Oolong novice seeks wisdom

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

Oolong novice seeks wisdom

Postby Trey Winston » Oct 29th, '08, 08:06

So I'm brewing some oolong in earnest for essentially the first time. My first reaction: Does this tea really come from the same plant that gives us greens and whites? :shock: It seems to be enormously more fragrant and perfumed, very unlike greens or blacks. It's certainly not unpleasant, but is it really supposed to be this different from the other teas? Or have I bought a ruined or old tea? The description says just "Ever Spring Jade Oolong" from Taiwan. If this is normal, then I'm more than ordinarily in awe of the versatility of our beloved Camellia.

Now, let's see if I can extract an actual question from the confused ramblings above: Is it normal for an oolong to have a very strong and flowery fragrance?
:?:

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Postby kymidwife » Oct 29th, '08, 08:28

I'm no expert (will leave that to the Queen and others) but I think the answer is yes. I was struck by the lovely fragrance of particularly the greener oolongs like the Jade you mentioned. I don't get quite as profound a fragrance from the more oxidized and roasted dry leaves... although it really comes out when you brew.

Tung Ting Jade from SpecialTeas was the first really green oolong I tried, and I was immediately dazzled by the difference in both aroma and flavor compared to any other tea I'd ever tried As a result, I've become an enthusiastic oolongian over the last few months. Interestingly, I don't get a strong floral *taste* from those oolongs carrying that aroma. To me, the taste is more "buttery", sometimes slightly vegetal, but in a sweet way... and I guess maybe slightly floral, but not in a profound way. Everyone seems to have a very individual perception of the flavor profiles of these teas, so someone else might taste them a totally different way... that's just me.

I would say if its highly fragrant in a sweet floral way, it's not old or spoiled or deteriorated in any way. If it's not off-putting, you probably have some nice tea... brew it up and report back!

Sarah

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Postby Maitre_Tea » Oct 29th, '08, 10:30

It depends on what kind of oolong you're talking about. Greener oolongs like lightly roasted TKY, Dong Ding, etc. are usually very fragrant and floral. When you start drinking roasted oolongs there's more of a rich flavor with a fruity taste to it.

It's all from the same plant. It's just a matter of where the tea is from and how it's processed. It's kinda like wine or coffee.

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Postby auggy » Oct 29th, '08, 10:36

kymidwife wrote:Tung Ting Jade from SpecialTeas was the first really green oolong I tried, and I was immediately dazzled by the difference in both aroma and flavor compared to any other tea I'd ever tried As a result, I've become an enthusiastic oolongian over the last few months.

Yay! It makes me feel warm and fuzzy to know you liked it so. I'm out - need to order more!

Oolong is a very unique style of tea, I think. Even within the category of oolong there are lots of variations. Isn't it awesome? :)

I want some green oolong now. :( Sadly, I only have a little pouchong left and it is at home. Maybe if I stay awake enough after work, that's what I'll have today.

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Postby ABx » Oct 29th, '08, 15:56

That's a very typical reaction to the jade oolongs :) It really is amazing how much different the same leaf can be just by processing it different. It goes from very vegetal (geen), to less vegetal and more floral (jade oolong), to different shades of floral and fruity (darker oolong), to acidic and differently fruity (black), to earthy (puerh and some aged oolongs). Age can do a variety of different things as well. It's hard to think about drinking flavored teas when you know that they can naturally produce many of the same flavors but in a much better balance and far more natural aroma and taste :) It's even more amazing when you see how much different environments can affect the final product so much. From high altitudes (more amino acids, which makes it thicker and more buttery) to different kinds of bug bites (make it sweeter or bring out the muscatel in Darjeelings), and on and on. I even have an Indonesian oolong that has an aroma of all the spices you would imagine to be in an open market in Indonesia (not that I've ever been) such as amber, incense, and exotic [food] spices.

It makes you appreciate just how much of an art tea really is :)

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Postby Victoria » Oct 29th, '08, 18:52

>>Is it normal for an oolong to have a very strong and flowery fragrance? <<
Absolutely. After the subtlety of most whites, I am not surprised at your reaction.
Some are definitely more floral than others. I lean towards greener higher mountain oolongs which tend to be more floral, but it is the taste not the aroma that draws me.

>> ... but is it really supposed to be this different from the other teas?<<
Yes it is very different from Whites and Greens which is why it gets its own category.
:)

Full-bodied seems to be the only description that transcends the varieties. Floral is different depending on the tea, as is astringency and sweetness. And a vegetal taste in oolongs is a completely different thing than the vegetal found in greens.

Bottom line though ... did you enjoy it?

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Postby tenuki » Oct 29th, '08, 19:27

imagine me repeating what ABx said.

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Postby Salsero » Oct 29th, '08, 19:33

tenuki wrote: imagine me repeating what ABx said.
Indeed, ABx, that was very impressively said.

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Postby Vulture » Oct 30th, '08, 00:01

Its amazing to hear about how this one plant changes into tea depending on location of growth, preparation, and steeping. Before learning more about tea's, I wouldn't have believed that most 'teas' were from the same plant and not from different ones.

Then again you could almost call it different plants in the same family because they are so different.

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Postby kymidwife » Oct 30th, '08, 00:26

auggy wrote:Yay! It makes me feel warm and fuzzy to know you liked it so. I'm out - need to order more!


Auggy: Yep, it all started with samples from you... thanks! Now that I think of it... I also started falling in love with Darjeelings thanks to the delicious Puttabong you and I both purchased when I was in Dallas. I just really loved that tea... repurchased it from another location and it wasn't quite as good... and now its no longer available from the Teavana website. It was one of the better Darjeelings I've tried, even if it WAS from Teavana!

Now I wonder what you'll make me fall in love with next!

Sarah

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Postby Trey Winston » Oct 30th, '08, 05:03

So it's not just me, then. :)
I have to say I really enjoyed it. The floral scent was strong, but not overpowering, while the flavor was smooth, buttery, and slightly sweet, and also a little bit floral. Layered, in a way. Definitely a tea to keep in my stash.

It also seems to be able to take several steepings. I got three good ones before it became too weak.

I'll be drinking oolong all day today too, in order to cement my impressions. Wow, who'd a thunk tea was this versatile?

Thanks for your replies, everyone. I now have a new respect for you oolongonians. :D

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Postby Vulture » Oct 30th, '08, 06:59

Trey Winston wrote:Thanks for your replies, everyone. I now have a new respect for you oolongonians. :D



Uh oh *waits for the oolongian recruitment post from Victoria*

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Postby auggy » Oct 30th, '08, 09:56

kymidwife wrote:Auggy: Yep, it all started with samples from you... thanks! Now that I think of it... I also started falling in love with Darjeelings thanks to the delicious Puttabong you and I both purchased when I was in Dallas.

That one got me into Darjeelings, too! I think all in all, not only was it a FUN meeting, but very expansive to our tea horizons! :)

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Postby Victoria » Oct 30th, '08, 11:40

Vulture wrote:
Trey Winston wrote:Thanks for your replies, everyone. I now have a new respect for you oolongonians. :D



Uh oh *waits for the oolongian recruitment post from Victoria*


Heh, I've been quietly working on him for awhile now.
:)

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Postby Cinnabar Red » Oct 31st, '08, 10:55

My first oolong experience took place in a tea shop, where the owner performed a chinese tea ceremony. My reactions were similar to many of you.

There were 2 tiny cups used, one bowl shaped and one tall and narrow. The tea was poured into the narrow one first. The contents of the narrow cup went into the shallow wide cup, and we immediately smelled the scent from the empty tall cup.

Wow. Talk about shooting flowers from a cannon. The tall narrow shape of the cup served to intensify the aroma. It was like walking into a flower shop.

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