Very aged oolong/baozhong flavor???


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Very aged oolong/baozhong flavor???

Postby TokyoB » Nov 24th, '08, 14:41

Hi! This is my first post here....
So, lately I've had a few very old teas and am wondering what flavor is "typical" or "desired" (although I'm sure the latter is in the eye of the drinker.) What I mean specifically is that I had 2 aged baozhongs that were both supposedly over 30 years old. One tasted like one might expect - roasted but mellow. The other was similar but with a pu-erh like flavor - slightly musty?? I also had an aged Wuyi that was supposedly over 10 years old. It also had a slightly musty flavor but not to the same extent as the baozhong. Does anyone have experience drinking these fairly old teas? What are the flavors of what you've had? Is the musty flavor "bad" or a sign of mold or poor storage?
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Postby wyardley » Nov 24th, '08, 14:58

Funny - there was an almost identical thread (started by someone else) this morning somewhere else.

I think the way the tea comes out depends both on storage and how often it's re-roasted. Sourness and too much mustiness can be indicative of bad storage, but I think overall, it's more just a matter of what you prefer - as long as the tea doesn't have an unpleasant taste and doesn't have anything funky growing on it, I think it should be relatively safe.

My guess is that one difference between the baozhong and the aged yan cha you're talking about is that even while baozhongs that are aged are typically roasted more than the type that are popular now, it may have been less roasted to start with (and / or been re-roasted less often) than the rock tea.
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Postby TokyoB » Nov 24th, '08, 15:43

Will, where is the other thread? One of the aged baozhongs (non-musty one) was from Stephane at TeaMasters. The other was from a small Ebay vendor. Supposedly the one from the small vendor was only re-roasted 4 or 5 times over 30 years. The aged Wuyi is from Wistaria teahouse in Taipei and I don't know much about it but it appears that it may have only been roasted once. There is no strong roast flavor like teas that have been re-roasted. I wrote Stephane about this issue and his opinon was that aged teas shouldn't have that musty flavor. I admit I don't like the musty baozhong that much but the Wuyi is not bad.
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Postby heavydoom » Nov 26th, '08, 23:36

TokyoB wrote:Will, where is the other thread? One of the aged baozhongs (non-musty one) was from Stephane at TeaMasters. The other was from a small Ebay vendor. Supposedly the one from the small vendor was only re-roasted 4 or 5 times over 30 years. The aged Wuyi is from Wistaria teahouse in Taipei and I don't know much about it but it appears that it may have only been roasted once. There is no strong roast flavor like teas that have been re-roasted. I wrote Stephane about this issue and his opinon was that aged teas shouldn't have that musty flavor. I admit I don't like the musty baozhong that much but the Wuyi is not bad.


your small ebay vendor is sampan? i got a generous amount of some 30 year old bao zhong, thanks, eloi, if you are lurking, and it tasted very lightly like aged pu erh. the leaves were very dark, stiff and long. slight earthiness in taste but very subtle. a very light tea since i put a large amount of tea in a small vessel. first time ever for me tasting an aged bao zhong. don't think that i will ever get this for consumption.

aged oolong? don't we age oolong by re roasting oolong every so often? or are there other methods to age oolong? imo, oolong is a tricky customer to deal with. there are so many variety to keep track of. :evil:
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Postby teaguy » Nov 27th, '08, 07:05

The musty smell with the baojong is most likely a 'flaw' in the process somewhere. It may have not been sealed, or picked up some odors somewhere along the way, or not been a very good baojong to start with.

There's never a guarantee that aging will improve a tea. Some good teas age poorly, some poor teas age very well. That's what makes it a tricky proposition all around.

RE to heavydoom:

aging and roasting are different things. The only way to really age a tea is to, well, let it get old. Re-roasting is used to 'refreshen' or improve a tea as needed, and is extremely complicated. One tea might age for 30 years and be excellent right out of the bag, while another may need frequent trips to the ovens to maintain its drinkability.
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Postby heavydoom » Nov 27th, '08, 15:12

teaguy wrote:The musty smell with the baojong is most likely a 'flaw' in the process somewhere. It may have not been sealed, or picked up some odors somewhere along the way, or not been a very good baojong to start with.

There's never a guarantee that aging will improve a tea. Some good teas age poorly, some poor teas age very well. That's what makes it a tricky proposition all around.

RE to heavydoom:

aging and roasting are different things. The only way to really age a tea is to, well, let it get old. Re-roasting is used to 'refreshen' or improve a tea as needed, and is extremely complicated. One tea might age for 30 years and be excellent right out of the bag, while another may need frequent trips to the ovens to maintain its drinkability.


word.
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Postby ABx » Nov 27th, '08, 15:43

teaguy wrote:The musty smell with the baojong is most likely a 'flaw' in the process somewhere. It may have not been sealed, or picked up some odors somewhere along the way, or not been a very good baojong to start with.

There's never a guarantee that aging will improve a tea. Some good teas age poorly, some poor teas age very well. That's what makes it a tricky proposition all around.
In a way it's kind of hard to call it 'flawed' since some people seem to like these. I have one now that it seems went just a tiny bit long between infusions, as it has just the slightest hint of earthy mustiness buried deep in the layers of great complexity. This adds just a little more dimension that actually enhances it. I don't know if it was intentional or not, but it does make it that much nicer.

The thing I've noticed with those earthy ones is that when there's any info on the aging history of the tea, these are the ones that typically got forgotten about in someone's house - basically home-aged, and probably not intentionally. I also suspect that the humidity has something to do with it.

So I also wonder whether it's really that any teas don't age well as much as it is that they're not as easy to age in your particular environment. Some don't seem to mind some air, others seem to need to be sealed and protected as possible. Some benefit more from roasting, and others can go without - though I've gathered that the roasting seems to be more about driving out moisture more than anything. The main thing is that I think that you just can't tell what any one tea needs until it actually starts to age, and I think it has as much to do with environment as anything. I suspect that, for example, a tea that might not age well for you in a sealed ceramic jar may age well for me in a tin.

Unfortunately I haven't seen much info about the subject - I suspect that there aren't that many people in the industry that really have expertise in aging wulong teas. Even those like Guang that know how and when to re-roast don't seem to know as much about it as they do about other teas. I have to admit, though, that that's actually part of the appeal to me. I plan on aging some, but really only the ones that I don't like as much and would otherwise probably throw away. If it turns out then great, and if not then there's no real loss. The only real exception is yancha, which I typically don't like when it's new, but I don't know that I will try to age any for 10+ years - at least not intentionally.

Generally, though, I agree with your thoughts, and I generally don't like "wet stored" aged wulong.
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