Bok wrote:I wonder if the change in roasting preferences could have something to do with storage? That in the old days roasted tea is more practical if you have no vacuum sealing available. So that in reverse the rise in less oxydized only made sense in recent times.
Just a thought…
from the horses mouth, there is a malaysian tea merchant that had been importing TKY into this region for the past century or so, their ancestor in anxi, fujian had large tea plantations. this year he went back home and asked his cousin/nephew to make a traditional batch of TKY, something that had not been made for years. although its not perfect, the merchant said that they didnt make traditional TKY anymore because of the "green movement" and new styles of TKY that are catching on with popularity since the chinese drink quite a large amount of green teas. people brewing in traditional chaozhou or anxi methods are getting less common.
greener and new generation TKY can be completed in 1 day, traditional TKY takes 3 days or slightly longer due to the charcoal roasting. nobody wants to do the tedious oxidation and roasting work anymore. electrical roasting is many times used in replacement of charcoal, its faster, the tea dries out very quickly, the taste will differ too. the merchant does re-roast his teas electrically annually.
1) removes moisture from the tea which can be detrimental to the tea in storage. this is unlike pu-erh where straight after compression and shade drying the water content is more than 10%, TKY, Yancha is best pushed down to 3-4%
2) break down of bitter polyphenols, the tea becomes smoother the more roasted it is. rebaking of tea before brewing does help break down bitter polyphenols a little to widen the margin for error when brewing gongfu style.
3) roasting changes the aroma, and decreases the florals. so lower quality teas, lighter oxidation teas, do not take to re-roasting or long roasting very well. the over-roasted version is a black type of "charcoal colored" oolong tea that is purported in recent years to be good for health. black oil oolong or something they call that..
4) this implies that if a farmer picks way too much leaf or pushes his plants too hard to meet yields, if the leaf is not aromatic enough it could be risky to make a higher oxidation, higher roast type of tea.
5) the higher the roast, the gentler on the stomach. greeny lush light oxidation, low roast dancongs is not traditionally recommended for long term regular consumption. the chao zhou diet is filled with lots of oil, lard, and "toxic" proteins, i.e. crabs, shrimps etc, low roast, low oxidation dancong is consumed by chaozhou people as it helps them "detox".
just a summary of observations so far on this subject.