Other oolongs like "wild concubine"?


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

Other oolongs like "wild concubine"?

Postby fire_snake » Apr 13th, '11, 16:19

I've recently made some Zhuni Yixing teapot purchases, and I think my research has paid off and I got some good ones. A couple from Stephane Erler of Teamasters, and another from our very own Ambrose.

I plan to dedicate these to specific types of Oolongs. One will be for Li Shan, the other for Yushan, and so forth.

Stephane sent me a lovely sample of "wild concubine" Oolong. I was expecting a typical roasted oolong, from the aroma alone. I'm not a big fan of any roasted Oolongs I've tried thus far. Rather, I'm much more partial to the lighter even honey-like notes of Gao Shans (including Yushan.)

http://teamasters.blogspot.com/2011/01/ ... -from.html

http://teamasters.blogspot.com/2007/02/ ... eauty.html

(this is *not* OB, so look near the bottom of the webpage for details)

This summer Dong Ding Oolong finds its inspiration in Oriental Beauty: the farmer hasn't used any pesticides on purpose. He wants the criquets to get a bite of the leaves and then oxidize them more strongly than he usually does with his traditional Dong Ding Oolong. But it's not an imitation of Oriental Beauty, because the leaves are still fist rolled as is tradition in the Dong Ding area. That's why he could give this tea a new name, Concubine tea. And that's why I find it interesting, because it doesn't try to imitate Oriental Beauty (and imitations are almost always very inferior to the original in the tea world, as this study and my experience have shown). Instead, he created a new tea with its special character: a highly oxidized, insect bitten, summer Dong Ding Oolong that is better than a traditional summer Dong Ding Oolong.


Boy, was I in for a surprise. I gave it a test drive in my newest Zhuni pot - it's quite small and I wondered what the results would be like, but I couldn't resist.

The pre-warmed pot was ready, I had wet the inside and dumped in a bunch of the rolled leaves, letting the pot warm even further. I'm quite mindful of the fact that these pots don't like sudden temp changes.

I lifted the lid and . . . chocolate. A chocolatey, slightly floral, but very "thick" and sweet aroma. It was unlike anything I had ever smelled before. Yes, chocolate.

This is not a typical roasted oolong, at least not in my small experience. The roasted base notes are there, certainly, but the floral, honey-like qualities are much more than what I expected. The tea performs a bit like a Li Shan but with more roasting, including a honey-like aftertaste that reminds me a bit of Yu Shan. Infusion after infusion the tea kept surprising me. And it actually tasted and smelled better than when I tried it in a gaiwan after. I was quite surprised.

So I might as well dedicate this pot to "wild concubine." It seem this roasted Oolong is not heavily roasted at all - perhaps something between roasted and High Mountain Oolongs.

What are some other "mid-elevation" Oolongs like wild concubine? Perhaps I should use the term "lightly roasted." I'm not really well-versed in oolong classification yet.

Thanks for reading,

Christian
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Re: Other oolongs like "wild concubine"?

Postby tortoise » Apr 13th, '11, 16:44

I've only had a couple examples, but I've really enjoyed aged Baozhong and aged Taiwan Oolongs in general. Roasting is pretty much compulsory for aging, and the teas become -- in very base terms -- most chocolatey and stone-fruit-like. Think plums or dark cherries, or something of that ilk. Also, if the tea has had some rest since it's most recent roasting, the liquor will be super smooth with no charred flavor at all.

Best advice that was given to me regarding the perfect pot/tea pair, is "let the pot decide."

You will have much better results if you try a few things and pick the pair with the best outcome than trying to force a match intellectually. (Though it's a given that some clays and pot designs have proven track records with certain categories of tea.)

Thanks for your description of the Wild Concubine Tea. I'm jealous. My wife won't let me keep concubines in the house any more. Wild or Tame. (wocka wocka wocka)
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Re: Other oolongs like "wild concubine"?

Postby wyardley » Apr 13th, '11, 18:07

fire_snake wrote:So I might as well dedicate this pot to "wild concubine." It seem this roasted Oolong is not heavily roasted at all - perhaps something between roasted and High Mountain Oolongs.

I would assume it's lower roast and higher oxidation. I think he describes it as wild "concubine" [probably literally gui fei cha, referring to Yang Guifei] tea rather than "wild concubine" tea (big difference).

You can also take a look at this thread.
viewtopic.php?f=3&t=14747
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Re: Other oolongs like "wild concubine"?

Postby wyardley » Apr 13th, '11, 18:31

tortoise wrote:I've only had a couple examples, but I've really enjoyed aged Baozhong and aged Taiwan Oolongs in general. Roasting is pretty much compulsory for aging

I disagree here. While super green (low oxidation and no roasting) oolongs may not change much, I find that less roasted teas tend to change more. I have had lots of low roast, medium oxidation oolongs which have not been re-roasted, and the results are often spectacular.

The periodic re-roasting is also not required; you just get different results. Some people don't like the sourness and mustiness that can sometimes come from long aging without re-roasting; other people will claim that re-roasting will destroy the flavor of the tea.
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Re: Other oolongs like "wild concubine"?

Postby edkrueger » Apr 13th, '11, 20:37

I haven't had the 2011, but the 2010 was a lot like OB. I'd say the Gui Fei –which is what this tea is– is higher oxidization and roast than typical Gaoshan –though less roast than traditional Dong Ding. OB is similar, but it is higher oxidization and less roast the average Gui Fei. Hong Shui is similar, but it is lower oxidization and more roast the average Gui Fei.
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Re: Other oolongs like "wild concubine"?

Postby wyardley » Apr 13th, '11, 21:03

edkrueger wrote:I haven't had the 2011, but the 2010 was a lot like OB. I'd say the Gui Fei –which is what this tea is– is higher oxidization and roast than typical Gaoshan –though less roast than traditional Dong Ding. OB is similar, but it is higher oxidization and less roast the average Gui Fei. Hong Shui is similar, but it is lower oxidization and more roast the average Gui Fei.

I think this is a very good summary.

One interesting take on the last part, though, is this bit that Shiuwen wrote (based on a conversation with a tea farmer)
http://floatingleavestea.blogspot.com/2 ... olong.html
The basic jist is that hong shui originally referred to maocha (i.e., tea that hadn't been roasted yet) with a fairly traditional / high amount of oxidation. So I think hong shui oolong could be unroasted (beyond the drying step) or very lightly roasted.

Also, I have had gui fei cha which have appeared to have varying levels of oxidation, so I'm not certain that it will always have so much oxidation. In fact, in the photos of Stephane's from this year, I don't see that much visible red on the leaf, though the photos aren't super close-up. I think his claim is that the bug bites provide part of the sour-sweet taste (and maybe some of the fruity notes?).

Very confusing stuff, and of course, a name is just a name... different farmers and merchants will process the same varietal or the same name of tea in different ways. (And, to add to the confusion, there are some mainland-China grown oolongs that I've also seen named similarly, i.e., zui gui fei).
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Re: Other oolongs like "wild concubine"?

Postby fire_snake » Apr 13th, '11, 22:03

edkrueger wrote:I haven't had the 2011, but the 2010 was a lot like OB. I'd say the Gui Fei –which is what this tea is– is higher oxidization and roast than typical Gaoshan –though less roast than traditional Dong Ding. OB is similar, but it is higher oxidization and less roast the average Gui Fei. Hong Shui is similar, but it is lower oxidization and more roast the average Gui Fei.


Thank you for this clarification. This is more or less what I was getting at. My only concern is that I keep this particular pot to this sort of oolong (Gui Fei) and have it avoid others. I wasn't sure what other "Gui Fei" type oolongs there are and how similar they might taste to wild concubine.

Christian
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Re: Other oolongs like "wild concubine"?

Postby wyardley » Apr 13th, '11, 22:34

fire_snake wrote:Thank you for this clarification. This is more or less what I was getting at. My only concern is that I keep this particular pot to this sort of oolong (Gui Fei) and have it avoid others. I wasn't sure what other "Gui Fei" type oolongs there are and how similar they might taste to wild concubine.

I think he's just saying that this particular tea is wild or semi-wild.

In any event, I wouldn't even dedicate a special pot to this type of tea, simply because it's not super common. Personally, I don't specialize with anywhere near that degree of specificity. Use whatever pot you'd use for somewhat oxidized, somewhat roasted Taiwanese oolongs.
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Re: Other oolongs like "wild concubine"?

Postby edkrueger » Apr 13th, '11, 23:17

Yeah, don't obsess over pots and pairing. IMO dedicating a pot to oolong in general is good enough if the pot is zhuni or another nonporous clay. For porous clays, like zini, you should probably dedicate more specifically, but I wouldn't use zini for Taiwanese teas –except really dark roast ones– in the first place.
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Re: Other oolongs like "wild concubine"?

Postby tortoise » Apr 14th, '11, 09:01

wyardley wrote:
tortoise wrote:I've only had a couple examples, but I've really enjoyed aged Baozhong and aged Taiwan Oolongs in general. Roasting is pretty much compulsory for aging

I disagree here. While super green (low oxidation and no roasting) oolongs may not change much, I find that less roasted teas tend to change more. I have had lots of low roast, medium oxidation oolongs which have not been re-roasted, and the results are often spectacular.

The periodic re-roasting is also not required; you just get different results. Some people don't like the sourness and mustiness that can sometimes come from long aging without re-roasting; other people will claim that re-roasting will destroy the flavor of the tea.


I didn't mean to say that tea must be reroasted, only that the aged teas I've had were all roasted at some point. And again, I've only had a few; not claiming expertise.
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