Heavy Roasted TGY


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

Heavy Roasted TGY

Postby toastedtoads » Dec 11th, '08, 13:21

I know there's a million TGY threads now, but this is a little more particular (hopefully).

I am almost done with my bag of Classic Roast TGY from The Tea Gallery. It is really really good, once I got a scale and realized I was using far too much tea. It went from being overly burnt coffee taste to a nicely rounded caramelized floral tasting tea.

My question is: Should I buy more? Or are there other roasted TGY from another company that people are in love with? Also, The Tea Gallery has an Espresso Roast TGY that seems to be a little lighter that may also be good.

I'll probably end up with more anyway, but I'm curious to see if anyone else has any favorites. I know the trend now is to have the lighter, more delicate un-roasted oolongs, but those don't appeal to me as much, especially this time of year.

Thanks all you tea nerds!
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Postby Space Samurai » Dec 11th, '08, 13:33

I love the signature roasted tie guan yin from Just 4 Tea, a small online store operated by a very pleasant girl whose family runs a tea shop in China.

http://www.just4tea.com/Tie_Guan_Yin.php

Other members and bloggers are fond of it as well, here are a few reviews:

http://puerh.blogspot.com/2008/04/just4 ... -puer.html
http://anotherteablog.blogspot.com/2008 ... olong.html
http://www.teanerd.com/2008/09/signatur ... -from.html
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Postby wyardley » Dec 11th, '08, 13:59

I haven't tried it for a few months, but my take is that the Tea Gallery one needs to rest a little longer (though I am hoping to try the slightly less roasted one when I'm in NY if they're open). I'm keeping mine in a jar and seeing how it tastes in a year or two. It's the right degree of roasting but the dry leaves have that really sharp smell still, and you can kind of taste it too.

This is a very subjective topic, and for me, it's like a Goldilocks type thing - this one tastes too much like rubber bands, this one is too dark, this one is too light, this one isn't oxidized enough.... So far, I think the HK shops in Canada are the way to go - they're the main places that still carry this kind of tea, and they have enough history / inventory that they can let the tea rest for a while. I've been making the rounds recently, trying to find that one tea that's perfect for everyday type drinking for me. Something comfortable, relatively affordable, with relatively few negative traits.

One that I've been enjoying a lot so far is the Lam Kie Yuen / Aroma Teahouse "Monkey Picked". They also have a "Kung Fu King", which is slightly higher fire still, though not too much so. The prices are good - $24 CAD for the first one I mentioned, $18 CAD for the second. They have an order form on the site, or you can just call / email. One other thing that I like is that they're less tightly balled up, in the traditional style.

Two other Canadian shops have some good ones also: the Canadian branch of Best Tea House (this is the shop in HK that Michael and Winnie trained with), and China Flair Tea (who apparently is also a former student of Mr. Chan of BTH). These both have higher prices than Aroma and BTH, at least, offers a number of different grades. I have not tried China Flair, but Tim was saying on chat that he had tea with the guy recently and that it was good.

At BTH, I would suggest trying the Monkey Picked and / or the Elegant Queen... both are around $30-40 CAD list price. If you order from him, he'll also probably be happy to include some samples of their higher grade roasted TGY. The monkey picked is kind of brown-yellow on the outside with only a little green, but the wet leaves open up fairly greenish, and there is still a bit of a tangy green bitter-sweet freshness. Elegant Queen (醉貴妃 (zuì guì fēi in Hanyu pinyin), which more literally refers to a concubine). Phone number is listed in viewtopic.php?t=6254 . PM me if you want the owner's email, but I think you will get faster service by just phoning.

I tried the Red Circle teas, and despite their descriptions, they're not really very roasted at all. I felt all the ones I tried (Red Heart, Gold Heart, 2002 monkey picked) were less roasty and sweet than the descriptions led me to believe. Of course, everyone has their own idea of what is "roasted" or "dark and toasty", so I'm not trying to say they're engaging in false advertising. The teas were good, just not what I was looking for. The Golden Heart was slightly less vegetal, and had no unpleasant characteristics, but to me, was very much like the type of mainland TGY you commonly get these days.

The 2002 Monkey Picked is pretty smooth and fruity, though, and doesn't seem to be in that awkward stage that a lot of greenish oolongs are in around that age. I'm not sure if they mean it was grown near Fuzhou (i.e., not in Anxi), or just aged and / or sourced there.

J-tea in Oregon has some Taiwan grown Mu-Zha TGY. To me, it's a slightly different taste than the mainland ones, but I'm not quite sure exactly why. I have one of the (very) expensive competition winning ones. It was clearly better than the others of his we compared it against in competition style tasting, but to me, as well as to the other people who tried it, it's missing a little something when brewed "normally". He's got some other roasted teas as well. I think his current pricing is a little better than is reflected on his site, so give him a call / email if you're interested.

Speaking of Mu-Zha TGY, I really like the '94 Mu-Zha from Hou De. Deep, sweet and rich, maybe a tiny sour note, but not in an unpleasant way... not overly musty or wet stored tasting.

Having some tea friends over on Sunday, so hopefully we can do some comparisons if there's time.

web links:

http://aromateahouse.com/
http://besttea.com.hk/
http://chinaflairtea.com/
http://redcircletea.com/
http://www.jteainternational.com/
http://houdeasianart.com/
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Postby wyardley » Dec 11th, '08, 14:04

Oh yeah - forgot the Just4tea one. That one is pretty good too. To me, it's either just a touch too heavily roasted, or else maybe needs to rest just a little longer. It's very individual. But the price is right. BTW, does anyone know which shops her family operates (in HK and Canada)?

Also, Lau Yu Fat does sell a couple of roasted TGYs (their kung fu king is a pretty high roast, with a really strong peachy flavor). They don't have any English descriptions on their site now, and don't have a branch in the US, but they do speak good English, respond to emails, and will ship to the US.

http://teahouse.com.hk/
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Postby cheaton » Dec 11th, '08, 14:59

I just got the high-fire formosa TGY from Hou-De.... it's delicious. This was my followup to the Tea Gallery classic.

http://www.houdeasianart.com/index.php? ... cts_id=901
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Postby pb2q » Dec 11th, '08, 17:31

Impressive. Thanks for all the info and analysis wyardly. I see that I'm really a beginner with these roasts. I've tried one from Stéphane, and the Tea Gallery mentioned here. Both are great, and I'm ready to restock.

I'm glad the Iron Bodhisattva espresso roast was mentioned: I hadn't made it past the first page of oolongs, thinking that was everything. The navigation is confusing. I see now that it's pretty clear in the intro paragraph that I wasn't reading...
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Postby toastedtoads » Dec 11th, '08, 17:58

The navigation on The Tea Gallery's website is a little awkward when it comes to the oolong pages. On one type there's a list of the rest on the left, and other times you just have to go back to the beginning. All in all they have 3 pages of oolongs.


Thank you everyone for your input. I am buying more classic roast just 'cause a friend will be there tomorrow to pick it up, but I'm sure I'll try at least one more of those suggested in the next couple of weeks.
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Postby edkrueger » Dec 14th, '08, 21:45

Good: Old Style Tie Guan Yin Anxi Oolong (Organic) 2008

Better: Mu-Zha 2007

Best: Mu-Zha 1994

These are the only ones I've tried. Will get some more soon.
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Postby cupioneer » Dec 14th, '08, 23:25

Tieguanyin wrote:Shan Shui Teas also offers a nice heavy roasted TGY. Their Shui Xian is good. I like the premium Winter 2007 TGY offering. Brian Wright, the owner of SST, is pleasent to deal with!

Weblink:

http://www.shanshuiteas.com/product.php ... tegoryID=2

http://www.shanshuiteas.com/


Does anyone know if the above is the same as Hou De's of the same year, harvest, and location?
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Postby wyardley » Jan 4th, '09, 20:34

wyardley wrote:I haven't tried it for a few months, but my take is that the Tea Gallery one needs to rest a little longer (though I am hoping to try the slightly less roasted one when I'm in NY if they're open). I'm keeping mine in a jar and seeing how it tastes in a year or two. It's the right degree of roasting but the dry leaves have that really sharp smell still, and you can kind of taste it too.


When I was in NY, Michael said he didn't think it needed that long to rest. I got mine back in June; I made it again today, and it seemed fine. Still a lot of charcoal, but much mellower and more balanced than the last time I tried it. I'm glad I got some more of a newer batch of this (as well as the espresso roast) when I was back home.
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Postby Ritva » Jan 5th, '09, 05:34

What kind of yixing do you use for heavy roasted TGY? What clay and shape? I'm still quite new to oolongs so some things are still a bit unclear to me. TGY is always roasted, right? It can be heavily roasted or lighter roasted.

zen8tea in eBay uses percentages in roasting definitions, like the following one:
Taiwan High Mountain Organic Oolong
Oxidation: 30%
Roasting: 30%
Origin: Luku (Nantou), Taiwan
Harvest: Spring 2008
Hand-picked full leaves
Aroma: floral
Taste: Smooth, mellow, round

When talking about lightly versus heavily roasted TGY, what roasting % would those be?

I have a yixing dedicated for green oolongs, which I understand are either not roasted or only lightly roasted. Can I use the "green oolong yixing" for heavily roasted TGY or traditional Dong Ding or would it be better to get another yixing for those? Do heavily roasted TGY and traditional roasted Dong Ding have about the same roasting level and would they be suitable for same yixing? And what about the "Taiwan High Mountain Organic Oolong " from zen8tea that has 30% roasting, would that be suitable for my "green oolong yixing"?
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Postby wyardley » Jan 5th, '09, 14:48

Ritva wrote:What kind of yixing do you use for heavy roasted TGY? What clay and shape? I'm still quite new to oolongs so some things are still a bit unclear to me. TGY is always roasted, right? It can be heavily roasted or lighter roasted.


I think there are some newer ones that have basically no roasting, or at least very little, but I could be wrong. Usually it's at least 15-20% roasted.

Several people have told me that a ball shaped pot is the best shape for this sort of tea. A shui ping pot is very appropriate. I know many people will tell you you don't ever want the tea leaves to be squished, but what I've been told is that the ball shaped pot (when you're using a whole lot of leaf) squeezes more oils out of the tea leaves when they expand.

Ritva wrote:When talking about lightly versus heavily roasted TGY, what roasting % would those be?


That's the million dollar question, and it really depends on who you ask and what their preferences are. Ditto for terms like "traditional" or "classic", etc. Also, you can roast something pretty strongly with an electric roaster and you won't get the same results as with charcoal or wood firing.

w/r/t matching pots to tea, it's a subject of big debate (like everything in tea), and I don't think I (or anyone else here) will be able to give you a definitive answer. Personally, I use different pots (and different types of pots) for the two. I usually use a less porous (red clay, usually) pot in a pear shape for the lighter ball shaped oolongs, and a rounder, darker pot for the more roasted teas. But that's just me.
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Postby Ritva » Jan 6th, '09, 07:39

Wyardley,

Thanks for your advice! I think I'll get another yixing for the "traditional" or heavy roasted TGY and Dong Ding. Again a reason to get another yixing...
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Postby TIM » Jan 13th, '09, 17:13

so what is traditional/classic roast/fire TGY? Anyone....

Taste
Maturity
Age
Color
Youth
Level of fire
What kind of fire
Sourness
Open fully after brew


Here is one of my classic roast:
Image

More like a Hong Kong Classic. Electric roasted. 1 day process:

Image
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