin and red grapes. Will retry this after some more proper humid storing.
Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Grapes, Pumpkin, Sweet
Dark Pearl Oolong from Taitung, Taiwan has very attractive dark dry leaves in ball shape, they adumbrate the origin of the name Oolong, black dragon. It gives a nice dark red brew many times in a row, tasting like dates, caramel and cinnamon. Overall, I think there are some more complex things missing out in this tea. It is very nice, but not very interesting. Ideal for a first encounter with Taiwan dark Oolong maybe, as it gives an obvious example of how sweet tea can be.
Flavors: Caramel, Cinnamon, Dates, Honey, Roasted, Sweet
Shan Lin Xi high mountain Oolong has light oxidation and roast. It contains of intact bud-and-leaf parts aswell as single intact leaves. The substantial brew starts off fragrant, incredibly sweet and smooth, somehow like apple pie. Later, it adds coconut notes and becomes more refreshing with a hint of basil in the aftertaste.
Flavors: Apple, Cake, Coconut, Herbs, Smooth, Sweet
Spring 2012 Hung Shui Oolong from Yiguang is light oxidized and has a medium roast. Hung Shui, as Stéphane Erler explained it, is the form of tea production following the original Dong Ding approach. The ball-shaped rolled leaves unfold to show their careful hand-picking process, almost entirely consisting of intact “two leaves and a bud”-constellations. The leaves have a nice even olive green. I found aromas of roasted maize and spice above the golden cup, the palate also gets roasted maize and, in later infusions, berries with sweet astringency.
Flavors: Astringent, Berries, Popcorn, Roasted, Spices
Feng Huang (Phoenix) Dan Cong is a dark and strongly roasted oolong from Chaozhou in northern Guangdong. I actually bought it just to know what tea would come from the home of the famous elaborate Chaozhou Gongfu Cha. I imagined it tasting somewhat like Da Hong Pao, but it turned out very different. The brew is lighter, the tint reminded me of less concentrated filter coffee. It has incredible apricot and tangerine aromas. Not the smokey notes, rather with a sweet roasted taste.
Flavors: Apricot, Fruity, Orange, Roasted
2002 Chuan Fang is a medium aged shou Puerh brick. I had to completely destroy the nice looking wrapper to get it out. What a pity. The tea brick itself was also sort of hard to handle, I think it has been a bit too dry in the time before. I will check on that after some “pumidor” storage has passed by. The smooth and thick brew has notes of cashew and cream, with a mouth-watering after-feel. Can’t yet decide on a rating.
Flavors: Creamy, Nutty, Smooth, Thick
Dong Ding Oolong from Fenghuang, Nantou is a medium oxidized and heavy roasted tea. Typically for Dong Ding, it is intensely sweet, like syrup, combined with roasted flavours. This one further gives hints of clove and a slight vanilla astringency. On the downside, it felt like not as many infusions were possible as I expected.
Flavors: Clove, Maple Syrup, Roasted, Sweet, Vanilla
Jiangshan Meiren is an Oriental Beauty Oolong from Dehua, Fujian. There are many white buds among the young leaves, hence the name White Tip Oolong. The whisky-red brew starts off with fresh bread and sesame tastes along with red grape-like sweetness. Further infusions give more and more creamy honey sweetness and hints of cinnamon.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Cinnamon, Creamy, Grapes, Honey, Nutty, Sweet