When puerh people go oolong...


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

When puerh people go oolong...

Postby futurebird » Mar 16th, '13, 15:08

I have been quietly trying to learn about oolong teas. After all I like puerh, so I have the tools and skills for brewing it. So when I order 3-4 types of puerh I'll throw in a oolong now and then to see what's what.

But my first tries did not go well. I tried a vacuumed packed kind of tea with very bright green curly leaves called "Chinese tea gift" -- it tasted like the water from making collared greens. I mean, what are they thinking with this "gift" ?

Blech. Maybe I don't know how to brew it correctly? (very possible)

Then I thought I should aim for higher quality and got some "Bain Tian Yao, 2008" -- it was ok, not great, but it just made me long for the earthy and musty and greenish bitterness of puerh -- it was just too much like flowers. It was a nice taste, but it overwhelmed me.

But on my 3rd try I, oh boy, got it right I got "2010 handmade Bai Ji Guan" the leaves were much darker, not rolled. The soup was golden yellow and tasted like butter and the crust of a perfect bread if you just touch your tongue to the crust but don't bite it. After drinking many infusions my whole mouth and body was tingling with calmness and butteriness (think pleasantly tea drunken, drifting) for an entire HOUR... how such a thing could be possible from tea, I do not know. Ooolong CAN be good!

So now I know what I like, but I still don't know how to identify it. What are the general categories of types of tea that I should look for to explore more of this last kind of oolong?

Though, maybe I'll just buy as much as I can of "2010 handmade Bai Ji Guan" and stick to what I know works well!
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Re: When puerh people go oolong...

Postby the_economist » Mar 16th, '13, 15:35

Way to early to commit to one type of oolong. Or really to one type of tea. There are some very broad categories you can explore but basically you should keep in mind 1) roast 2) oxidation 3) varietal/region.

Enjoy your exploration.
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Re: When puerh people go oolong...

Postby Joel Byron » Mar 16th, '13, 21:50

I've never tasted collard greens from an oolong. Maybe it was a mislabeled green. Or maybe just bad tea.

I think the tea you like is from the Wuyi region. But, as the economist said, the varietals, oxidation, and roast level play a large part in the taste. But Wuyi teas might be a place to start.

My wife likes Wuyi teas alot, but I prefer oolongs from Anxi. Dan Cong teas can be incredible, but also pricey. Then there are oolongs from Taiwan. There is a lot to explore. It's fun!
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Re: When puerh people go oolong...

Postby TIM » Mar 16th, '13, 22:12

It takes practice and time to brew tea right...
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Re: When puerh people go oolong...

Postby Joel Byron » Mar 16th, '13, 23:01

TIM wrote:It takes practice and time to brew tea right...


The sage speaks little words, but with great meaning :D
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Re: When puerh people go oolong...

Postby theredbaron » Mar 16th, '13, 23:29

futurebird wrote:
So now I know what I like, but I still don't know how to identify it. What are the general categories of types of tea that I should look for to explore more of this last kind of oolong?



Oolong is a bit of a misnomer, as it is only one kind of semi-fermented tea under many others.

But i can understand you completely. What you drank and did not like was one of the more flowery less fermented and less fired semi-fermented tea, such as Oolong, modern Ti Kuan Yin, or one of the Taiwanese semi fermented high mountain teas. There are many different qualities, naturally, and some of them, especially from China, may be somewhat unnaturally enhanced in their flowery taste.

I only like those greener semi-fermented teas on occasion, and in between.
I am also not a great fan of Dancongs.

I do much prefer the more earthy Wu Yi teas, such as the Bai Ji Guan you liked. High quality Wu Yi teas are my first love actually, and i do prefer them over Pu Erh teas. But they can be extremely costly and are very difficult to get.


As to brewing: these tightly rolled greener semi-fermented teas need less tea in the pot. You cover the bottom of the pot, at most one third of the pot, as the leaves expand massively.

For Wu Yi teas there are different ways. The cheaper teas of lesser quality often need more leaves. In the Gong Fu method you do at times almost fill the whole pot with leaves. I found though that the very rare top quality Wu Yi teas need only one third to half of the pot filled for the best result as more tea leaves can suppress the finer nuances of those rare teas.

Wu Yi teas especially can be aged as well with excellent results, but very different than Pu Erh. The first few years Wu Yi teas should be aged to lose the taste from the firing. But later then taste increases in depth. I love, for example, the changes in taste of aged Shui Xien. This though works only well with high quality Wu Yi teas. Only good leaves will age well. Low quality teas will stay low quality.
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Re: When puerh people go oolong...

Postby futurebird » Mar 26th, '13, 12:28

theredbaron wrote:I do much prefer the more earthy Wu Yi teas, such as the Bai Ji Guan you liked. High quality Wu Yi teas are my first love actually, and i do prefer them over Pu Erh teas. But they can be extremely costly and are very difficult to get.


This I am learning.

I got this tea in the mail today:

http://www.teaspring.com/Wu-Yi-Yan-Cha-90s.asp

I hoped it'd be similar to:

http://www.essenceoftea.co.uk/tea/oolon ... olong.html

... but they are very different,


Both are lovely to drink. though bai-ji is more sweet and has more of a thrumming body sensation after taste...

The older tea is much less powerful, though it makes my mouth feel nice for a long time.

As it turned out I found that when I brew the green oolong at a lower temp it's much nicer.
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Re: When puerh people go oolong...

Postby TIM » Mar 26th, '13, 13:17

...
Last edited by TIM on Mar 26th, '13, 16:24, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: When puerh people go oolong...

Postby futurebird » Mar 26th, '13, 15:02

Tim it seems your comments got cut off.
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Re: When puerh people go oolong...

Postby Hannah » Mar 26th, '13, 21:21

theredbaron wrote:I found though that the very rare top quality Wu Yi teas need only one third to half of the pot filled for the best result as more tea leaves can suppress the finer nuances of those rare teas.


I respectfully disagree with this point.

Although there is never a right and wrong way to do things, for me, using less leaf is what suppresses the finer nuances more than anything..?

To me that's watering down quality and then to get the same proper strength you'd need to brew longer which can change the taste again..

This is just me though - we all have different tastes! :)
This is why I love my small yixing pots - small amount of expensive tea and I can still pack the leaves!
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Re: When puerh people go oolong...

Postby wyardley » Mar 26th, '13, 21:24

Hannah wrote:
theredbaron wrote:I found though that the very rare top quality Wu Yi teas need only one third to half of the pot filled for the best result as more tea leaves can suppress the finer nuances of those rare teas.


I respectfully disagree with this point.

Although there is never a right and wrong way to do things, for me, using less leaf is what suppresses the finer nuances more than anything..?

I have to agree with redbaron here. I would guess that you just haven't had a good enough example yet. Some very top quality teas really are "stronger".
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Re: When puerh people go oolong...

Postby jayinhk » Mar 27th, '13, 01:21

I also agree with redbaron; too much of a good high roast SX or well oxidized/roasted TGY, for example, is overpowering to me and doesn't allow me to appreciate the aroma and flavor as much as I would be able to if I only filled my teapot up around 1/3 of the way. I learned this the hard way and wasted some good tea in the process!

I also like my single malt and rum with a splash of water for the same reason.

I also agree with Hannah however. Too little will mess things up just as much. You need to 'know' your tea and the amount of heat and leaf you want to use, how you want to pack your pot and how long you want to let successive brews go for. I definitely drink more TGY and SX than pu erh nowadays!

It definitely sounds like you want to experiment with more oxidized and higher roast oolong and Wuyi. I know what you mean by collard green water and it's not my thing either (most of the time)!
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Re: When puerh people go oolong...

Postby Tead Off » Mar 27th, '13, 02:11

Horses for courses. Gongfu cha is about packing the vessel and flash brewing. Is it better than filling 1/3-1/2 of the vessel and brewing longer? I think there are different answers to this question and many variables.
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Re: When puerh people go oolong...

Postby theredbaron » Mar 27th, '13, 02:21

Tead Off wrote:Horses for courses. Gongfu cha is about packing the vessel and flash brewing. Is it better than filling 1/3-1/2 of the vessel and brewing longer? I think there are different answers to this question and many variables.


It all depends on the leaf. Or, when you drink tightly rolled Ti Kuan Yin or high mountain Oolong, would you completely fill the vessel with dry leaves? Would you completely fill a pot with Pu Erh? You would just get a almost undrinkable bitter soup of unbearable intensity.

Particular methods should not be treated like dogma, but adapted to bring out the best in whatever tea leaves you are using.
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Re: When puerh people go oolong...

Postby Tead Off » Mar 27th, '13, 03:18

theredbaron wrote:
Tead Off wrote:Horses for courses. Gongfu cha is about packing the vessel and flash brewing. Is it better than filling 1/3-1/2 of the vessel and brewing longer? I think there are different answers to this question and many variables.


It all depends on the leaf. Or, when you drink tightly rolled Ti Kuan Yin or high mountain Oolong, would you completely fill the vessel with dry leaves? Would you completely fill a pot with Pu Erh? You would just get a almost undrinkable bitter soup of unbearable intensity.

Particular methods should not be treated like dogma, but adapted to bring out the best in whatever tea leaves you are using.

Personally, I don't pack the vessel with TGY or Gaoshan because then I will struggle with keeping the lid on. Kind of a pain. But the afficianados of Yan cha and even puerh argue that the better the quality, the better gongfu cha becomes. Not bitter and unbearable unless of course one uses a heavy hand. Again, personally I don't do this but there are those who do and seem to enjoy it quite a bit. Dogma would be insisting that everyone do the same thing which is not my intent or what I have suggested. Just saying there are different ways of brewing. Some like it hot, some don't. Packing the pots can be an expensive practice for many.
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