Tea cultivar used to make Da Hong Pao

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Re: Tea cultivar used to make Da Hong Pao

by kyarazen » Oct 29th 15 2:12 pm

theredbaron wrote:
kuánglóng wrote: Anyone interested might want to check out those leaves:
https://www.essenceoftea.com/tea/oolong ... i-hao.html

I have never ordered from essenceoftea, but i believe that they might have the same source i get my best quality Yancha from. Which would mean that their Yancha is very good.
is your source in thailand/bangkok? i'm heading there for a business trip soon :D would be nice to seek out some teas and wares :D

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Re: Tea cultivar used to make Da Hong Pao

by theredbaron » Oct 29th 15 3:30 pm

kyarazen wrote:
is your source in thailand/bangkok? i'm heading there for a business trip soon :D would be nice to seek out some teas and wares :D
A source in Bangkok would be nice. :)
My source is in KL. Bangkok has slow beginnings of a tea culture, but it still is a far cry from KL or other tea centers.

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Re: Tea cultivar used to make Da Hong Pao

by john.b » Oct 30th 15 11:07 am

One source is a shop in Bangkok:

https://www.facebook.com/threeshelltea/

That shop has been there for 90 years, and Bangkok has probably had Chinese people with close ties to China selling tea from there for hundreds of years, so in a sense it's probably just about finding what's not necessarily easy to find. Google Maps knows where they are (Jip Eu) but a Google search isn't going to help, or maybe it would using Thai alphabet characters instead of that transliteration.

They seem to focus on Wuyi Yancha, which happens to be my favorite type, since the owner's family is from Wuyishan originally (of course with some still there). I bought Dan Cong there but that type is so new to me I couldn't even say if what I have is exceptional, and it's just a commercial product anyway, not the same as the tea they are sourcing in bulk from producers. They say Bangkok Chinese Thais tend to favor more roasted oolongs, which gets to be a complicated story. One might be suspicious that this is one processing step used to cover flaws in tea, but it's not quite that simple. Anyway, just visit and try some tea, then it's settled what it is or isn't.

I mention the other source in the posts, a farmer in Wuyishan, so actually there's no reason I can't say who she is here too:

https://www.facebook.com/snowingchen

Odd form of contact, right, since Facebook works better in every other country. In almost every case if someone claims to be a Chinese tea farmer what they really mean is that they know how to go buy mediocre tea at a wholesale market and sell it to you for several times over the price they paid, but she's the real thing. Please be respectful. She knows that having random people from the internet contacting her will involve some screening but there's no real need for anyone to act out the negative side of that, but then there's no explaining any given "comments" section online either.

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Re: Tea cultivar used to make Da Hong Pao

by theredbaron » Oct 30th 15 1:13 pm

john.b wrote:
They say Bangkok Chinese Thais tend to favor more roasted oolongs, which gets to be a complicated story. One might be suspicious that this is one processing step used to cover flaws in tea, but it's not quite that simple. Anyway, just visit and try some tea, then it's settled what it is or isn't.

I don't know this particular shop, but will one day have a look. All other shops in Yaowarat do sell very heavily roasted Yancha almost beyond recognition, and who need a decade to air out. Most of them do buy their teas from wholesalers (i have lived in Bangkok for almost 23 years and asked around, in Thai not in English or via translator), and are not particularly good.
I am also quite confident with my sources in KL. Since 1997 Lim Ping Xiang has been my tea teacher and friend (long before he became internationally famous), and while he seems to be nowadays mostly known for his expertise in Liu Bao, he is a true master in Yancha. His Yancha collection is beyond awesome.

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Re: Tea cultivar used to make Da Hong Pao

by puyuan » Oct 30th 15 6:58 pm

theredbaron wrote:
john.b wrote:
They say Bangkok Chinese Thais tend to favor more roasted oolongs, which gets to be a complicated story. One might be suspicious that this is one processing step used to cover flaws in tea, but it's not quite that simple. Anyway, just visit and try some tea, then it's settled what it is or isn't.

I don't know this particular shop, but will one day have a look. All other shops in Yaowarat do sell very heavily roasted Yancha almost beyond recognition, and who need a decade to air out. Most of them do buy their teas from wholesalers (i have lived in Bangkok for almost 23 years and asked around, in Thai not in English or via translator), and are not particularly good.
I am also quite confident with my sources in KL. Since 1997 Lim Ping Xiang has been my tea teacher and friend (long before he became internationally famous), and while he seems to be nowadays mostly known for his expertise in Liu Bao, he is a true master in Yancha. His Yancha collection is beyond awesome.

Not to mention he was oficially recognized as an authority in Puerh in the mainland long before the gushu boom, wasn't he? Lucky you and EOT to have him as mentor. (:

(I wish there was someone around with similar depth in liu'an. Zhou Yu maybe?)

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Re: Tea cultivar used to make Da Hong Pao

by theredbaron » Oct 31st 15 6:24 am

puyuan wrote:

Not to mention he was oficially recognized as an authority in Puerh in the mainland long before the gushu boom, wasn't he? Lucky you and EOT to have him as mentor. (:

(I wish there was someone around with similar depth in liu'an. Zhou Yu maybe?)

Thank you, and yes, indeed, i feel very lucky. :)
I have to admit though that i am far from his most stellar student. While tea is an important part of my life, for him it is his life.

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Re: Tea cultivar used to make Da Hong Pao

by Tead Off » Oct 31st 15 10:17 am

theredbaron wrote:
john.b wrote:
They say Bangkok Chinese Thais tend to favor more roasted oolongs, which gets to be a complicated story. One might be suspicious that this is one processing step used to cover flaws in tea, but it's not quite that simple. Anyway, just visit and try some tea, then it's settled what it is or isn't.
I don't know this particular shop, but will one day have a look. All other shops in Yaowarat do sell very heavily roasted Yancha almost beyond recognition, and who need a decade to air out. Most of them do buy their teas from wholesalers (i have lived in Bangkok for almost 23 years and asked around, in Thai not in English or via translator), and are not particularly good.
I quite agree with your take on the BKK scene for tea, especially Wuyicha. It got to the point some years ago where I don't even bother to look.

The first shop I found in Yaowarat that roasted their own tea is on Rama 4, walking across the khlong with Hua Lamphong MRT at your back. It is the first street full street after you cross on the left side. If you come to a Chinese shop selling temple supplies, incense, etc., you walked too far. 100 years old shop house, the old man was 91 about 8 years ago last time I saw him. His sons mainly run the shop. They took me back to show me their roasting room. I would like to see what that tea tasted like today. :D They mainly handled Shui Xian but had other cultivars, too. If you have nothing to do, it's nice to chat with them and drink a bit of tea. Very friendly folks. Still bagging with handcut paper and stamping the name on the face while you watch. A nice old touch.

Just down the street, same side, after the temple supply shop, there is another tea seller who used to have different Yancha than the first guy. Rou Gui was a decent buy there. But after years of buying online, and in person in HK, and trying many different grades, roasting levels, etc., I doubt I could be happy drinking this kind of tea again. The best thing to happen to the BKK tea scene is Teadezhang and his small selection of puercha. Nice people and some nice teas to be had.

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Re: Tea cultivar used to make Da Hong Pao

by theredbaron » Oct 31st 15 1:33 pm

Tead Off wrote: The best thing to happen to the BKK tea scene is Teadezhang and his small selection of puercha. Nice people and some nice teas to be had.
Indeed - Teadeezhang is a very nice place, and extremely friendly. They also have some very decent midgrade Shui Xien, which i bought a few packs as they were very reasonable.

My experience with the Yaowaraj shops is similar to yours. After a while i just stopped bothering, especially since i got to learn about what good quality Yancha is.

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Re: Tea cultivar used to make Da Hong Pao

by john.b » Nov 2nd 15 5:09 am

I couldn't speak to what shops in general are like in Chinatown since I've only been to a few, and since no one has offered feedback about that specific shop--that definitively refers to it; one reference may or may not--there is no clarification there.

I've been to the Tea Dee Zhang shop, and it is a unique resource here, different from the other options. I visited when they were in the Seacon Square mall, but they've since moved to the Thanya Park mall nearby. One of their unique offerings is creating their own pu'er, of course from old-tree leaves sourced in Yunnan. I've tried one version but others would be better to assess how it rates related to other types. It's possible it would help to do so in a few more years once aging those has become possible. I'm not certain how long it's been since they started; I tried one a year and a half ago and it didn't seem a new venture for them then, or that they'd been at it for awhile yet. As someone else mentioned they weren't selling their Wuyi Yancha as the highest grade one might find so what I bought then seemed fine for what it was supposed to be.

Tea really does come in very different grades, of course, and discovering better teas and better sources is an interesting part of it. It's also interesting how many factors of tea sources and types and levels of genuine tea masters end up relating, and how relatively empty marketing claims get mixed with real factors. I'm not claiming that I am an expert, of course; I've ran across different teas from a range of different sources, and time and experience will tell how those rate on a broader scale. For someone far down the path it would seem most sourcing issues would have long since been settled anyway.

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Re: Tea cultivar used to make Da Hong Pao

by Tead Off » Nov 2nd 15 2:32 pm

john.b wrote:I couldn't speak to what shops in general are like in Chinatown since I've only been to a few, and since no one has offered feedback about that specific shop--that definitively refers to it; one reference may or may not--there is no clarification there.

I've been to the Tea Dee Zhang shop, and it is a unique resource here, different from the other options. I visited when they were in the Seacon Square mall, but they've since moved to the Thanya Park mall nearby. One of their unique offerings is creating their own pu'er, of course from old-tree leaves sourced in Yunnan. I've tried one version but others would be better to assess how it rates related to other types. It's possible it would help to do so in a few more years once aging those has become possible. I'm not certain how long it's been since they started; I tried one a year and a half ago and it didn't seem a new venture for them then, or that they'd been at it for awhile yet. As someone else mentioned they weren't selling their Wuyi Yancha as the highest grade one might find so what I bought then seemed fine for what it was supposed to be.

Tea really does come in very different grades, of course, and discovering better teas and better sources is an interesting part of it. It's also interesting how many factors of tea sources and types and levels of genuine tea masters end up relating, and how relatively empty marketing claims get mixed with real factors. I'm not claiming that I am an expert, of course; I've ran across different teas from a range of different sources, and time and experience will tell how those rate on a broader scale. For someone far down the path it would seem most sourcing issues would have long since been settled anyway.
John B,

The only way a drinker has to assess grades of tea other than going to a tea region and getting hands on help from a teamaster that specializes in that type of tea that interests you is to sample teas from sellers and make comparative notes of descriptions of the sellers, weight and price of the tea, and your tasting experience. By comparison to what you have already tried, a tea begins to fit into a 'place' in your mind. You begin to become familiar with its aroma and taste plus the feeling of the tea. Sometimes you will find a tea that is half the price of something billed as a higher grade tea. Price can be an indication of higher grade but it isn't the end of the discussion. I'm sure everyone here has paid more than they normally would for a tea because it was supposed to be a very special grade. Sometimes those teas did not live up to their billing. And, of course, there is our subjectivity to take into account. Drinking with others and hearing what others say is also a part of the process and can be very eye opening. All of this is a time consuming venture that can get expensive. I find the best thing is to relax and enjoy the experience.

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Re: Tea cultivar used to make Da Hong Pao

by john.b » Nov 3rd 15 6:08 am

theredbaron wrote:
john.b wrote:
It seems a little odd to me that the place this would naturally leave off is for people to drink Rou Gui or Shui Xian instead. The exact same grade issues relate to those; nothing changes.

That is quite wrong. Much more Shui Xien and Rou Gui is grown, it is far cheaper, and higher quantities in better grades for more affordable prices are available in the market. Of course the best qualities are never cheap, and one needs good friends to get them.

My point here was that you could buy high grades of very nice Rou Gui or Shui Xian, or you could find inferior teas of the same types, and that the same is true for Da Hong Pao. That other post I was responding to concluded that one is better off drinking those first two tea types and not buying Da Hong Pao because in general that poster had better experience with those types, but in my experience it's not as if you couldn't find good or bad versions of any of the three, or someone couldn't sell one version as being better than it actually was for any.

Ironically it might be more common to find mid-grade or lower versions of Rou Gui or Shui Xian being sold as Da Hong Pao than being sold as those cultivars, which seems to relate to the point they are making, that by the time someone gets around to identifying the tea accurately as those types, as what they actually are, it's perhaps more likely it's decent tea.

Maybe it's possible to get tea of one type in an exceptional grade more cost effectively than the other two, or find it in a higher grade more consistently, but those don't relate directly to their original point or mine, beyond what I've stated here. I've had good luck with both Rou Gui and Shui Xian, so maybe there is something to this. For me it remains to be seen if that extends to a conclusion that one should really never buy Da Hong Pao at all (Qi Dan or Bei Tou cultivars), since I've had a few good versions of those too.

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Re: Tea cultivar used to make Da Hong Pao

by theredbaron » Nov 3rd 15 11:48 am

john.b wrote:

My point here was that you could buy high grades of very nice Rou Gui or Shui Xian, or you could find inferior teas of the same types, and that the same is true for Da Hong Pao. That other post I was responding to concluded that one is better off drinking those first two tea types and not buying Da Hong Pao because in general that poster had better experience with those types, but in my experience it's not as if you couldn't find good or bad versions of any of the three, or someone couldn't sell one version as being better than it actually was for any.

Ironically it might be more common to find mid-grade or lower versions of Rou Gui or Shui Xian being sold as Da Hong Pao than being sold as those cultivars, which seems to relate to the point they are making, that by the time someone gets around to identifying the tea accurately as those types, as what they actually are, it's perhaps more likely it's decent tea.

Maybe it's possible to get tea of one type in an exceptional grade more cost effectively than the other two, or find it in a higher grade more consistently, but those don't relate directly to their original point or mine, beyond what I've stated here. I've had good luck with both Rou Gui and Shui Xian, so maybe there is something to this. For me it remains to be seen if that extends to a conclusion that one should really never buy Da Hong Pao at all (Qi Dan or Bei Tou cultivars), since I've had a few good versions of those too.
It is a simple calculation. Many years ago, when my source started with the very good Yancha, and i am talking here only of top grades, they had of Shui Xien maybe 30 Kilo a year, Rou Gui a bit less, but Ti Lo Han only maybe 3 to 4 Kilo, and Da Hong Pao maybe just 2 Kilos. Naturally, the latter two cost a multiple of the former.

There is just very little high quality Da Hong Pao in the market, and much more decent Shui Xien or Rou Gui. If you ever get to drink high quality Da Hong Pao or Ti Lo Han, you know why they are so famous and expensive.

I have not said that one should never buy Da Hong Pao, what i have said is that one is better off with Shui Xien or Ro Gui as it is much easier to find decent quality than the more rare teas such as Da Hong Pao or Ti Lo Han, where quite often lower quality is sold as people attach a lot to the name. Decent quality Shui Xien is, generally speaking, better than a lower quality Da Hong Pao sold for a similar price.

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Re: Tea cultivar used to make Da Hong Pao

by Tead Off » Nov 3rd 15 11:55 am

john.b wrote:I've had good luck with both Rou Gui and Shui Xian, so maybe there is something to this. For me it remains to be seen if that extends to a conclusion that one should really never buy Da Hong Pao at all (Qi Dan or Bei Tou cultivars), since I've had a few good versions of those too.
I would mostly agree with this. I don't think DHP as I have drunk it, can rate as well as some of the Rou Gui, SX, TLH, and others in the Yancha genre. It would also be hard to mistake a Rou Gui for a DHP. Just try JK's sample pack of Yancha. This is an education in itself and for not much money.

BTW, the DHP here in BKK is atrocious.

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Re: Tea cultivar used to make Da Hong Pao

by MySundayTea » Nov 4th 15 3:17 am

Tead Off wrote:
john.b wrote:I've had good luck with both Rou Gui and Shui Xian, so maybe there is something to this. For me it remains to be seen if that extends to a conclusion that one should really never buy Da Hong Pao at all (Qi Dan or Bei Tou cultivars), since I've had a few good versions of those too.
I would mostly agree with this. I don't think DHP as I have drunk it, can rate as well as some of the Rou Gui, SX, TLH, and others in the Yancha genre. It would also be hard to mistake a Rou Gui for a DHP. Just try JK's sample pack of Yancha. This is an education in itself and for not much money.

BTW, the DHP here in BKK is atrocious.
I also think that many other rock teas could be rated higher than DHP (according to my personal opinion and individual preference only!) though DHP is one of the top Oolong Tea in China for long. For Rougui, there are different types namely "Wuyi Cassia" and "Anxi Cinnamon". In Chinese language, both of them are called Rougui. However, the look and taste of them have very big different. The Rougui that some people try to mistake it for DHP is probably the Wuyi Cassia, whereas the Anxi Cinnamon is slightly spicy, with a taste of "ginger". It is quite a different favor from the DHP, but I love it especially when I know that I am going to get a cold. Chinese people, in the old day, keep it as a kind of medicine instead of a tea for daily consumption.

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Re: Tea cultivar used to make Da Hong Pao

by theredbaron » Nov 4th 15 7:25 am

MySundayTea wrote:
I also think that many other rock teas could be rated higher than DHP (according to my personal opinion and individual preference only!) though DHP is one of the top Oolong Tea in China for long.

That is because high grade Da Hong Pao is very very rare, and if found, extraordinarily expensive. This somehow proves the point i was making - one is better off with better grades of more common Yancha than with the pale reflections of the real thing that are generally sold as Da Hong Pao. If you ever have the chance to drink high grade Da Hong Pao you will understand why it is one of, if not the top Oolong in China.