Wuyi Yancha & Dongding

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

Mar 13th 17 9:41 am
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Wuyi Yancha & Dongding

by Bok » Mar 13th 17 9:41 am

Just saw the new article on teamasters where he draws a comparison between Yancha and Dongding (traditional version). Basically saying they are similar, just that DD is lacking the mineral notes.

Thoughts?

Having never been exposed to Yancha I am curious.
And also looking for a good excuse not to spend any money on Yancha when prices become China-crazy. If they are indeed similar, I just stick to spend it on the best DD I can get locally and not worry about unknown pleasures… :mrgreen:

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Mar 13th 17 10:25 am
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Re: Wuyi Yancha & Dongding

by Tead Off » Mar 13th 17 10:25 am

Bok wrote: Just saw the new article on teamasters where he draws a comparison between Yancha and Dongding (traditional version). Basically saying they are similar, just that DD is lacking the mineral notes.

Thoughts?

Having never been exposed to Yancha I am curious.
And also looking for a good excuse not to spend any money on Yancha when prices become China-crazy. If they are indeed similar, I just stick to spend it on the best DD I can get locally and not worry about unknown pleasures… :mrgreen:
Not even close to each other. Yancha is far and away the best and most varied roasted oolong in the world. It is deeper and tastier than any roasted Taiwanese oolong I have ever come across, bar none.

How is that for an endorsement? Even the mediocre Yancha is better than any DD I've had. Sorry, DD fans, no sympathy here. :D

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Mar 13th 17 10:50 am
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Re: Wuyi Yancha & Dongding

by kyarazen » Mar 13th 17 10:50 am

Bok wrote: Just saw the new article on teamasters where he draws a comparison between Yancha and Dongding (traditional version). Basically saying they are similar, just that DD is lacking the mineral notes.

Thoughts?

Having never been exposed to Yancha I am curious.
And also looking for a good excuse not to spend any money on Yancha when prices become China-crazy. If they are indeed similar, I just stick to spend it on the best DD I can get locally and not worry about unknown pleasures… :mrgreen:
ah.. which tea master is that? :D

it is hard to generalize.. the culture of wuyi yancha is alive, that is from the tang/song dynasty it was a whitish tea made into bricks... and then it became uncompressed tea in the ming dynasty.. and as each artisan, each cliff, rock formation, plateau, cavity, etc started having unique plants, cultivars, microenvironments.. that led to the pleurality of wuyi yancha. if anyone had read my paltry writings, huiyan cliff alone has a recorded of 800+ yancha types coming from that spot alone, and that was across half a millenium of history, methods, cultivars, climates, microenvironments etc, these permutations and combinations come and go. the modern "presentation" of wuyi yancha preferred by the mass market today is something that is hefty, thick (from strong nitrogen fertilizer use), and processed to be very forward in aromatics (which means lower on oxidation)... and in comparison, such teas cannot take heavy roast. most of the heavily roasted products on the market are just done to erase flaws. and wuyi yancha is represented by countless cultivars, from various origins and inter-breeding etc to give diversity.

on the other hand, dongding is just a branch off the wuyi yancha stream, it was seemingly unrolled till the 70s, becoming more rolled in the 80s.. and in the 90s onwards it became fully rolled into ball shapes. this ball shape formation results in different effects during roasting, and roast/fire receding. and the dongding development is a bit stunted now, no one except a meagre few pursue the traditional "wuyi style manufacture" that is heavy oxidation, heavy roast. most go for high mountain leaves and push it into light oxidation, light electrical roasts.

however to note, if you run the mountains of both wuyi and dongding as i had done several times over.. you will notice the following trend

1) Wuyi SKLJ tea, or regions with strong microclimates, this is the most orthodox yancha, if handmade, is the closest to the historical deal, the oxidation is heavy, the roast is heavy. nothing from DD matches up

2) Wuyi region outside SKLJ, it is quite varied, some of them are taken care of as well as Dongding/Lishan region, but in both these regions there are poor farming practices. within this category, you can find teas that are "comparable" in aromatics, but the wuyi teas having a bit more bone if there are good microclimates. you will be surprised to know that some of the wuyi plantations are poorer managed than those in taiwan

3) Wuyi tea made outside the supposed areas.. into largely expanded territories.. how many people would actually know the true origin of their teas? machine harvested.. high throughput production...

the famed dongding oolong would be able to match up to top end wuyis. but.. almost impossible to find now maybe.. if you're in taiwan perhaps you can ask around if anyone has any of the real "chen2 ah1 qiao4" dongding oolong.. before his demise, chen ah qiao was the most famous roaster in the dongding region, and the teas he produces had been most highly regarded. dont bother with any of his sons' teas because they're a far far far cry from the real deal.

the point is, on both sides, there are their separate and independent developments.. despite the same root that is. for modern representations of wuyi and dd, they are all superficial creations that suit the market trend at the moment, i wouldnt want to base any comparisons on these products, but instead focus on the heritage

Mar 13th 17 1:23 pm
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Re: Wuyi Yancha & Dongding

by Bok » Mar 13th 17 1:23 pm

kyarazen wrote: ah.. which tea master is that? :D
That would be Stephanes Blog, he does not call himself teamaster, his blog is named teamasters. Presumably in reference to all his teachers? Well, as he sells mainly Taiwanese tea it would probably be counterproductive to praise Yancha too much :mrgreen:

I have been reading your posts on Wuyi, as well as most of the other articles. Picked both my interest and also made me doubt how realistic it would be to find good qualities of those teas compared to what I would spend in Tea locally in Taiwan. So far it seems more risky... as I am well aware how difficult it can be to get to the good stuff in Taiwan - and I have local help and paid my tuition fees - it must be so much more so in the vastness of China.

Thanks to both of you for your replies, and Kyarazen for the ever informative posts! I am learning a lot.

The tins you had posted recently look like the must be the kind of teas you are writing about. One can tell by the kind of tin and label that it is something very different from the mainstream.

Wuyi teas are really the only teas apart from the ones from Taiwan I am somehow really interested in. Well, maybe time will come when I make the right discovery, or suddenly become very affluent, haha
kyarazen wrote: the famed dongding oolong would be able to match up to top end wuyis. but.. almost impossible to find now maybe.. if you're in taiwan perhaps you can ask around if anyone has any of the real "chen2 ah1 qiao4" dongding oolong.. before his demise, chen ah qiao was the most famous roaster in the dongding region, and the teas he produces had been most highly regarded. dont bother with any of his sons' teas because they're a far far far cry from the real deal.
Even if they have it I doubt they would give it to me, haha. Must be sought after the Taiwanese themselves. How does Chen HY teas fit in there?

So far his roasted teas have been the nicest I have had in that category.

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Mar 13th 17 3:48 pm
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Re: Wuyi Yancha & Dongding

by kyarazen » Mar 13th 17 3:48 pm

Bok wrote: [

I have been reading your posts on Wuyi, as well as most of the other articles. Picked both my interest and also made me doubt how realistic it would be to find good qualities of those teas compared to what I would spend in Tea locally in Taiwan. So far it seems more risky... as I am well aware how difficult it can be to get to the good stuff in Taiwan - and I have local help and paid my tuition fees - it must be so much more so in the vastness of China.

Thanks to both of you for your replies, and Kyarazen for the ever informative posts! I am learning a lot.

The tins you had posted recently look like the must be the kind of teas you are writing about. One can tell by the kind of tin and label that it is something very different from the mainstream.

Wuyi teas are really the only teas apart from the ones from Taiwan I am somehow really interested in. Well, maybe time will come when I make the right discovery, or suddenly become very affluent, haha

Even if they have it I doubt they would give it to me, haha. Must be sought after the Taiwanese themselves. How does Chen HY teas fit in there?

So far his roasted teas have been the nicest I have had in that category.
perhaps you can check out some of the taiwan "dahongpao" that is on the market? the dahongpao cultivar but grown on various altitudes in taiwan :D

:P and yup the tea in those tins are rather interesting, but the person whom made them is even more interesting. might be a nice story for Wuyi Episode 3. this is the only person so far whom had been able to draw out a siberian musk note in a couple of his tea cultivars.


for chen ah qiao's tea, i'm still tracking down more information.... from what i've surveyed from the taiwanese, apparently 80% of what chen ah qiao roasts, was produced by Chen HY's dad, but his dad passed away when Chen HY was a little kid. Chen HY's tea is still a distance from what his dad had achieved, according to the old folks in nantou, but he's working hard on it to bring back that flavour. gambatte i would say, and i'm really anticipating the day when that happens.

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Re: Wuyi Yancha & Dongding

by jayinhk » Mar 13th 17 4:30 pm

Bok, I will probably come over to TW in the spring. Will bring some Wuyicha along and we can have a few sessions and you can see what the fuss is all about! None of the super high end stuff kyarazen gets his hands on, but good drinking stuff and traditionally roasted Wuyicha from HK companies. How does that sound?

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Re: Wuyi Yancha & Dongding

by victoria3 » Mar 13th 17 4:43 pm

Would be great to do a Wuyi Yancha OTTI ! That's how I go into Taiwan oolongs via Tony's Origin tea OTTI and Chips oolong OTTI. I'd also like to slowly explore Wuyi Yancha. I did a Dan Cong tasting at TeaHabitat but unfortunately she steeped them all too light me to really judge.

Mar 14th 17 1:19 am
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Re: Wuyi Yancha & Dongding

by Bok » Mar 14th 17 1:19 am

jayinhk wrote: Bok, I will probably come over to TW in the spring. Will bring some Wuyicha along and we can have a few sessions and you can see what the fuss is all about! None of the super high end stuff kyarazen gets his hands on, but good drinking stuff and traditionally roasted Wuyicha from HK companies. How does that sound?
Sounds brilliant! Will PM you later so we can plan ahead :mrgreen:

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Re: Wuyi Yancha & Dongding

by Bok » Mar 14th 17 1:28 am

kyarazen wrote: perhaps you can check out some of the taiwan "dahongpao" that is on the market? the dahongpao cultivar but grown on various altitudes in taiwan :D

:P and yup the tea in those tins are rather interesting, but the person whom made them is even more interesting. might be a nice story for Wuyi Episode 3. this is the only person so far whom had been able to draw out a siberian musk note in a couple of his tea cultivars.


for chen ah qiao's tea, i'm still tracking down more information.... from what i've surveyed from the taiwanese, apparently 80% of what chen ah qiao roasts, was produced by Chen HY's dad, but his dad passed away when Chen HY was a little kid. Chen HY's tea is still a distance from what his dad had achieved, according to the old folks in nantou, but he's working hard on it to bring back that flavour. gambatte i would say, and i'm really anticipating the day when that happens.
Good advice, will have a look into that!

Yes please, Ep3 more insights! We all appreciate your efforts to share some knowledge.

the connection between Chen HY and Ah Qiao is also quite interesting. Hopefully he can carry on the torch – but from my point of view his teas are already way above average of what is done at the moment in regards to roasted teas. Has been noted from a few of my tea friends here, his teas immediately stand out.

Memories also tend to be tainted with age and glorified over time, so he might have difficulty to reach the standard the older ones hold him too…

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Re: Wuyi Yancha & Dongding

by Bok » Mar 14th 17 4:11 am

kyarazen wrote: chen2 ah1 qiao4
Kyarazen, what are the Chinese characters for that?
陳阿…? Not sure which Qiao it might be. Otherwise a really Taiwanese name with the 阿-character in it :mrgreen:

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Re: Wuyi Yancha & Dongding

by kyarazen » Mar 14th 17 4:40 am

Bok wrote:
kyarazen wrote: chen2 ah1 qiao4
Kyarazen, what are the Chinese characters for that?
陳阿…? Not sure which Qiao it might be. Otherwise a really Taiwanese name with the 阿-character in it :mrgreen:
陳阿蹺 <-- :D

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Re: Wuyi Yancha & Dongding

by joelbct » Mar 15th 17 12:06 am

Nice to see these sort of informative threads, thank you.

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Re: Wuyi Yancha & Dongding

by onjinone » Mar 28th 17 6:37 am

kyarazen had a great explanation.

To add to that, one of the fascinating things about yancha is that that some tea makers are making what I call hybrid yancha. It's still yancha, but they're mixing the processing methods that have traditionally been used for certain types of oolongs and combining it with the processing method of a typical yancha.

The result is yancha with very unique taste, quite different but not too off from the taste that yancha is known to have. Definitely one of the superficial things similar to what kyarazen briefly mentioned. The heritage is what matters more.

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Re: Wuyi Yancha & Dongding

by chrl42 » Mar 28th 17 7:54 am

Kyarazen summed up very well,

I heard when DD was first planted in 19c, they used Wuyi cultivar..the similarity may come from it? the roasted DD indeed shares some similarity with Wuyi Yancha..but not quite same.

It looks like Taiwanese high-end Oolongs tend towards heights they are growing, mostly Dayuling and Lishan..slighty oxidated, some Muzha Tieguanyin producers are said to still perpetuate the old technics..well, who knows :D