Do I not like Yancha?

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


May 3rd, '17, 16:31
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Do I not like Yancha?

by abnyc » May 3rd, '17, 16:31

I'm a tea novice: not a beginner, not an expert. I tend to favor oolongs, and thought that Wuyi yanchas were my favorite oolongs. So I laid out some $$ for 2 Zheng Yan teas: a Rou Gui and a Bai Ji Guan, from a respected vendor (Tea Urchin). To my surprise, I've been really underwhelmed by both.

I get what people mean, now, when they talk about yancha being "oily" and perceived in the throat, and I've liked those qualities in both these higher-end teas. But there seems to have been a trade-off, because both teas were very low in aroma and flavor, compared to the more mid-range yancha that I've had in the past. None of the nutty flavor I'd associated with yancha's roast, and none of that deep fruitiness that had seemed to come along with minerality in the more budget-friendly teas. If I didn't know beforehand the provenance and price of these new teas, I'd probably write them off as "thin" and weak.

Now, I'm going to keep working at these teas, and see if I can acclimate my palate to their more subtle flavors, but I also wanted some feedback on whether my assumptions about yancha are off-base. Is my characterization of fruity-mineral aroma and nutty-roasted flavor not accurate for good yancha? Should I expect this thinness?

For reference, I used ~3.25 g / ~65 ml, at 195-205 degrees (increasing temperature over the course of the session). Steep times started at 30s and increased imprecisely to about 1m30s by steep 7 or 8.

May 3rd, '17, 17:24
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Re: Do I not like Yancha?

by steanze » May 3rd, '17, 17:24

For yancha, pack the pot (5-6 gr for 65ml), and go with quick infusions (a few seconds). If you want more punch, crush about 1/4 to 1/3 of the leaves and put them in the pot first. Then add the remaining intact leaves. When you pour water in the pot, pour gently around the rim.

I haven't tried the TU yancha offerings but I've heard they're quite reasonable and on the high end of what is currently available from western vendors.

I wouldn't necessarily call Yancha "fruity". What are the more budget-friendly teas you tried? Some cheaper yanchas are over-roasted and just taste like the roast. As far as I'm concerned that is a flaw though, sometimes yancha is processed in that way to conceal the lower quality of the base material.

May 3rd, '17, 17:46
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Re: Do I not like Yancha?

by abnyc » May 3rd, '17, 17:46

steanze wrote: For yancha, pack the pot (5-6 gr for 65ml), and go with quick infusions (a few seconds). If you want more punch, crush about 1/4 to 1/3 of the leaves and put them in the pot first. Then add the remaining intact leaves. When you pour water in the pot, pour gently around the rim.

I haven't tried the TU yancha offerings but I've heard they're quite reasonable and on the high end of what is currently available from western vendors.

I wouldn't necessarily call Yancha "fruity". What are the more budget-friendly teas you tried? Some cheaper yanchas are over-roasted and just taste like the roast. As far as I'm concerned that is a flaw though, sometimes yancha is processed in that way to conceal the lower quality of the base material.

It's not the kind of fruitiness I typically associate with green oolongs like TGY or Gaoshan, and certainly nothing like the fruitiness of a Phoenix DC. It's primarily in the aroma of the wet leaves, and while it has a fruity quality to me, it could certainly be described as a deep, mineral sweetness.

Examples of mid-range yancha I've had in the past: Shui Jin Gui & Bai Ji Guan from Yunnan Sourcing, Old Tree Shui Xian & Wild Da Hong Pao from Tea Trekker.

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May 3rd, '17, 21:47
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Re: Do I not like Yancha?

by chrl42 » May 3rd, '17, 21:47

Fertilizers can increase the aroma and durability in brewing..but that's not what we are looking for in high-end Yanchas, it is not like TGY or Ginseng Oolong...

Good Yancha should focus on balance and 'Yan Yun (rock feel)'..sort of mineralized flavor that leaves with elegance, dignity.

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May 3rd, '17, 23:35
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Re: Do I not like Yancha?

by kyarazen » May 3rd, '17, 23:35

indeed.. what you have mentioned is the true spirit of top end yancha from the right microclimates

unfortunately the market often desires intense focussed aromatics on florals and fruits (which essentially can come from all sorts of oxidized oolongs from all places), than the artistic and refined characteristics that gave yancha a thousand year old admiration
chrl42 wrote: Fertilizers can increase the aroma and durability in brewing..but that's not what we are looking for in high-end Yanchas, it is not like TGY or Ginseng Oolong...

Good Yancha should focus on balance and 'Yan Yun (rock feel)'..sort of mineralized flavor that leaves with elegance, dignity.

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May 4th, '17, 00:20
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Re: Do I not like Yancha?

by jayinhk » May 4th, '17, 00:20

IMO good yancha should still have interesting aroma and flavor, but balanced with mouthfeel. The flavor and aroma should be more subtle, but more refined, and without flaws. I would consider yancha without any sort of interesting aroma or flavor to be subpar.

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May 4th, '17, 00:42
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Re: Do I not like Yancha?

by chrl42 » May 4th, '17, 00:42

jayinhk wrote: IMO good yancha should still have interesting aroma and flavor, but balanced with mouthfeel. The flavor and aroma should be more subtle, but more refined, and without flaws. I would consider yancha without any sort of interesting aroma or flavor to be subpar.
岩骨花香 (rock bone, fragnant aroma) is what describes Da Hong Pao, of course the aroma and flavor matter...just that Yan Yun aspect is not possible to imitate..IMO

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