Teabox Tuesday! While I won’t be doing monthly themes this year in my effort to Sipdown ALL the Teas™, I am going to try to get to one of my stashed away teabox teas on Tuesdays until all of those have been sipped down! Since I typically only kept a single serving of these, this seems a reasonable goal to start things off.
This one is actually from the older teabox I took part in when I first joined on Steepster, bless tea-sipper for letting me take part as it has really let me experience a lot of teas as a relative “tea newb.” Thankfully I don’t have many Here’s Hoping Teabox teas left (mostly just pu-erhs, so I like to think they are gracefully aging?), and this is one of only two oolongs I had left from that box. I’ve never had a Wuyi Rock Oolong, so take anything I have to say with a grain of salt! Neeeeewb! (Thank you tea-sipper and all who contributed to the last Here’s Hoping Teabox for this opportunity!)
I also really want to try to do more eastern-style brewing this year, as I just don’t get around to it very much. On work days I just don’t have the time (I can’t do it at work, and after work I can only drink herbals) so I’m going to try to get in at least one gong fu session a weekend. It’ll help me learn to brew better in that style, and since I need to take western-style brews to work in a thermos, it’ll be nice to have a comparison of some of these teas between the two styles.
So, I prepared my single 3g serving of this leaf in my shiboridashi.
3g / 100ml / 208F / Rinse|20s|25s|30s|35s|40s|45s|50s
The first two infusions were fairly similar. The wet leaf produced an aroma that reminded me of roasted nuts and cashew. The steeped brew was a dark caramel color, and smelled very roasty with notes of char/smoke, nuts, and minerals. The tea had a sort of mineral/wet rock flavor at the beginning of the sip, followed by a vegetal watercress and nutty cashew flavor, with notes of roasty old leather and smoke closing out the sip. The middle steeps opened with a more tobacco and ashy/smoky taste, but closed tasting a bit more roasted and nutty. Toward the end of the session the smokier notes started to wane and the tea became more nutty, which was probably my favorite steeps of the session, and by the seventh steep I could tell the tea was losing flavor and I was feeling quite tea heavy so I closed things up, even though I was finally getting to a place where I liked the taste a lot more.
While I like roasted flavors (like houjicha) I really don’t like strong smoky flavor (especially if they lean toward ashy or tobacco) so this was not a personal favorite. I have one more Wuyi Rock Oolong sampler in my collection that is apparently floral scented, so maybe I’ll like that one more? Or maybe it’ll just make my flowers taste like they’ve been through a meadow fire. I hope that won’t be the case! Have a feeling in the grand scheme of things this may just not be a type of oolong that is for me, if it always has a strong smoky taste, just like Gunpowder green tea and Lapsang Souchong just isn’t my thing.
Flavors: Ash, Char, Leather, Mineral, Nutty, Roasted, Roasted nuts, Smoke, Tobacco, Vegetal, Wet Rocks