Compressed Wuyi?


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Compressed Wuyi?

Postby bonescwa » Feb 6th, '14, 16:21

Has anyone tried this kind of thing or know other sources for it?

http://www.redblossomtea.com/tea/oolong/shui-xian-cake-2012.html
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Da-Hong-Pao-cha-Top-Wuyi-Yancha-Oolong-Tea-cake-250g-/250815289645
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Re: compressed wuyi?

Postby 茶藝-TeaArt08 » Feb 6th, '14, 17:45

I have not tried the Wuyi compressed cakes. Though I have heard tell of multiple sources beginning to press different tea cakes other than puerh tea. I currently have a compressed Oriental Beauty (東方美人)wulong cake in the tea closet bought from Mt. Tea (http://mountainteagarden.com/oriental-beauty-cake/). However I have yet to sample the tea cake and so can't report on its quality. I just opened a slightly aged (2-3 year old) bag of Oriental Beauty tea yesterday given to me in Taiwan by my guqin teacher. And so won't get to the cake any time soon to report back on it.

Some of my favorite wulongs from this year's past trip to Taiwan were some exquisite aged wulongs that I drank with my teacher and that I bought. I drank a 30 year aged Wenshan Baozhong tea that was exceptional..as well as a very nice 30 year aged Dong Ding Wulong tea that had been crafted in the manner of Tie Guanyin. It was a very interesting and unique tea. I currently have four different aged Taiwan wulongs mellowing in the tea closet. But none of these are pressed into cakes.

Red Blossom's description of the tea makes it sound interesting and tasty! I don't know of anyone actively seeking pressed wulong cakes to age but I do know of quite a few people aging various wulongs, again some of the best teas I personally have drank, but not in a pressed form.

Tony of Origin tea stocks some quality aged wulongs and seems to have an appropriately Taiwanese passion for it. (http://www.origintea.net/oolong/older-oolongs)

My guess is will see more and more pressed cakes for aging of other tea types besides puerh.

Blessings!
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Re: compressed wuyi?

Postby wyardley » Feb 6th, '14, 19:26

I have tried a few. They can be nice, especially when aged. I think it's more often done this way for medicinal reasons, or when scented (for example, with citrus peel). You will sometimes find Wuyi teas which have been packed inside a pomelo skin (I think Gingko experimented with making her own in the past). It looks kind of like this:
http://www.taobao.pe/product/1831945681/

There are probably exceptions, but I don't think you will find that the highest quality teas are used for these teas. Generally, you're looking for something smooth and drinkable, but maybe not overly complex. I like when the tea has gotten a little sour from exposure to more humid storage, but this is obviously a matter of personal preference.

Best Tea House of HK has a "Kit-Kat bar" style compressed shuixian, which I believe is the same one TTG used to sell.
http://www.teanerd.com/2009/01/1997-shu ... llery.html

I believe BTH had some aged oolongs which were scented with chen pi (dried tangerine peel), but I believe that may have been with a different tea.
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Re: Compressed Wuyi?

Postby GreenwoodStudio » Feb 6th, '14, 20:07

I'll be interested to hear if anyone has tried the Red Bloosm cake. It's been in my radar for some time now.
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Re: Compressed Wuyi?

Postby Ambrose » Feb 7th, '14, 10:16

Ive had a few of those cakes both yrs they are offering. The 2011 one has a nice aged depth to it definitely more fermented and roasted than average. However I found it almost a bit too roasted bordering the line of burnt. The 2012 cake is not as fermented or as roasted as the 2011 but more than average. Over all the 2011 had some really nice flavors that I kept coming back to it and it let me push on it. On the negative I found myself using lots of leaf due to the chunks that would come off and the waste of crumbs that were too small to brew. The material itself seemed ok but it seemed a bit youthful to me and this feels like an attempt to try to add depth and soften the youth by the extra fermenting and roasting. Overall it was pretty good and different but at the same time an odd fight of good flavors mixed with off ones. There are better shui xians for the money. YMMV
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Re: Compressed Wuyi?

Postby chrl42 » Feb 7th, '14, 21:28

from what I know, there are usually done for aging purpose.

the making is done slightly different from normals, the rubbing is done weakly...so follows that of Puerh. Better with 5 years or 10 years consumptions.

many claims to be Long Feng Tuan Cha, Song dynasty Wuyi, but Long Feng Tuan Cha was totally different from these bings from making and way of preparation, and they were greens.
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Re: Compressed Wuyi?

Postby Ratbert » Feb 10th, '14, 23:00

I've seen some of these around, but have never tried them. There are two factors that rather bug me when it comes to compressed Wu Yi teas, just off the top of my head:

1) Quality of tea leaves?
We know that a lot of care is taken during the entire process of making Yan Cha, so for them to compress it this way, would they use high quality tea leaves (zheng yan) to do this as it might actually compromise certain characters of the tea? or would the leaves be of lower grade?

2) Open air storage of Wu Yi Tea?
I find that Wu Yi tea usually doesn't do well if not stored correctly, and leaving it exposed usually does it no favors. So does compressing it into a beeng and leaving it to age like sheng puer help? sure u'll get the taste of "old tea" in the future, but will u lose all the other characteristics of the tea? i think the only characteristic that can be retained after open air storage of yancha is it's "mineral/rock taste" which is usually found in high grade leaves. As for fragrance and other notes, most of it will be gone due to open style storage.

But at the end of the day, i wouldn't mind trying and purchasing one or two... hehehe :wink:
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Re: Compressed Wuyi?

Postby Teaism » Feb 10th, '14, 23:11

In the 80s they are very popular. Tea drinkers call it the chocolate bar tea. Normally they break a small piece like how we eat chocolate and throw it into a pot of boiling water. I probably have 30 pieces left from that batch and I sealed them for storage. The taste is exotic like between a aged sheng and aged wuyi at the same time.

Perhaps I will do a small article on it in my blog later.

Cheers!
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Re: Compressed Wuyi?

Postby wyardley » Feb 10th, '14, 23:17

Ratbert wrote:We know that a lot of care is taken during the entire process of making Yan Cha, so for them to compress it this way, would they use high quality tea leaves (zheng yan) to do this as it might actually compromise certain characters of the tea? or would the leaves be of lower grade?


Yes, like I was saying above, I imagine that in most cases, the highest quality leaves are not used for these.

As far as zhengyan / not, that's always iffy when buying yancha, even when it's not compressed. There's a lot of misrepresentation going on, and not always intentionally on the part of the seller.

Ratbert wrote:2) Open air storage of Wu Yi Tea?
I find that Wu Yi tea usually doesn't do well if not stored correctly, and leaving it exposed usually does it no favors. So does compressing it into a beeng and leaving it to age like sheng puer help? sure u'll get the taste of "old tea" in the future, but will u lose all the other characteristics of the tea? i think the only characteristic that can be retained after open air storage of yancha is it's "mineral/rock taste" which is usually found in high grade leaves. As for fragrance and other notes, most of it will be gone due to open style storage.

Well, usually this is done with teas with at least a moderate degree of roast / oxidation, and the compression itself will help somewhat in reducing the degree of oxidation for the inner parts of the compressed shape. In my understanding, when aging it like this, you're often going for a different kind of taste.

I do know of some people who prefer (in fairly dry climates) to age certain oolongs, such as yancha or dancong, in semi-open bags or jars for some portion of their life.

You do lose some fragrance, but personally, I do like the sourness and other characteristics of aged oolongs that are aged with some exposure to air / moisture.
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Re: Compressed Wuyi?

Postby Tead Off » Feb 11th, '14, 03:11

The exposure to air is a very delicate subject. Automatic oxidation takes place at an accelerated rate if not prevented. I'm not sure what purpose this would serve. You would almost certainly lose more than you would gain. Since fermentation does not occur with these compressed Wuyi cakes, I would personally want to keep as much flavor and aroma in the cake as possible and that could only be done by sealing it somehow. Oxidation will still take place over time.

Also, I would venture to say that the roasting needs to be done correctly as this will become part of the aged flavor. This is an area I know nothing about. Some adhere to re-roasting over time. Some do not. I keep reading about how this skill is being lost nowadays. I'm sure it is not just a matter of roasting tea in the iron wok over some kind of charcoal. I would like to read more on this subject. Know of any informative articles on roasting/re-roasting as they pertain to aging, not 'refreshing' teas?
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Re: Compressed Wuyi?

Postby Teaism » Feb 11th, '14, 04:09

Tead Off wrote:The exposure to air is a very delicate subject. Automatic oxidation takes place at an accelerated rate if not prevented. I'm not sure what purpose this would serve. You would almost certainly lose more than you would gain. Since fermentation does not occur with these compressed Wuyi cakes, I would personally want to keep as much flavor and aroma in the cake as possible and that could only be done by sealing it somehow. Oxidation will still take place over time.

Also, I would venture to say that the roasting needs to be done correctly as this will become part of the aged flavor. This is an area I know nothing about. Some adhere to re-roasting over time. Some do not. I keep reading about how this skill is being lost nowadays. I'm sure it is not just a matter of roasting tea in the iron wok over some kind of charcoal. I would like to read more on this subject. Know of any informative articles on roasting/re-roasting as they pertain to aging, not 'refreshing' teas?



Roasting tea (for Yancha) is commonly practised by vendors. Traditionally the vendors use bamboo and mesh tray to roast over charcoal. The process is very slow but if impatiencely done can damage the tea. Nowadays they use heating elements and mesh over and the risk is too high.

The idea of roasting is to "save" the tea from getting sour which can easiliy happen when they are poorly stored and when stored in huge qualtity. Many vendors I know do that, so when we buy aged tea, we have to assess the roasting issue too by tasting the tea.

A good vendor will store the tea carefully in low temperature room say 22C and keep them airtight. Even so, they still do a mild roast before repacking the tea for sale.

Another very important componet of roasting is drying the roasted leaves. It has to be done with utmost care, to allow the leaves to settle without capturung the moisture.

For me I pack all my Yancha in small portion of 50 - 80 gram , totally sealed in Mylar bag. When I want to drink them I just take out a small bag wothout exposing the rest of the tea.
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Re: Compressed Wuyi?

Postby Tead Off » Feb 11th, '14, 06:06

Thanks for post. You would also agree that exposure to air is not in the best interest of the tea?

I understand the principle of roasting but there seems to be a lot of variation as to what materials are used (wood charcoal), how much roasting, and how often. There are both good and bad roasters. Some heavy roasting can be delicious while others are barbaric. :D
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Re: Compressed Wuyi?

Postby Teaism » Feb 11th, '14, 07:00

Tead Off wrote:Thanks for post. You would also agree that exposure to air is not in the best interest of the tea?

I understand the principle of roasting but there seems to be a lot of variation as to what materials are used (wood charcoal), how much roasting, and how often. There are both good and bad roasters. Some heavy roasting can be delicious while others are barbaric. :D


Certainly I would also agree with you that exposure to air is not in the best interest of the tea. :D

The roasting process is normally done every few years for Yancha but raosting too frequently will jeopordised the quality of the tea. Roasting can be done over charcoal. When the charcoal are nicely burned, the ash are place over the charcoal and the bamboo in cylindrical shape with mesh holding the tea will be placed over the radiant heat and roast slowly. They have to be dried slowly under dry condition to avoid absorbing moisture. Heavy roasting with slow fire is different from heavy roasting with high fire. Yes, a lot is up to the skill of the roaster.

Cheers! :D
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Re: Compressed Wuyi?

Postby bonescwa » Feb 11th, '14, 18:31

I've read that if you have some old yancha that you intend to keep, you can just put it in a rice cooker for a cooking cycle and it eliminates the moisture? And doing this every year or so will keep it?
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Re: Compressed Wuyi?

Postby Tead Off » Feb 11th, '14, 22:21

bonescwa wrote:I've read that if you have some old yancha that you intend to keep, you can just put it in a rice cooker for a cooking cycle and it eliminates the moisture? And doing this every year or so will keep it?

Moisture will hurt a tea if it is exposed too long to air. What's worse is the loss of aroma and flavor. Heating or refreshing will only be good for a good tea. It cannot really bring back what is lost through oxidation. Keep your teas protected.
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