Aged Oolong - What how when why


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Aged Oolong - What how when why

Postby Herb_Master » Jan 4th, '12, 07:55

What do you look for in aged Oolong ?

Not just a high fired yan cha that is undrinkable until the roast subsides.

But intentionally aged Oolong
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Re: Aged Oolong - What how when why

Postby Herb_Master » Jan 4th, '12, 11:35

Last January, I was in The Chinaman's 'Da Hong Pao' shop off Jalan Sultan buying Da Hong Pao and other Yan Cha. When I enquired about some brown packets, I was informed it was aged Oolong from 1992, it was a very reasonable price, I bought a packet.

4 Hours later after drinking about a dozen Sheng Puerh in my 'home' tea shop, I asked the owner (ah Ming) if he would brew some of the aged Oolong for those of us at the special table. It was smooth and warming and after a long hot day, and drinking a lot of Sheng it seemed a steal. The following day I went back to the Chinaman's shop and purchased 4 more.

Back at Ah Ming's he informed me that he had something possibly even better which he could let me have for a similar price - this was a few years older and had been agd in Singapore since 1990 - I purchased some of these also, and Scott ( a regular friend and customer of Ah Mings) snapped up 8 packets for himself.

The following visit Ah Ming mentioned he had a tin which might interest me, but only had 1 left - I persuaded Scott that he should let me have it :roll:

Back home brewing the Chinaman's I find it smooth, mellow, homogenous and satisfying BUT a little bland - it does not as hercule poirot would say "excite the little grey cells". It varies very little from 1st Infusion to last, and I rarely find myself reaching for it.

I opened the tin that I had purchased from Ah Ming and this has a completely different profile - with a sharp medicinal flavour that I am not altogether fond of until in the later infusions it has thinned out and a weak delicate mineral flavour emerges.

On both teas I have partially satisfied my curiosity, but give me high quality Yan Cha any day.

Tim's note on re roasting aged Oolong (in the What Oolong Are You Drinking Now thread) robbing it of it's 'aged' qualities - did stimulate my little grey cells.

Which of the 2 flavour profiles I have observed would most definitely suffer from re-roasting :?: the medicinal one :wink:

If I finally give up on them in their present form, might a little re-roasting help one or the other :?:
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Re: Aged Oolong - What how when why

Postby Tead Off » Jan 4th, '12, 13:27

All the best tasting older SX's I've had have been re-roasted. All the Chinese old timers here re-roast the teas as needed. Carefully. Some do it better than others.

What are the aged qualities Tim refers to as 'being robbed' with re-roasting? Maybe he can answer this with specific qualities that go missing.
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Re: Aged Oolong - What how when why

Postby tingjunkie » Jan 4th, '12, 13:45

I'll let Tim speak for himself, but in my opinion, reroasting aged oolongs covers up or takes away the damp storage flavors similar to those found in non dry stored aged puerh. To me, one method is not superior to the other, only different.

Red Blossom has a decent (not outstanding) 1982 Baozhong which was not reroasted, and possesses some of the damp aged puerh qualities. I find oolongs like this are very calm and subtle, and force you to really focus and pay attention to get their full effect. Lot's of notes of dried plum and old book store. I've also had 20 year old Dong Ding from one of Taiwan's masters which had been carefully reroasted every 2-3 years. The flavors were big, bold and yet with balance and refinement not found in new tea. It's one of the best teas I've ever had. Of course, Tim's 60's Shui Xian is right up there too! I think that's just a case where the tea was so nice and well roasted to begin with that it has retained it's power while still displaying its old age. That tea is like Morehei Ueshiba (founder of Akido) who could still kick ass and throw down well into his 80's! :lol:
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Re: Aged Oolong - What how when why

Postby AdamMY » Jan 4th, '12, 13:53

Tead Off wrote:What are the aged qualities Tim refers to as 'being robbed' with re-roasting? Maybe he can answer this with specific qualities that go missing.


Hopefully Tim chimes in, but being the one who was trying the tea that in part prompted this post, I will say that when drinking The Mandarin's Tea Room's 1960's Shui Xian, the dry leaf smelled almost like an Aged Sheng, and the flavor profile while it wasn't like any Aged Sheng I have ever had, it certainly was a cross between an earthy, and camphore aged sheng, and the mineral profile of a yancha.

While I do believe it is possible to reroast a tea with a great amount of skill, I can not help but feel with this tea, reroasting it would have removed the earthy sheng like qualities, and added a slight harshness.

I believe roasting needs to be done occasionally when the teas get exposed to moisture, but if the tea is carefully stored I do not think it would need to be reroasted often ( if at all). From talking with people that have consumed far more Aged oolong than I have, it seems if a tea gets exposed to too much moisture while it ages, it can develop sour notes. While a slight amount can add a nice plum character to the brew, too much and its just bad tea. I will say that Tim's tea had next to no sour note.
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Re: Aged Oolong - What how when why

Postby Wh&yel-appr... » Jan 4th, '12, 13:59

tingjunkie wrote:I'll let Tim speak for himself, but in my opinion, reroasting aged oolongs covers up or takes away the damp storage flavors similar to those found in non dry stored aged puerh. To me, one method is not superior to the other, only different.

Red Blossom has a decent (not outstanding) 1982 Baozhong which was not reroasted, and possesses some of the damp aged puerh qualities. I find oolongs like this are very calm and subtle, and force you to really focus and pay attention to get their full effect. Lot's of notes of dried plum and old book store. I've also had 20 year old Dong Ding from one of Taiwan's masters which had been carefully reroasted every 2-3 years. The flavors were big, bold and yet with balance and refinement not found in new tea. It's one of the best teas I've ever had. Of course, Tim's 60's Shui Xian is right up there too! I think that's just a case where the tea was so nice and well roasted to begin with that it has retained it's power while still displaying its old age. That tea is like Morehei Ueshiba (founder of Akido) who could still kick ass and throw down well into his 80's! :lol:


Acutally, Tim/toki doesn't know for sure...so, I'll go with the 50s/60s SX as being re-roasted by an experienced hand, at some point :D
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Re: Aged Oolong - What how when why

Postby Wh&yel-appr... » Jan 4th, '12, 14:09

"little grey cells"? HM is showing his age :p, only those over 30-40 even remember the BBC series that made that phrase a common one.

http://www.redblossomtea.com/tea/oolong ... -1982.html

The end result of this tea's natural, undisturbed aging is a tea rich with the aroma of plums, and a finish that amazingly enough has the same sweet finish as high quality fresh Wenshan Baozhong.


I've had both of Imen's '78 DC's (as well as some of her '90's aged DCs...i"m sure Will has had many too, and he'll be along to add his comments), they have quite a bit of the 'earthy' aged 'dusty/dirt' taste to them, though different in complexity. Both showed roasted aromas...could have been heavily roasted orig...or had a bit of 'touch up make-up' applied to help hide it's age :). Imen has some very old DC's upwards of 100yrs old, from her teamaster's private stash, iirc.

http://www.teatrekker.com/tea_info/new_ ... ed_tea.htm

^found these comments interesting as a general guide.

http://thatmoniker.blogspot.com/2011/06 ... -teas.html

^'80's from cloudwalker

http://teadrunk.org/viewtopic.php?id=168


http://teadrunk.org/topic/34/puerhlike-aged-oolong/

3 william 2008-11-25 07:33:29

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Very interesting that someone (who as far as I know is not ABx's sock puppet) posted almost exactly the same question, phrased in a similar way today.

viewtopic.php?t=7151

I PMed him with a pointer to this thread.
^always the cynic :p

Marshal's old blog:
http://marshaln.xanga.com/632095299/eva ... ed-oolong/

and then his new blog 'tags'

http://www.marshaln.com/tag/aged-oolong/

^re: the one that got away entry>>> neither of Imen's '78's are that dark---though lighting and camera doing the image capture have a large effect on that), and funny enough, i don't recall her reply, but when we were drinking the '78 a 2nd time (1st time I had it on a full 6hrs of non-stop tea drinking at her bar in her old store, when she steeped the '78 more than a dozen times and it *always* had that orange/red hue somewhat like a younger wuyi) the infusions were coming out medium amber, no orange/red/crimson nothing but yellow! Bizzzzzare (almost sure all were short infusions of <30sec), seemed to have less earthiness to them when they were that color. *confused*
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Re: Aged Oolong - What how when why

Postby TIM » Jan 4th, '12, 14:24

wh&yel-apprentice wrote:Acutally, Tim/toki doesn't know for sure...so, I'll go with the 50s/60s SX as being re-roasted by an experienced hand, at some point :D


I am feeling quite offended.... Really K&Y. Why would you gave such a comment? :roll:
Last edited by TIM on Jan 4th, '12, 23:56, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Aged Oolong - What how when why

Postby wyardley » Jan 4th, '12, 15:58

You can tell a lot about the storage and processing of an aged oolong from the taste. But there are a lot of variables, so, unless the history comes straight from the person who made the tea, it's always hard to know for sure.

Really, a lot of this comes down to personal preference. While I think it's possible to do a very light refresher roast that won't change the taste in drastic ways, I am mostly a fan of less intervention, even if it results in some sour or earthy flavors.
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Re: Aged Oolong - What how when why

Postby TIM » Jan 4th, '12, 16:48

If the roasting is done right at the first time, and the idea/reason is to create a Yancha oolong to be aged PROPERLY. Why would anyone need to re-roast it again later? So to cover up the bad storage condition? or to mix up all the left over stocks for a 'murder-roast'?

Not a fan of re-roasting... too many good tea out there which are more meaningful, focus and with purpose, just too short of a tea life to be wasted. ~ T
Last edited by TIM on Jan 7th, '12, 18:14, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Aged Oolong - What how when why

Postby Herb_Master » Jan 4th, '12, 19:41

Well, I tried the one from the tin again tonight

Image

I have no idea what it is, just that Ah Ming thought it would interest me, when we were discussing aged Oolong.

Image

I don't know what any of the packaging or labels can reveal

Image
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Re: Aged Oolong - What how when why

Postby Herb_Master » Jan 4th, '12, 19:51

Tonight it was much more enjoyable than on the first 2 sessions.

Image

Could opening the tin a few times, have allowed it to breathe and relax?

Image

6.3gm in 100ml Zhuni

Image

Was I in a more receptyive mood, or did I happily hit a more amenable set of brewing conditions.

1st (10s) and 2nd (12s) Infusions, none of the unpleasant medicinal flavour, but a little bland, and fairly weak.

3rd (15s) and 4th (18s) better strength and a touch of background liquorice or menthol.

5th (25s) and 6th (35s) more power and a complexity of spicy flavours mixed with graphite and minerals that were quite appealing and lingered on the tip of the tongue for many minutes.
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