Good quality Yancha


Owes its flavors to oxidation levels between green & black tea.

Re: Good quality Yancha

Postby Wh&yel-appr... » Dec 20th, '11, 19:04

tingjunkie wrote:You can compare tea to wine, beer, coffee, liquors, cigars, chocolate, or even cheese, olive oil, or soy sauce. Why not? Aren't they all just luxuries we consume in order to delight our senses? Products other people produce for passion, profit, or a blend of both? Things we can choose to be aficionados about, just buy the basic cheap stuff, or even survive without (God forbid)?

Hell, anyone with half a brain can compare a hawk to a handsaw
... if the wind is southerly. :wink:


@gingkoseto, TO, Pooh, will, tj, the_econ, AdamMY et al..nice threadjack> the value of tea vis a vis other 'luxury' items is a thread that could go on forever and won't really help the OP :p.

Ebby Calvin LaLoosh: So is somebody going to go to bed with somebody or what?
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Re: Good quality Yancha

Postby tingjunkie » Dec 20th, '11, 19:12

wh&yel-apprentice wrote:@gingkoseto, TO, Pooh, will, tj, the_econ, AdamMY et al..nice threadjack> the value of tea vis a vis other 'luxury' items is a thread that could go on forever and won't really help the OP :p.


On the contrary, the OP's question relates directly to the concept of "affordability" which we are discussing. [Not to mention several of us have already given our suggestions for best yancha under $.50/g. For many of us, this is not a terribly long list.] The best thing we can do at this point is try to convince Oni what a steal Tea Gallery yancha is/was(?) at a mere $.72/g.

Anyone else is free to add their particular vendor/product suggestions with links. :wink:
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Re: Good quality Yancha

Postby NOESIS » Dec 20th, '11, 21:15

tingjunkie wrote:
wh&yel-apprentice wrote:@gingkoseto, TO, Pooh, will, tj, the_econ, AdamMY et al..nice threadjack> the value of tea vis a vis other 'luxury' items is a thread that could go on forever and won't really help the OP :p.


On the contrary, the OP's question relates directly to the concept of "affordability" which we are discussing. [Not to mention several of us have already given our suggestions for best yancha under $.50/g. For many of us, this is not a terribly long list.] The best thing we can do at this point is try to convince Oni what a steal Tea Gallery yancha is/was(?) at a mere $.72/g.

Anyone else is free to add their particular vendor/product suggestions with links. :wink:


Personally, I find many of Tea Gallery's yanchas overroasted (esp. the 2 Stamp and 3 Stamp SX). But to each his/her own.

Nada has a pretty solid yancha selection that you might try. Also nice because you buy it by the gram.
http://www.essenceoftea.co.uk/tea/oolon ... k-tea.html
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Re: Good quality Yancha

Postby tingjunkie » Dec 20th, '11, 22:00

NOESIS wrote:Personally, I find many of Tea Gallery's yanchas overroasted (esp. the 2 Stamp and 3 Stamp SX). But to each his/her own.


Not sure how you prepare them, but they are meant to be brewed true "old man gong fu" style. Fill a small pot up to the top, and even crush some leaves. It's supposed to be a kick in the face followed by a looooong lasting flavor explosion. It's not for everyone. :lol:
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Re: Good quality Yancha

Postby zencha » Dec 20th, '11, 22:37

Is The Tea Gallery still in business ?
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Re: Good quality Yancha

Postby wyardley » Dec 20th, '11, 22:51

NOESIS wrote:Personally, I find many of Tea Gallery's yanchas overroasted (esp. the 2 Stamp and 3 Stamp SX). But to each his/her own.

I like some of TTGs yancha more than others, but most of the ones on their site (I've tried probably half of them at one point or another; definitely tried the baijiguan, rougui, and a couple of others at least once) have been pretty balanced, with a low to medium roast, and medium oxidation. I think the 2 stamp / 3 stamp are from a different source, and definitely seem to be quite heavily roasted. I believe someone sent me a sample of one or both at some point, and to my taste, they were a little heavy on the fire; I've had cheaper "murder death roast" yancha that, to my limited palate, tastes essentially the same. If the leaves are completely stiff, and can't be opened, rather than just slightly chewy, even after repeated steeping, that is generally a bad sign to me.

I do find that TTGs standard yancha are a little finicky about how they like to be brewed -- they tend to perform better if you baby them a bit in terms of temperature, and use a careful pour. I have a hard time getting a "read" on most of them, but I did like the batch of "100 Year Tree" (which I think is bai sui xiang, lit "hundred Year Fragrance") I had, which I'm guessing is from 2009? In regards to whether they're going to resume online sales, I believe someone on the chat said that they probably won't resume online sales anytime soon.

The (older) batch I had of Best Tea House's top tier dahongpao (so-called "1st generation") is not bad as far as things that are relatively easily available. It's fairly expensive, though. I think the HK shop has it for a bit less. Marshaln wrote about it here. I have some of this, as well as two of their other premium yancha, on the way. They also have a qianlixiang, a bit lower priced, which I think is nice, but I don't know if they still carry it.

I don't rate most yancha I've had from either vendor at the very top of what I've ever had in terms of quality or value, but it's a lot better than some, and more consistent than many.

While I'm not a fan of their thing about only selling 20g per order, I really like this Cloudwalker rougui, which, though they're coy about the source, I believe is most likely from the same source as the EoT ones. The baijiguan and shuixian I don't like as much. All are low to medium roast and medium-high oxidation. I don't know an exact date, but I would guess the ones I have tried are from 2007-2009? Could be wrong, though. The tea is balanced, but it's not a good idea to totally overbrew it - it's fairly oxidized, so it can get a little astringent like Phoenix dancong.

http://www.cloudwalkerteas.com/product/SPC-007

It is really hard to find good yancha, and I find that the longer I drink it, the pickier I am. I guess a lot of this question comes down to whether the OP just wants "pretty good" or wants the best stuff available. Finding the best yancha is difficult even if you're willing to spend a lot of money on it. Finding "pretty good" is more just a matter of finding a vendor / producer who produces tea in a style you like at a price you can afford. Sometimes it's worth paying a bit more for "pretty good" tea that's at least consistent and lacks major flaws.

It's also worth keeping the tea around and seeing how it changes. Some teas that I thought would be great after some time for the roast to settle ended up still tasting like crap 3-4 years later. Some teas that I thought were just Ok really grew on me. Tea will also sometimes go through an "awkward phase".
Last edited by wyardley on Dec 20th, '11, 23:08, edited 6 times in total.
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Re: Good quality Yancha

Postby tenuki » Dec 20th, '11, 22:52

zencha wrote:Is The Tea Gallery still in business ?


Tea Gallery website wrote:The Tea Gallery is on summer vacation until September.
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Re: Good quality Yancha

Postby Chip » Dec 20th, '11, 23:22

This topic has ... personality ... 8)
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Re: Good quality Yancha

Postby Poohblah » Dec 21st, '11, 00:01

wh&yel-apprentice wrote:@gingkoseto, TO, Pooh, will, tj, the_econ, AdamMY et al..nice threadjack> the value of tea vis a vis other 'luxury' items is a thread that could go on forever and won't really help the OP :p.

Thanks, mom.
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Re: Good quality Yancha

Postby NOESIS » Dec 21st, '11, 00:14

tingjunkie wrote:
NOESIS wrote:Personally, I find many of Tea Gallery's yanchas overroasted (esp. the 2 Stamp and 3 Stamp SX). But to each his/her own.


Not sure how you prepare them, but they are meant to be brewed true "old man gong fu" style. Fill a small pot up to the top, and even crush some leaves. It's supposed to be a kick in the face followed by a looooong lasting flavor explosion. It's not for everyone. :lol:


I hear what you're saying about the very high leaf/water ratio. I generally use an 80's Yixing pot (zini) - 90ml capacity. I'll load it up with 7 -9 grams of yancha.

It's funny, I've been drinking Chinese (and esp Taiwanese) oolongs for going on 20 years now, but yancha and dancong are teas that I only crave every few years....and I binge. :) My initial encounters back in the early 90s were very fine examples being offered in a few HK tea shops. For my palate, perfect oxidation (medium) and perfect finishing roast (medium-dark). I've had very few since that have been able to match.

For me, if the spent leaf is devoid of any color other than ebony, that is a sign that the underlying leaf material is masked by the "fire" to a degree that I don't particularly enjoy...especially annoying if I've paid good money for the tea. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the "greener" style that I've come across in the past few years is a bit off-putting. Maybe a reason that I'm less likely to purchase yancha from on-line vendors these days. :(
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Re: Good quality Yancha

Postby zencha » Dec 21st, '11, 00:54

tenuki wrote:
zencha wrote:Is The Tea Gallery still in business ?


Tea Gallery website wrote:The Tea Gallery is on summer vacation until September.


Uh , that's why I'm asking ; it's December !
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Re: Good quality Yancha

Postby Tead Off » Dec 21st, '11, 02:17

NOESIS wrote:
tingjunkie wrote:
NOESIS wrote:Personally, I find many of Tea Gallery's yanchas overroasted (esp. the 2 Stamp and 3 Stamp SX). But to each his/her own.


Not sure how you prepare them, but they are meant to be brewed true "old man gong fu" style. Fill a small pot up to the top, and even crush some leaves. It's supposed to be a kick in the face followed by a looooong lasting flavor explosion. It's not for everyone. :lol:


I hear what you're saying about the very high leaf/water ratio. I generally use an 80's Yixing pot (zini) - 90ml capacity. I'll load it up with 7 -9 grams of yancha.

It's funny, I've been drinking Chinese (and esp Taiwanese) oolongs for going on 20 years now, but yancha and dancong are teas that I only crave every few years....and I binge. :) My initial encounters back in the early 90s were very fine examples being offered in a few HK tea shops. For my palate, perfect oxidation (medium) and perfect finishing roast (medium-dark). I've had very few since that have been able to match.

For me, if the spent leaf is devoid of any color other than ebony, that is a sign that the underlying leaf material is masked by the "fire" to a degree that I don't particularly enjoy...especially annoying if I've paid good money for the tea. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the "greener" style that I've come across in the past few years is a bit off-putting. Maybe a reason that I'm less likely to purchase yancha from on-line vendors these days. :(

Roasting is a skill that cannot be underestimated. The material that is used to roast a tea, the time, the method, all have a significant effect on the tea. Some teas can take a lot of roasting and still retain their flavors that the drinker can distinguish from the roasted flavor. I am thinking of 2 Shui Xian's I have had in the last year. Both teas were roasted repeatedly over a span of 5-10 years. They are black. They do not open after brewing them many times, yet, the sweetness and flavor still overwhelm the roasted flavor that you would normally expect in such deeply roasted teas.

In contrast, I just drank a Dong Ding tea that has been charcoal roasted to a degree that all I can taste is the roasted flavor in the 1st 5 brews or so. And, only then does some of the fruitiness of the tea appear. These leaves open and are not nearly as roasted as my SX's but the difference is significant.

My point is it is difficult to tell by the look of the leaf if a tea has been overroasted. This is why sampling is so important before buying.
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Re: Good quality Yancha

Postby BioHorn » Dec 21st, '11, 11:21

Chip wrote:This topic has ... personality ... 8)

Like the tea being bantered about...
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Re: Good quality Yancha

Postby Chip » Dec 21st, '11, 12:06

BioHorn wrote:
Chip wrote:This topic has ... personality ... 8)

Like the tea being bantered about...

well ... very divergent personalities. :shock:
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Re: Good quality Yancha

Postby Wh&yel-appr... » Dec 24th, '11, 18:57

Cloudwalker teas has their unidentified harvest date, 'mother tree' wuyi on sale for a limited time...still too expensive for me to afford :( In fact all Cloudwalker teas are on sale right now (maybe the the 'protected teas' that are hidden behind password part of the site).

While surely plantation teas of lower quality, China Cha Dao has both Pheonix DC (surely plantation, lower elevation, no-old-trees) & Wuyi, as well as Long Jing (most likely all LJ#43 cultivar) 2011 teas all on sale right now :).
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Special-Grade-D ... 0705393406?
Name: Special Grade "Da Hong Pao" Wuyi Mount Chinese Oolong Tea AAA+ 125g 特级大红袍 US $14.39


^doesn't really tell you any meaningful info about the origins/quality of tea :(

Phoenix Dancong "Zhi Lan Xiang" Chinese Oolong Tea 1kg
Buy It Now $19.54
15% Off $22.99
^same here (but in my price range :D...supermarket grade tea :p), going to guess it's a low grade plantation tea...but don't even know the roasting level :(. Could be highly roasted or lightly roasted, I've tried both kinds that they sell @local Wing Hop Fu store for $40/lb in Monterey Park, Calif.


Wuyi Guide

http://the-leaf.org/issue7/wp-content/u ... uide71.pdf

^
Zhen yan
The highest grade of yancha all comes from within
the protected park itself. Trees here tend to be older
and grown with the proper distance between each
tree so their roots have room to breath, growing deep
and wide to absorb all the wonderful nutrients
Another important factor relates to the fact
that the park is such a famous tourist destination.
Thousands of people walk through there every day,
following the clear and defined paths constructed by
the government. Consequently, the tea gardens near
these paths are all inferior. The noise, cameras and
even the breathing of thousands of people all affect
the quality of these gardens. The best gardens, on
the other hand, are several kilometers deep into the
park—down dirt paths that take you well away from
all the crowds to silent places. Like all plants, tea also
responds to human interaction, emotion and even

Of course, much of the mastery of oolong tea
is in the complicated processing, so this is a major
factor in the end-product as well.

The best zhen yan is completely hand-processed,
though there is also semi-hand-processed and
machine-processed tea. It is easy to differentiate the
hand-processed or semi- hand-processed from the
machine-processed variety by appearance alone,
as the latter produces more uniform leaves,
all about the same shape with the
same kind of twist, whereas the hand-processed and
semi-hand-processed teas display a variety of sizes,
shapes and twists unique for each leaf.
Discriminat-
ing between completely hand-processed and semi-
hand-processed yancha is more difficult and takes a
bit of practice under the guidance of the trained eye.


ing is when the roast affects the flavor in a positive
way without leaving behind any traces of itself. The
exception to this rule is the “mistaken” zhen yan tea,
which is heavily roasted. As each variety of tea is
hand-processed some of it is lost due to all kinds of
mistakes, natural and human. This tea is set aside semi-hand-processed teas display a variety of sizes,
shapes and twists unique for each leaf. Discriminat-
ing between completely hand-processed and semi-
hand-processed yancha is more difficult and takes a
bit of practice under the guidance of the trained eye.



Genuine zhen yan from within the park is al-
most never, ever roasted heavily.
A lot of people have
only ever tried heavily-roasted yancha and therefore
have probably not tasted much zhen yan, which is
produced in much lower quantities and more expen-
sive as a result.
Each of the thousands of varieties of
yancha, like Shui Jing Gui or Lao Jing Mei, has a very
distinct flavor. Tie Liou Han, for example, is known
to taste of burnt bamboo, while Bai Ji Guan tastes of
lychee. If the roast was too heavy, these flavors would
be lost. In fact, almost all zhen yan is stored for six
months to a year before drinking so that whatever
roast there is will mellow out, leaving behind the
flavors of the leaf.
Like all oolong, mastery in roast-
ing is when the roast affects the flavor in a positive
way without leaving behind any traces of itself
. The
exception to this rule is the “mistaken” zhen yan tea,
which is heavily roasted.


Hmm, that's almost, if not impossible to do- roast w/o leaving any trace of the roasting flavor/processing.
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