Oolongs with More Bite


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Oolongs with More Bite

Postby AlexZorach » Jun 14th, '11, 18:22

I often like my tea to have a bit of an edge to it, some astringency and bitterness, especially in the summer for some reason. I've found that often, especially in the U.S. where the palate seems to tend towards sweet and away from bitter, it's a lot easier to find high quality teas that tend towards the sweet and smooth side of things.

I know that in general, oolongs are often perceived as smoother and mellower than green or black teas, but does anyone have any recommendations of oolongs that have a little bit more of this edge?
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Re: Oolongs with More Bite

Postby bcrav1024 » Jun 14th, '11, 18:29

I'd try a roasted Ti Kuan Yin. Ti Kuan Yins are generally pretty sensitive to steeping, so oversteeping it a bit will leave some astringency for sure.

Some oolongs like Wu Yi and Phoenix Mountain tend to be pretty sensitive and churn out some astringency if steeped beyond their recommended times.

As far as Adagio goes, if you'd want to save some cash I'd go fo Formosa #8. It's cheap, and it has a pretty woodsy, toasty taste with some astringency.
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Re: Oolongs with More Bite

Postby Tead Off » Jun 14th, '11, 23:45

AlexZorach wrote:I often like my tea to have a bit of an edge to it, some astringency and bitterness, especially in the summer for some reason. I've found that often, especially in the U.S. where the palate seems to tend towards sweet and away from bitter, it's a lot easier to find high quality teas that tend towards the sweet and smooth side of things.

I know that in general, oolongs are often perceived as smoother and mellower than green or black teas, but does anyone have any recommendations of oolongs that have a little bit more of this edge?


The best examples that come to mind are Dancong teas. Right on the edge of the flavor rests a bitterness that seems part of the flavor profile. When brewed well, there is a great balance.
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Re: Oolongs with More Bite

Postby debunix » Jun 15th, '11, 00:03

Dan Congs would be tops on my list for this particular quality--the bitterness along with the other lovely flavors. The higher quality darker roast oolongs I've had from Wuyi, Anxi and Taiwan generally don't have the same degree of bitter edge, although most of them can be provoked to it by very high leaf to water ratios, hottest water, and long steeps.
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Re: Oolongs with More Bite

Postby NOESIS » Jun 15th, '11, 00:33

I agree with the concensus: dancongs. Especially the young teas from Winter harvests can have a pleasant bitter edge.
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Re: Oolongs with More Bite

Postby David R. » Jun 15th, '11, 05:58

+1
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Re: Oolongs with More Bite

Postby tortoise » Jun 15th, '11, 10:19

With international shipping, no one is limited to teas found in the USA. Even so, you can get great oolong from US vendors.

The Mandarin's Tea Room, the Tea Gallery, Hou De, all quickly jump to mind for the tea you are interested in. There are others too.
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Re: Oolongs with More Bite

Postby ABx » Jul 4th, '11, 18:33

Your best bet would be to find a vendor that specializes in the kind of tea that you're looking for, and then email them and ask :)

They usually know their inventory pretty well, and they are generally more than willing to talk and provide recommendations.

DC does come to mind as a good starting point, but it still depends. I tend to think of DC as a spring and fall tea, but it depends on the tea and your personal preference. DC can also be harder to brew, if you're not used to it.

Of course there is also the more commercial grade, machine harvested teas that will provide more astringency and such that you describe :) (Commercial grade Taiwanese wulong comes to mind. I like a decent machine harvested Siji brewed and iced.)
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Re: Oolongs with More Bite

Postby Wh&yel-appr... » Jul 19th, '11, 20:00

I would agree with all posts so far. But simple ways to get to more astringency & bitterness is brewing tech. Try boiling water, extended brewing times, pre-heated vessels & serving cups.

Next best way is to do the unconventional and make it like cheap tea bags where they only have the 'fines', that gets you maximum extraction of everything inside a tea leaf. Break up your leaves, grind them to a fine powder and you'll get, most likely a too bitter brew and coffee like caffeine rush :(.

Last trick is to use a very high leaf to water ratio for a extra strong brew. I made the mistake of filling up 1/2 way a 2 cup ceramic tea pot with inexpensive Baozhong/pouchong @$21/lb...greener style oolong. Then proceeded to become distracted and left the tea to brew for several minutes. Most ungodly strong/bitter brew evah! Had to dilute it with water in 1/2 and it was still the strongest tea I've ever had.

Strangely enough, I got the same style pouchong from Valley Coffee & Tea, spring harvest 2011 that costs $82/lb, so mid-grade, and that one is *much* less bitter, even when over-steeping. I know the owner of the store, since she drinks coffee, likes to take the most broken pieces of leaf from the bottom of the $21 bin, and brew up a stronger cup from that.

Both of those teas, even when over-steeped with a larger quantity of tea leaves to water, still come out only as a medium yellow/amber color, and always paler yellow when brewed with less tea leaf, thought they do seem to have a good amount of slight astringency from the seemingly higher caffeine content?

While I could not say from experience, it would seem neither of the above teas are heavily roasted, more likely only lightly roasted. That kind of greener style oolong though, if I drink more than 3-4 cups, tends to give me a little upset stomach that other oolongs do not.

You can go for the heavily roasted DC or Wuyi rock teas, but that flavor is stronger from the roasting, not necessarily from the tea, imho. A different kind of stronger flavor---the color of the tea is always medium-dark reddish amber. I think I like both styles, many styles
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