javi_sanchez wrote:I quite like this oolong. I've had a few oolongs that are wonderfully creamy and subtly sweet. This particular oolong has a lingering sweetness that I like. Where does this come from? Is it when the younger leaves are used since they have more sugars in them?
I like roast. Many tea merchants don't list the levels of oxidation and roast in their tea. Is there any other well to tell this? Is it the name that gives me a hint (ie dong ding tends to be around 30% roast right?)?
With oxidation, you can maybe be that specific, but I don't think there's any way to precisely quantify a level of roast. There are different types of roasting - different heat sources, heat levels, different durations, whether, and how long the tea is rested between successive roasts, etc. All of these things affect the final result.
Even using terms like "high fire", "sufficient fire", "murder death roast", or "low fire" are pretty imprecise. We may all have an idea of what these mean to us, but I haven't found a lot of agreement about what most of these terms mean.
Absent being able to examine the dry and wet leaves and drink the tea in person, pictures of the dry and wet leaves, and the brewed tea broth are very useful in terms of assessing how a tea is made. But when specifying in words, rather than "60% roasted", I prefer the way Jing Teashop specifies it, e.g., "10 hours over hardwood charcoal".
That said, from what little I understand, many roasters use their senses ("when it smells good"), more than a fixed "recipe".
I think sweetness can come from multiple sources -- from roasting and from oxidation, as well as from the tea base itself. So the result is a combination of these factors. I have had teas with a apparently (comparatively) low level of roasting which have quite a bit of sweetness. I have also had teas with a moderate or heavy roast which are unpleasant and not at all sweet, even after plenty of time to rest.
With some teas, the smell under a gaiwan lid will smell very much like the smell of sticking your head over roasting tea, which is to say, very, very good.