What Oolong Are You Drinking

Semi-oxidized tea
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Victoria
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Sat Oct 05, 2019 1:43 pm

Wow, many Alishan posts lately :) .
Having Tillerman’s Laoshi Spring 2019 DongDing. It is quite a bit thinner than last winter’s. Empty cup aroma is rich though. Some plum notes came thorough in dry leaf but thankfully that didn’t translate into steeped liquor. Although I prefer a more robust roast, and this one is lighter in character than winter 2018, the flavors presented are pleasantly rounded out and working together nicely.
Ethan Kurland
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Sun Oct 06, 2019 1:35 pm

Moving south a hundred km or so to Shanlinxi for the gaoshan that I call Perfect. I named this for its quality (flavors & flexibility) & its value. The tea from this Spring has opened up its flavors & settled well. For many teas I drink half of each infusion by themselves & drink the other halves of the infusions combined together. I prefer drinking all of each infusion for this Spring's Shanlinxi. Using about 4 grams of leaves for 150 ml of 95C water in a cheap, glazed low-fired teapot from northern Thailand, I've been steeping for 20 - 30 seconds. This way the 1st infusion is light, tasty, & complex w/ no one taste dominating the infusion; the 2nd infusion has been led by sweetness; the 3rd led by the vegetal flavor.

In quality the 1st infusion rivals much more expensive dayuling & foushoushan, whether I steep this quickly or longer. Longer steeping times for 2nd & 3rd infusions are not as much to my liking as staying under 30 seconds. For me, the polite vegetal flavor may become bitter or on the edge of bitterness. (Other drinkers have told me that I am wrong; I have often called something bitter that others have called sweet or even unami. Others employ much different parameters than mine).

For me 3 infusions is the limit for this. That compares to about 9 for DYL or FSS; however, they cost > 3x the cost of SLX per gram. So, I think Perfect is the right name.

Why bother w/ DYL & FSS? What a ?! Anyway, I think I will no longer buy FSS. I don't need to indulge myself with DYL & FSS. What a lack of humility to not settle for "perfect"! Is one seeking nirvana via a cup of tea?

Enough musing. Cheers
carogust
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Tue Oct 08, 2019 3:30 am

Today I had an "experimental" yancha session with the 2018 wuyi origin shuixian (that I've posted about too many times probably).
Instead of the more widely suggested small pot brewing with lots of leaf, I decided to use a large porcelain mug as my brewing vessel pouring into a pitcher using my normal cup.
I've mentioned quite a few times that I don't think high ratio, small pot brewing might be all that much better, so this was to confirm my preference on that subject.

Following parameters were used: 5 grams, ~200ml (I did not fill the mug completely, meaning it was hard to get the exact amount of water) and 2:30/5:00/6:00 brew times. And after 3 brews moved to grampa style brewing (was getting bored of the hassle and mess). I did not have any "proper" large brewing devices so I had to use the mug...

Well, this just confirmed my suspicions. The tea is not any worse. Definitely very different but still very recognizable. I'd say that the "balance" of tastes is shifted but everything is still there.
In some ways it is better. Tastes are more "grounded" and not as ephemeral. First steep had pleasant mouthfeel with a profile of minerals & grape fruit skin. Some very satisfying notes like a very pure resin sweetness emerged later on. Still thick and very soapy/oily.
As with my previous attempts, the tea still rebrews fairly solidly. Steeps 2-3 were definitely not lacking.
One thing that was missing was as strong of an aftertaste but I attribute it more to the lack of a clay brewing vessel. I've tried this tea a few times in porcelain gaiwans and the same problem is present. Heck, maybe I need to get a larger yixing! (always good to have an excuse for more teaware!)
A nice thing is that you don't have to mess with brewing as much either. More drinking and less brewing.
One last thing is that the difference in heat retention is staggering. I burnt my tongue as I did not wait at all before pouring my first cup and tasting. A small pot can cool down in a 30 second steep quite a lot seemingly. Between steeps the vessel managed to stay hotter as well while a small teapot cools down pretty much in a few minutes with no water inside.
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Shine Magical
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Tue Oct 08, 2019 9:43 am

I’m really tea drunk right now. Hahahaha. This tea is always amazing.

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Bok
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Tue Oct 08, 2019 9:51 pm

Second time a friend is graciously sharing his Baijiguan Yancha with me. Real Baijiguan is excruciatingly expensive, so most on the market are fake.

It is unlike any other Yancha I ever had, in fact – if I wasn’t told, I would not even be sure what exactly it is. It is an explosion of fragrances! Very, very fragrant. I am not good with making flavour descriptions, suffice to say there is a lot going on with this tea. Not dry, subtle, like most other Yancha I have tasted. I would say it is closer to quality Dancong in its intensity and exuberance. Look up Teaism’s blog entry on it(https://teaism99.com/2017/02/11/bai-ji-quan/), which describes it much better than I just did, spot on what I was experiencing.

A beautiful tea, hard to forget and easy to identify once you had it once. Although I now I best forget about it, as this tea is out of my league financially…
Ethan Kurland
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Tue Oct 08, 2019 10:26 pm

Caroguest, you write so beautifully! I assume English is your second language because you live in Finland, but there is no sign of that in your writing. David, I'd love to drink that tea.

Roasting tea well takes so much work to do properly. My favorite roasted tea (yes, the one I sell as well as drink) is held over charcoal in small bamboo baskets that are moved to different spots above the heat so the roast is even & efficient. This is done as needed, "needed" in the sense of optimum results, every 20 - 30 minutes for 2 - 3 days. So much work. So, I guess there are reasons for a tea to get to dollars per gram rather than dollars per ounce. Yet, like Bok, I can't afford going beyond ….

The tea that you describe sounds like one that most of us would like or love. A no brainer. In comparison I refer to Father's Love, aged 5 years which sort of merges all of the flavors in a way that is not as easy to appreciate as a tea that has many recognizable, distinct flavors. In fact though I always enjoyed it, I did not drink it for about a year because I thought that at about $1 & some pennies per gram, it was wasted on me. Now I thrive on it! (& really it is cost per cup not per gram that matters).
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tjkdubya
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Tue Oct 08, 2019 11:19 pm

@Bok one of the best teas I've had the last couple years was a baijiguan, a 2011. With some careful age on it, it was gorgeous. Yes, out of my league... Well, a tea like that once a year, maybe doable. How to forget something unforgettable?
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Bok
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Tue Oct 08, 2019 11:56 pm

tjkdubya wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 11:19 pm
How to forget something unforgettable?
That is a challenge indeed! The one I had was fresher than yours, I think I would have preferred it with some age on it like the one you had.
I guess let's just be grateful to have good friends, who share this kind of treasures...
carogust
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Wed Oct 09, 2019 5:59 am

Ethan Kurland wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 10:26 pm
Caroguest, you write so beautifully! I assume English is your second language because you live in Finland, but there is no sign of that in your writing.
That's really nice to hear because I fear my writing being pretentious, unclear or bad in some other way :)
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