How to review the quality of Wuyi rock tea

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


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Jul 28th, '17, 12:09
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How to review the quality of Wuyi rock tea

by ablecha » Jul 28th, '17, 12:09

After more than 10 years of drinking rock tea, I found it is little difficult to say clearly what is the good quality of rock tea for most of tea lovers, someone said that the suitable one is best one, really?
In this topic, I wish talking something about the info of wuyi rock tea with all friends, and have the idea from all of you, what is your most important review stardand for a good rock tea:
1, Aroma
2, Taste
3. Shape of tea

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Jul 28th, '17, 12:13
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Re: How to review the quality of Wuyi rock tea

by ablecha » Jul 28th, '17, 12:13

the carbon baking of Wuyi rock tea is the key procedure to form its unique aroma.
The quantity of baked tea, the thickness of ash as well as its temperature will affect the result of baking and the tea flavor.
So when drink rock tea, there is a little carbon flavor, that mean this tea need to be stock more time before brewing it.

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Jul 29th, '17, 04:59
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Re: How to review the quality of Wuyi rock tea

by tingjunkie » Jul 29th, '17, 04:59

For me, the most important quality is that the tea is chemical free and clean tasting. My body and mind must respond well to the energy of it.

After that, I look for a good level of roasting. I like high fired yancha, but not too far roasted obviously. The tea must have a good thick mouthfeel, with complex flavors, long aftertaste, and good aromas. Specifically I'm finding it's getting harder to find yancha that has that true mineral taste from the rocky terroir. Finally, I want the tea to have good stamina. Too many get weak after only 4-5 infusions.

Jul 29th, '17, 05:16
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Re: How to review the quality of Wuyi rock tea

by mael » Jul 29th, '17, 05:16

peony wrote: I think it is easy to view the quanlity of Wuyi rock tea due to I am according to my favorite taste to buy. The store https://www.jkteashop.com/ which I trust, they will recommend and also infrom me how to select and brew the good tea :D
Half of your message are advertising for this shop, it is not fine to act as a customer when you clearly are the owner of the shop.

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Jul 29th, '17, 07:48
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Re: How to review the quality of Wuyi rock tea

by William » Jul 29th, '17, 07:48

mael wrote:
peony wrote: I think it is easy to view the quanlity of Wuyi rock tea due to I am according to my favorite taste to buy. The store https://www.jkteashop.com/ which I trust, they will recommend and also infrom me how to select and brew the good tea :D
Half of your message are advertising for this shop, it is not fine to act as a customer when you clearly are the owner of the shop.
I was thinking the same thing!

Jul 29th, '17, 09:37
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Re: How to review the quality of Wuyi rock tea

by Bok » Jul 29th, '17, 09:37

ablecha wrote: After more than 10 years of drinking rock tea, I found it is little difficult to say clearly what is the good quality of rock tea for most of tea lovers, someone said that the suitable one is best one, really?
In this topic, I wish talking something about the info of wuyi rock tea with all friends, and have the idea from all of you, what is your most important review stardand for a good rock tea:
1, Aroma
2, Taste
3. Shape of tea
Shape is probably not the best indicator. But as others haved said, I would add stamina as an important factor. And how long it lasts after you had a cup.

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Jul 29th, '17, 09:39
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Re: How to review the quality of Wuyi rock tea

by kyarazen » Jul 29th, '17, 09:39

ablecha wrote: After more than 10 years of drinking rock tea, I found it is little difficult to say clearly what is the good quality of rock tea for most of tea lovers, someone said that the suitable one is best one, really?
In this topic, I wish talking something about the info of wuyi rock tea with all friends, and have the idea from all of you, what is your most important review stardand for a good rock tea:
1, Aroma
2, Taste
3. Shape of tea
if you're from the business.. how do you decide what to sell to consumers or describe to them? :shock:

Jul 29th, '17, 13:36
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Re: How to review the quality of Wuyi rock tea

by ethan » Jul 29th, '17, 13:36

Bok wrote: Shape is probably not the best indicator. But as others haved said, I would add stamina as an important factor. And how long it lasts after you had a cup.
+1 Bok
As I have said on Teachat often, if I try a tea and like it, how that tea looks (shape) is totally unimportant to me. As I've had more experience being serious about tea, stamina has taken on more importance. I enjoy knowing that leaves can provide "one more" infusion and then again "one more" etc.
I often don't think about how long flavor and the good feelings that come from good tea last until I notice the lack of them.
Because people will be using my bedroom when I am gone for 72 days, I am clearing out drawers etc. and finding packets with several grams or so of tea in them. Excellent but old teas are providing flavor but not many infusions and definitely much much less aftertaste. I get a somewhat "cheap" thrill. Quick flavor does not equal real tea-session satisfaction.

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Re: How to review the quality of Wuyi rock tea

by abnyc » Jul 30th, '17, 13:16

Get an ounce each of cheap (JK Tea for example :lol:, or Yunnan Sourcing) and expensive (Tea Urchin, Essence, etc.) of the same varietal (not DHP, which is a blend, or Shui Xian and Rou Gui, which vary dramatically, but maybe a Shui Jin Gui or Tie Luo Han), and drinking them in turn you'll start to see the difference between a good and boring Yancha.

Tastes and aromas of: musk/incense, dark spices (nutmeg, pepper, etc), metal/mineral are good signs.

Jul 30th, '17, 15:49
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Re: How to review the quality of Wuyi rock tea

by LouPepe » Jul 30th, '17, 15:49

abnyc wrote: Get an ounce each of cheap (JK Tea for example :lol:, or Yunnan Sourcing) and expensive (Tea Urchin, Essence, etc.) of the same varietal (not DHP, which is a blend, or Shui Xian and Rou Gui, which vary dramatically, but maybe a Shui Jin Gui or Tie Luo Han), and drinking them in turn you'll start to see the difference between a good and boring Yancha.




This is certainly the best approach as it would be with any tea. Of course we all know that higher price doesn't always equate to a better tea, but in most cases that rings true.

As is the case with dancong and puerh, there's a huge quality spectrum that runs from ultra young, pesticide and chemical fertilizer heavy bushes, to old growth, pristine environment (open to interpretation) trees. Learning to tell these two apart is every serous tea drinkers goal and priority, and it's not very difficult to develop the sensitivity to but it becomes much more difficult when you start closing the gap.

All this said, when your sources are online and from reputable vendors, you will usually be exposed to teas that run the lower medium to higher medium of that quality spectrum. So it's a little more difficult to tell the better quality teas from the inferior ones. But still not impossible. The high notes and complex flavors of fertilized teas on a graph would look like a high, flat cliff with a huge abrupt drop/decline followed by a relatively short duration of unimpressive flavor density. On the other hand, high-quality non-chemical fertilized older bush/tree teas on a graph would look like a tall cliff with a long gradual peak and decline.

Mouthfeel, back of mouth/throat feel are a huge sign of quality aside from flavors. Processing, always important too, and yancha should be drinkable out the gate without the roast getting too much in the way. Good tea does not need roast to hide the flaws :) It's consensus that it's best with a few years on it and up to 8-10 years. Many don't think it's better beyond that. So if you have rock wulong that tastes flat or still heavy on the roast within that time frame then you know it wasn't quality to begin with.

Tasting, tasting, tasting.. Being critical is important, but the beauty of excellent quality yancha is that it turns cheek to the critical eye.

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Aug 1st, '17, 06:24
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Re: How to review the quality of Wuyi rock tea

by john.b » Aug 1st, '17, 06:24

The main factor seems to be prior experience; if you've never tried a high quality version you would be surprised to stumble onto one, and would have trouble placing just how good it is. After trying a lot of better versions relating where they stand would be easier. I'm not claiming I've been through a lot of that cycle, just pointing out the obvious.

One easy way to improve your ability to judge the relative quality or aspects range of a tea is to taste it side by side with another version that you are familiar with, that you know is a good tea. Details that might be harder to place from memory, like comparing the feel of the tea to others, or the length of aftertaste, or relative complexity, etc., stand out more in comparison. As a general rule, per my experience, tasting more similar teas together works better, although once in awhile some contrast in aspects instead can be informative.

Tasting more than two teas together, or to some extent only tasting two, also comes at a cost, which also relates to the idea of not trying to taste different teas together. The more that I've got going on, the more I'm tasting, the more rush I'm in, or the more background noise is going on the less I experience of a tea. A friend once mentioned tasting in a meditative space or environment; that helps. I suspect my sense of taste and general awareness fluctuates to some degree across different times of the day, or on different days, but I don't try to compensate for that, I just notice differences in level of detail of what I pick up.

Really I just learn as I go related to trying teas, so I'm never completely sure how directly what I think or experience matches up with everyone else, I just go with what seems to work.

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Re: How to review the quality of Wuyi rock tea

by ethan » Aug 2nd, '17, 16:23

john.b wrote:
One easy way to improve your ability to judge the relative quality or aspects range of a tea is to taste it side by side with another version that you are familiar with, that you know is a good tea. Details that might be harder to place from memory, like comparing the feel of the tea to others, or the length of aftertaste, or relative complexity, etc., stand out more in comparison. As a general rule, per my experience, tasting more similar teas together works better,
That's good advice, John. Of course, life is a puzzle that never gets completed, and our assessment of tea is the same. When I first sampled a green tea, Drawer 41, I was thrilled to find a green tea that had everything that I was looking for in a green tea without characteristics that I dislike (bitterness). 20 minutes later I sampled Winterpeace that was all that Drawer 41 was, but somehow better in a vague way, and in a distinct way better by having a touch of light sweetness. The better tea cost 3 x as much. I bought both and thought I was wise to do so.

After half a year of drinking them both in quantity but never in the same month, I feel Drawer 41 is a better buy for those who like me who don't have a lot of $. The simple fact is that the cheaper tea is so good that I never miss the superiority and sweetness of the tea that cost 3 x as much.

Realizing that what matters most to me is being able to enjoygreatly what flavors are there in balance. E.g., the Himalayan Orange tea that I bought more than 2 years ago is now not wonderfully aromatic. I am aware that I don't feel like wonderful incense has blessed the room when I pour hot water on the leaves as I did before; but to have a wide range of floral and fruity wine flavors is quite enjoyable. Moreover, I have found that now that I don't try for that intense bomb of aroma use of boiling water for long steeping, to use cooler water for 15 - 30 second infusions provide a smoother, drink than the aromatic one of the tea when it was fresher. For me, great aroma is a bonus; flavor is much more important, and if essentially very satisfied, a relatively low price matters a lot.

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Aug 3rd, '17, 01:19
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Re: How to review the quality of Wuyi rock tea

by ablecha » Aug 3rd, '17, 01:19

In this topic, I wish talking something about the info of wuyi rock tea with all friends, and have the idea from all of you, what is your most important review stardand for a good rock tea:
1, Aroma
2, Taste
3. Shape of tea
[/quote]

if you're from the business.. how do you decide what to sell to consumers or describe to them? :shock:
[/quote]

Being a business, or being a drinker consumer, the basic of quality level are same. There are a strict set of reviewing stand. While there are something special for every one, such as I like stronger tasting, while My friend likes light one with flower aroma. How about Share your preferences?

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Aug 3rd, '17, 02:52
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Re: How to review the quality of Wuyi rock tea

by ablecha » Aug 3rd, '17, 02:52

tingjunkie wrote: Specifically I'm finding it's getting harder to find yancha that has that true mineral taste from the rocky terroir. Finally, I want the tea to have good stamina. Too many get weak after only 4-5 infusions.
That is truth, most of Yancha sold worldwide are not from Zheng Yan area, even in China local, same like that. But If the rock tea with true mineral taste and more infusions, its quality and price should be higher much.

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Re: How to review the quality of Wuyi rock tea

by john.b » Aug 3rd, '17, 03:39

ethan wrote:
Realizing that what matters most to me is being able to enjoy greatly what flavors are there in balance. E.g., the Himalayan Orange tea that I bought more than 2 years ago is now not wonderfully aromatic... For me, great aroma is a bonus; flavor is much more important, and if essentially very satisfied, a relatively low price matters a lot.
It's been interesting discussing variances in how one interprets a tea over time with you (not really mentioned in this quote), about personal observation changing. I still haven't sorted out the causes of subjective interpretation variances in tasting teas, pinning down how much change is in external factors and how much just relates to me, or why, but I'm closing in on narrowing it down enough to just leave it alone, to accept it.

Relating to this main question, how to evaluate quality, at some level of interpretation it just doesn't describe well how that works. One compares teas to other versions they've tried, or compares directly, and the coarser the differences the easier it is to specify them, and the opposite is also true. At some point aspect groupings like balance and complexity become hard to describe.

To back up a bit, the idea of value or lack of value in describing teas in detail comes up from time to time. As a tea blogger one might expect I'm on the side of there being lots of meaning in lots of description but it's not necessarily so. One can pass on a bit about how a tea comes across but at some level it just can't be described, and that level seems to be what this question is asking about. Some really nice Wuyi Yancha have a aromatic quality to them, or what I run across Chinese vendors referring to as "aroma," but what different people mean by aroma versus taste may or may not be consistent. I'll skip the part about talking through taste (versus flavor) sensation in the tongue versus detecting aromatic components in the rear lower nasal passages here but I think that's only a related part of what's going on, and not necessarily most of the story at all. To make a long story short, well beyond issues related to consistency in use of terms it's hard to clearly describe the experience of different teas.

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