A question about Wuyi oolong


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

A question about Wuyi oolong

Postby Zubo » Apr 30th, '13, 13:18

Well, I am a total oolong noob :mrgreen: . I have no experience with any oolongs except TGY, so I decided to try some yancha samples from EoT. But there is one thing bugging me with their tea... tea from 2011. or older is more expensive than it's 2012. counterparts. I know there are intentionally aged oolongs, but I thought those teas are not less than 10 years old. How come these oolongs don't get stale?
Thank you! :D
User avatar
Zubo
 
Posts: 24
Joined: Mar 14th, '

Re: A question about Wuyi oolong

Postby AdamMY » Apr 30th, '13, 13:24

The heavier roasted oolongs often need to sit for some time ( people usually say a year or two) to let the roast "settle." When you have one of these too young it can really just taste like you are drinking tea made from ashes... somewhat tasty ashes but still ashes. If you let the roast settle and deminish the harsh ash taste goes away and you are left with all sorts of good tea flavors remaining.
User avatar
AdamMY
 
Posts: 2359
Joined: Jul 22nd, '
Location: Capital of the Mitten

Re: A question about Wuyi oolong

Postby theredbaron » May 1st, '13, 02:25

Also mid-fired Wu Yi teas get better with age, as long as the base leaves are of high quality. Often high fire is used to obfuscate low quality leaves (but not always!), which will not result in a good aged Wu Yi tea.
High quality aged Wu Yi tea is a dream.
theredbaron
 
Posts: 463
Joined: Aug 1st, '1
Location: Bangkok

Re: A question about Wuyi oolong

Postby Zubo » May 1st, '13, 04:08

Thank you for responses!

Are those teas aged in some special conditions, or is it enough for them to just sit?
User avatar
Zubo
 
Posts: 24
Joined: Mar 14th, '

Re: A question about Wuyi oolong

Postby theredbaron » May 1st, '13, 06:18

Zubo wrote:Thank you for responses!

Are those teas aged in some special conditions, or is it enough for them to just sit?



Just sitting is usually enough. But different than raw Pu Erh, less humidity and no airflow is better.
theredbaron
 
Posts: 463
Joined: Aug 1st, '1
Location: Bangkok

Re: A question about Wuyi oolong

Postby Teaism » May 1st, '13, 12:18

Zubo wrote:Thank you for responses!

Are those teas aged in some special conditions, or is it enough for them to just sit?


Make sure they are in air tight container or sealed bag for long term storage. You can also vacuum pack them in mylar bag in smaller quantity.

Cheers!
User avatar
Teaism
 
Posts: 652
Joined: Jan 5th, '1

Re: A question about Wuyi oolong

Postby ABx » May 6th, '13, 13:58

AdamMY wrote:The heavier roasted oolongs often need to sit for some time ( people usually say a year or two) to let the roast "settle." When you have one of these too young it can really just taste like you are drinking tea made from ashes... somewhat tasty ashes but still ashes. If you let the roast settle and deminish the harsh ash taste goes away and you are left with all sorts of good tea flavors remaining.

I'd hope that it doesn't taste burnt; that would take several years to settle out, if it does at all.

OP:
In the first year or two the tea will taste/smell mostly of roast, which can be nice but lacking in depth or complexity. After it settles, though, it will reveal the underlying aroma, and hopefully the roast will fill out the aroma to make it fuller, rounder, and more complex; sometimes even giving it a nice caramely base, if you're lucky :)

A tea with any significant level of roast (even green wulong is roasted, but not to any significant degree) will also change dramatically over the course of the first year. At a few months it will even "fan qing" ("return to green") for a short while, during which it can be unpleasant. Many vendors don't sell roasted teas until at least that has passed; some hold on to them for a full year.

So whenever possible, it's best to get yancha (or any mid- to high-fire tea) that's at least a year old; I often don't drink high-fire until two years, if I can help myself.

One caveat, though, is that if the tea has any high-notes (very light, fragrant, flowery aroma) then that can start to dissipate after a couple of years (more or less, depending on the level of roast). However, after a couple years they'll often start to develop deeper characteristics (fruity, earthy, etc), and may continue to do so as it ages. It's mostly low-mid roast teas and lighter that go stale, although if stored properly, and they don't have too much moisture to begin with, they can continue on to start aging after a while.

theredbaron wrote:Often high fire is used to obfuscate low quality leaves (but not always!).

This has become something of a truism around here, but bad tea is bad tea and roasting doesn't change that. In a comparison between a good roasted tea and a poor roasted tea, there's no contest -- especially after the roast settles (on the good tea, anyway; it may never really settle on the poor one).

Roasting can give 'definition' to the aroma, but if the aroma isn't there in the first place then roasting will just make for a very generic 'roasted' aroma. Roast can add a little something in some cases, but it will still be a weak, thin, unsatisfying tea. Good roasted tea is excellent; I much prefer it to green, unroasted wulong.

I think that rather than touting roasted teas as likely to be inferior, it's more productive to talk about recognizing quality tea; cynical remarks can be (and are) said about any/every type of tea. The majority of ALL tea is relatively poor quality, and I don't think the ratio is really any higher with roasted tea. I've also encountered grocery store roasted TGY that wasn't any good when brewed in a small pot, but turned out quite good when brewed big-pot; of course that's how mass-market tea is meant to be brewed.

teaism wrote:Make sure they are in air tight container or sealed bag for long term storage. You can also vacuum pack them in mylar bag in smaller quantity.

You want an airtight container, but the roast won't really settle without some air. Yancha will settle out (and age) faster in a tin than a bag, but vacuum sealing a tea will keep it in its current state for a good while. I've had greener teas that were vacuum packed 10-15 yrs prior that didn't seem more than a couple years, or so, old.
User avatar
ABx
 
Posts: 1052
Joined: Jul 7th, '0
Location: Portland, OR

Re: A question about Wuyi oolong

Postby theredbaron » May 11th, '13, 08:43

ABx wrote:
AdamMY wrote:
theredbaron wrote:Often high fire is used to obfuscate low quality leaves (but not always!).

This has become something of a truism around here, but bad tea is bad tea and roasting doesn't change that. In a comparison between a good roasted tea and a poor roasted tea, there's no contest -- especially after the roast settles (on the good tea, anyway; it may never really settle on the poor one).



Nevertheless - high roast is still used to obfuscate low quality leaves. Especially here in Bangkok, where Thai-Chinese prefer high roasted Wu Yi, much of the cheaper lower quality teas are high roast. I have found similarly high roasted low quality leaves from western and internet based sellers.
But as i said - not all high roasted Wu Yi tea is bad.

In high roasted teas it can take several years though until the roast settles.
theredbaron
 
Posts: 463
Joined: Aug 1st, '1
Location: Bangkok

Re: A question about Wuyi oolong

Postby edkrueger » May 11th, '13, 10:11

I've heard that lower quality leaves can't take as much roasting. For example, in Marshal's TGY tasting I believe that he mentioned that, for the "X" sample, the roaster said that one couldn't take anymore.

Also, I'm not sure about wuyi, but I think a lot of the roasting happens on stale tea, not necessarily bad tea.
User avatar
edkrueger
 
Posts: 1693
Joined: Jun 24th, '

Re: A question about Wuyi oolong

Postby theredbaron » May 12th, '13, 00:06

edkrueger wrote:I've heard that lower quality leaves can't take as much roasting. For example, in Marshal's TGY tasting I believe that he mentioned that, for the "X" sample, the roaster said that one couldn't take anymore.

Also, I'm not sure about wuyi, but I think a lot of the roasting happens on stale tea, not necessarily bad tea.



There are many different quality Wu Yi teas, the cheapest were grown from cultivars outside the mountains in large gardens in the plains (and are not considered real Wu Yi teas). Real Wu Yi teas have to be grown within the scenic area, the best ones are from special small (often tiny) gardens, are hand picked and hand processed all the way (and very expensive up to simply unobtainable for any amount of money).
Many of the best gardens yield only tiny amounts per harvest, sometimes only a few kilos a year.
If you ever travel to the Wu Yi mountains, you can see that many of the tea gardens are small patches of land along the steep cliffs, sometimes only a few square meters. This is quite different from other tea growing areas.

There are many theories about traditional processing of Wu Yi teas. People i know who have deeply researched Wu Yi teas state that in old times Wu Yi teas were less roasted than many of today's Wu Yi teas (but still not "low roast" as many of the greener semi fermented teas), and that much of the high roast that many Wu Yi teas are treated with today were market driven. I do tend to believe them because the teas they have worked with were the best Wu Yi teas i have ever drunk. Many people though who were too used to high fired tea did not appreciate their teas.

As to TGY - this particular tea has changed quite considerably in recent times. Old style TGY was not tightly rolled as today's TGY, was higher oxidized, and not as "green" as modern TGY. You can't really compare modern TGY with traditional TGY. I still have a few pot fills left of traditional TGY which i have kept for the last 20 years or so, and this has only a very distant resemblance to modern TGY.
theredbaron
 
Posts: 463
Joined: Aug 1st, '1
Location: Bangkok

Re: A question about Wuyi oolong

Postby chrl42 » Aug 7th, '13, 05:57

It's all matter of personal preference, I personally like 3 year-sitted Wuyi the most. And the older the expensive also depends on sellers' personal ideas..

From what I know, there's no rule of being like that except Puerh..many vintage Oolong or White (it's been popular selling old White in China) are actually unsold leftovers of previous seasons..(just like Puerh in 50's)

What I just wanna just say is price and value changes every year so you need to set up your own criteria that's not swayed by crazy Chinese market :)
User avatar
chrl42
 
Posts: 1518
Joined: Mar 22nd, '
Location: Beijing

Re: A question about Wuyi oolong

Postby theredbaron » Aug 8th, '13, 09:00

chrl42 wrote:It's all matter of personal preference, I personally like 3 year-sitted Wuyi the most. And the older the expensive also depends on sellers' personal ideas..




It really depends.
Low quality old Wu Yi stays low quality regardless of age (i bought several such, falling for promo tricks).
Top quality old Wu Yi is a dream, and more or less unobtainable as it is very very rare.
theredbaron
 
Posts: 463
Joined: Aug 1st, '1
Location: Bangkok

Re: A question about Wuyi oolong

Postby Teaism » Aug 8th, '13, 09:18

theredbaron wrote:
chrl42 wrote:It's all matter of personal preference, I personally like 3 year-sitted Wuyi the most. And the older the expensive also depends on sellers' personal ideas..




It really depends.
Low quality old Wu Yi stays low quality regardless of age (i bought several such, falling for promo tricks).
Top quality old Wu Yi is a dream, and more or less unobtainable as it is very very rare.


Well said theredbaron. Nowadays a good Wuyi is as rare as the dinasour. Luckily we have some old "fossil" tea to get by.
Of all, I really miss Bai Chi Guan the most. Couldn't find the real one for so many years after finishing my last dust. Sigh!
User avatar
Teaism
 
Posts: 652
Joined: Jan 5th, '1

Re: A question about Wuyi oolong

Postby theredbaron » Aug 8th, '13, 11:07

Teaism wrote:
theredbaron wrote:
chrl42 wrote:It's all matter of personal preference, I personally like 3 year-sitted Wuyi the most. And the older the expensive also depends on sellers' personal ideas..




It really depends.
Low quality old Wu Yi stays low quality regardless of age (i bought several such, falling for promo tricks).
Top quality old Wu Yi is a dream, and more or less unobtainable as it is very very rare.


Well said theredbaron. Nowadays a good Wuyi is as rare as the dinasour. Luckily we have some old "fossil" tea to get by.
Of all, I really miss Bai Chi Guan the most. Couldn't find the real one for so many years after finishing my last dust. Sigh!


I have some very nice Wu Yi left, a few hundred grams altogether, and a very tiny amount of some excellent quite old Wu Yi tea, maybe enough for 3 or 4 pots, which i have saved for years for some special day.
Fortunately the Shui Shien Houde sold developed quite nice (not so impressed with their Ro Gui or Da Hong Pao), which helps me to save my really good Wu Yi teas.
I really love good Shui Shien. My favorite tea in my stock is a Ti Lo Han (handpicked, handprocessed, all the way, which cost me an arm and a leg), of which i have maybe still 50 grams or so left.

My favorite teas of all teas are top quality Wu Yi teas.
theredbaron
 
Posts: 463
Joined: Aug 1st, '1
Location: Bangkok

Re: A question about Wuyi oolong

Postby shah82 » Aug 8th, '13, 23:12

When I was surprised by my '07 Yiwu becoming darker and deeper, what I compared it to was the satisfaction of drinking good wuyi.

Count me the bleep in, brotha!
shah82
 
Posts: 1135
Joined: May 9th, '0

Next

Instant Messenger

Permissions
You cannot post new topics
You cannot reply to topics
You cannot edit your posts
You cannot delete your posts
You cannot post attachments
Navigation