Linkou Lao Cha Late 1980's Aged Taiwan Oolong Tea

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Oolong Tea
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Edit tea info Last updated by NofarS
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195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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  • “Ok, so now for a proper tasting note, because this tea is worth it. This is from my latest order from Norbu Tea, part of what I bought during their 25% off Chinese New Year sale (on until the 31st...” Read full tasting note

From Norbu Tea

Appearance, Flavor & Aroma:
This tea’s dry leaves are a moderately tight-rolled, semi-ball shape. The fragrance of the dry leaves is very clean and roasty-toasty with hints of toasted nuts and a slight touch of cocoa. This tea has been perfectly stored in sealed, glazed clay jars and re-roasted religiously every three years to drive out excess moisture that could otherwise cause musty flavors since storage began in the late 1980’s, resulting in a totally non-funky aged tea. When infused, the moderately thick, clear red/brown liquor is roasty-toasty and very clean with a distinct “tea taste,” hints of dried stone fruit (peaches, plums, etc) and just a touch of cocoa in the pleasantly lingering finish.

Linkou District on Google Maps
One of the highlights of my Spring, 2013 visit to Taiwan was getting to visit a small tea farm in Linkou District, which lies to the Northwest of the Taipei Basin on the island’s North coast. Because of its hot, rainy climate and acidic soil (tea plants thrive in acidic soil), tea has been grown in Linkou since at least the beginning of Japanese occupation in the late 1800’s. Tea cultivation in Linkou has been on the decline recently because much of the former farmland is getting used for residential developments, but the farmer I got to meet is still going strong with the rather remote farm that has been in his family for several generations. He even presses cooking oil from the tea seeds harvested from his farm, and I had the pleasure of trying this oil on some fantastic rice noodles during the visit. The oil was pressed from lightly roasted tea seeds, and it reminded me of a cross between a lightly toasted sesame oil and a good fruity olive oil. Very cool.

This farmer has been experimenting with many different cultivars on his farm over the past several decades, and this Aged Oolong is a mix of the three cultivars that he was growing in the late 1980’s: Hong Xin (red heart) Oolong, Tie Guan Yin and Ruan Zhi (Soft-Stem) Oolong. It has been stored in sealed, glazed clay jars, and it was re-roasted every three years since production.

Steeping Guideline:
In my opinion, this tea is best steeped Gong Fu style, and I have settled on about 8-9 grams in a 150ml gaiwan or Yixing teapot using water just under a boil. This tea is fairly well suited to western style steeping, too. I tend to use slightly more than usual leaf (maybe 2-2.5 tsp per cup) and a 5 minute infusion to get a roasty, toasty, bracing brew.

Please be sure to adjust the amount of leaf, steeping time, and/or water temperature according to your taste.

For general steeping guidelines for the different categories of Chinese tea and a short downloadable “how to” video on Gong Fu style tea preparation, please visit our Chinese Tea Steeping Guide page.

About Norbu Tea View company

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2 Tasting Notes

423 tasting notes

Ok, so now for a proper tasting note, because this tea is worth it. This is from my latest order from Norbu Tea, part of what I bought during their 25% off Chinese New Year sale (on until the 31st of January. Go buy some great tea now! I’ll wait patiently until you are done).
One of the reasons that I love Norbu is that they have all these unique and interesting teas that you can’t find anywhere else, and this is one of them. This is an aged oolong that is practically my age, and yet doesn’t have any funky, fishy, musty smell or taste. It is very dark, and has a roasted note to the first steepings, but from the third steep on it takes on a Tie Guan Yin taste, with flowery, slightly perfume-y notes, and some fruitiness that remains with this tea from the start. I used very short steepings, as this tea came out bold during the quick wash, so I was afraid of over brewing it. The leaves unfurl, and they nearly filled my little Yixing teapot (Yunnan Sourcing Green Dragon Egg – wonderful teapot!) by the fifth and sixth steepings. This tea can go on for ages, and you are likely to tire of it before it runs out of juice. There are some cocoa notes to the tea, particularly in the first steepings, and there’s a nice sweetness to it, yet also a complexity beyond what you normally get even from a very good oolong. A tea to remember, and to slowly and methodically savor.
P.S. I’m not a fan of flowery oolongs, so I’m knocking off a few points due to my personal preferences. If you are at all a Tie Guan Yin person or an oolong person in general, you need to try this tea.

195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 30 sec

Sounds wonderful. I love Norbu, too. I’m intrigued by your teapot as well. I don’t have a Yixing yet but I’d like to get one.


Please don’t make the mistake that I did and buy lots of cheap, poor quality Yixing from eBay. Invest in good Yixing teapots, they will last you for years if you treat them properly. I have two from Yunnan sourcing and they are all excellent, excellent, and decently priced. One for Sheng, and one for Oolong. I also have one for Shu that I bought at an outrageous price from Le Palais de The, but at least it’s a good quality one. Finally the one I have for black teas is exquisite, and was a gift from a friend who toured in China and asked a local to help her buy “a good quality Yixing for a friend who likes tea” :)


And Norbu are practically my favorite tea company :)

Terri HarpLady

I’m trying to stay away from Norbu’s page…


Terri…stay away! i have samples to send you!

Terri HarpLady

Oh good! Saved! :)


I am struggling not to place another order there. There’sa Sheng, a white tea and a few black teas that are tempting me. Must hang in there


See, that’s the thing. I know you’re supposed to have a different Yixing for each type of tea (and even subtypes) and I worry that I’ll get carried away if I start down that slippery slope. ;-)

Terri HarpLady

Morgana, I have 3 yixings designated for: Sheng, Wuyi Oolongs, & Shu. Then I have an adorable white porcelain teapot with blue lotuses on it, which is the same size as the yixings. Because it’s porcelain, it’s interchangable, but I pretty much use it for black teas. I haven’t got a black tea yixing yet, because some of the full leaf black teas I drink have very different flavor profiles from each other. My mind is telling me that I’d want separate little pots for yunnan, wuyi, taiwan, etc., so porcelain it is. I have gaiwans for the oolongs, etc. It is a slippery slope! Fun, but yeah!

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