First taste of Wuyi


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First taste of Wuyi

Postby Ursinos » Dec 29th, '13, 18:35

Going through the sample teas I got yesterday, I decided to try the "wuyi mountain oolong".

I'm not really sure I like it, but maybe I'm messing up on the brewing. I brewed it up eastern style (like I've been doing with most of my teas lately), and it's a much heavier taste than i've gotten used to with oolongs so far.

the liquor is a very dark brown (for only 30seconds steep), and the aroma is very woodsy. My wife thinks it smells vaguely of chocolate, but I'm getting more of an almost tobacco note from it, like walking into the big humidor room full of cigars at the local tobacco shop. The taste is very heavy as I said, putting me in mind of holding an unlit cigar in my mouth, but with a kind of tree bark flavor as well.

Is this normal? the tea guides I have at the moment don't talk much about wu yi oolongs.
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Re: First taste of Wuyi

Postby miig » Dec 29th, '13, 21:53

Hello Ursinos,

i'd say that this is perfectly normal. Wuyi Oolongs are darker that most other Oolongs, much closer to Black Tea than e.g. a green Tie Guan Yin. This is because they are fermented to a lager degree and then strongly roasted. So the coffee, chocolate and tobacco notes are typical.There are very dark Tie Guan Yins also, but they've gotten rare due to the dominance of the modern light ones.

I'd suggest shorter infusion times: I often infuse my Wuyi Oolongs only for a couple of seconds and still get quite a strong infusion (I use about 5g of leaves in a 130ml teapot). Also these teas can be infused many, many times if the quality is decent. What I like especially is that after the first 5 or so infusions the liquor gets lighter, clearer and more mineral-like; its really gaining a new quality which is sometimes better than the overly intense first infusions.

So please keep trying and post how your experiments turned out! I'm looking forward to it.
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Re: First taste of Wuyi

Postby jayinhk » Dec 30th, '13, 00:12

I agree with MIIG as to ratio and brewing length, although I actually much prefer the first few infusions for their intensity and complexity. :)
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Re: First taste of Wuyi

Postby Ursinos » Dec 30th, '13, 00:32

Thanks miig, it's nice to know it's not just that I got a bad sample of tea. After posting my original entry, I went back and did a second steep, cutting the time down to 15 seconds and, while it was still a much earthier flavor than I've gotten to enjoy from the TGYs, it was a lot more mellow. I could see this being a tea to really wake a person up in the morning, or go really well with a strongly flavored meal (like steak or something).

I'll take your advice and try the next infusion at 5 seconds or so and see if that mellows it out even more.

Hehe. I've begun keeping a "tea journal" (my mom gave me a nice notebook for xmas that was just screamed to be used in this fashion), so I'm keeping notes about steep times and changes in flavor for the different teas I've been sampling.
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Re: First taste of Wuyi

Postby Ursinos » Dec 30th, '13, 00:35

jayinhk wrote:I agree with MIIG as to ratio and brewing length, although I actually much prefer the first few infusions for their intensity and complexity. :)



Thanks Jayinhk,

I was kind of surprised at how much that initial infusion was so off-putting. Considering how much I enjoy lapsang souchong, (which is such a strong flavor), the fact that this one overpowered my palate shocked me. Doesn't help that most of the tea shops around here only give the instructions for western style brewing, with steep times at 3-5 minutes.
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Re: First taste of Wuyi

Postby Ursinos » Dec 30th, '13, 00:53

oh wow! what a difference!

5 second steep time, and the mostly gone. I'm getting less of the tobacco not, and more of a raw, or bittersweet/baker's chocolate taste/aroma. much more pleasant to drink.

if it keeps mellowing out with further infusions, I just might have to explore more wu yi oolongs. Goes to show first impressions can't always be trusted :)
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Re: First taste of Wuyi

Postby debunix » Dec 30th, '13, 00:56

It is a startling thing, to see how different it can be, and even more fun to keep tasting as the flavors unfold infusion after infusion.
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Re: First taste of Wuyi

Postby MIKE_B » Dec 30th, '13, 01:06

I wouldn't judge Wuyi oolong from just one sample. Good authentic rock tea is hard to find and is usually pretty pricey.
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Re: First taste of Wuyi

Postby Ursinos » Dec 30th, '13, 01:15

MIKE_B wrote:I wouldn't judge Wuyi oolong from just one sample. Good authentic rock tea is hard to find and is usually pretty pricey.


considering the only tea stores in town don't really list a lot of details in regards to their teas, yeah, I wouldn't judge it from one sample. I might put off buying any more of that kind of tea for a while though, and only buy from a higher level source the next time.

I'm looking forward to when I finally get working again and can afford to send off for some samples of some higher end teas. I'm curious as to how higher end wu yi would compare to this.
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Re: First taste of Wuyi

Postby Ursinos » Dec 30th, '13, 01:16

debunix wrote:It is a startling thing, to see how different it can be, and even more fun to keep tasting as the flavors unfold infusion after infusion.


*nods* hence why I'm keeping the tea journal. For cases like this where altering steep times drastically alters the flavor, I can look back and get a better idea where to start from when I experiment with another tea of that type :D
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Re: First taste of Wuyi

Postby jayinhk » Dec 30th, '13, 01:37

Are you rinsing/prewarming your tea?
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Re: First taste of Wuyi

Postby Ursinos » Dec 30th, '13, 01:46

jayinhk wrote:Are you rinsing/prewarming your tea?



Yes. I've been doing a quick "in and out" steep (I guess it's called a flash rinse?) before the first infusion that I drink.

now, I don't always do all possible steeps for the leaves in one sitting (though the leaves don't usually last out a day). am I detracting from the later infusions by doing this? should I "rewarm" the leaves if they've been sitting for a while? I'm still learning about this style of brewing, and I won't usually drink that much tea in one sitting. (tends to mess with my sleep, even if a tea session is early in the morning)

I DO warm the pot before each infusion though, by pouring the hot water over the outside of it.
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Re: First taste of Wuyi

Postby jayinhk » Dec 30th, '13, 06:06

No, I wouldn't rewarm with a flash rinse if you've left the leaves in the pot for a while. How large is your pot?
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Re: First taste of Wuyi

Postby Ursinos » Dec 30th, '13, 12:23

jayinhk wrote:No, I wouldn't rewarm with a flash rinse if you've left the leaves in the pot for a while. How large is your pot?


its a little glass gung fu pot from davids tea. website says 198ml
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Re: First taste of Wuyi

Postby Noonie » Dec 30th, '13, 16:06

Ursinos wrote:its a little glass gung fu pot from davids tea. website says 198ml


I see you're in southern ontario...are you in Toronto? If so, try Tao Tea Leaf, they have good tea and pretty good Wuyi (a step up from David's, and some times cheaper). Tao is more authentic, David's less so.

For tea ware, try tap phong in chinatown.

Enjoy the journey and great idea with the notebook!
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