What Oolong Are You Drinking

Semi-oxidized tea
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Victoria
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Mon Jun 20, 2022 10:00 am

@debunix glad to hear you’ve found backups for Norbu’s red Alishan. I still have a vacu-sealed 150ml block of it that I’m happy to share with you when I’m back. I got it when he was closing shop on your recommendation.

Today sipping on @Tillerman‘s Wenshan Bao Zhong spring 2021. It perfectly aligned with the day, flowers blooming everywhere and the breezy weather is an ideal 75° F on the waterfront. This Bao Zhong is very floral and has a pleasant elegant lightness about it, while carrying plenty of flavor. It is a nice counterpoint to his thick buttery more stone fruity Lishan.

Over the past few days I’ve been trying to describe to myself the difference, flavor/texture/aroma wise, of Muzha vs DongDing. Having difficulty articulating it other than DongDing has more depth, complexity, and viscosity. Anyone, care to share their experiences?

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Tillerman
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Mon Jun 20, 2022 10:26 am

Hi @Victoria, when comparing TGY to Dong Ding, look at the way the acid in the tea hits your tongue. The TGY should give a sharp line of acidity that hits at the base of the tongue and moves forward. With the Dong Ding, the acid is higher in the mouth and not as sharp. I'm not good at most of the non-structural descriptors so I tend not to use them too often.

The spring teas have arrived now and they are good; definitely a bit lighter and more floral than the winter tea.
Ethan Kurland
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Mon Jun 20, 2022 11:43 am

Tillerman wrote:
Mon Jun 20, 2022 10:26 am
.... I'm not good at most of the non-structural descriptors so I tend not to use them too often.

The spring teas have arrived now and they are good; definitely a bit lighter and more floral than the winter tea.
Having any effective way to identify differences in teas is great. Good to know what works for you & to go w/ it. I think many of us think that your writing is helpful & easy to understand.
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Tillerman
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Mon Jun 20, 2022 11:55 am

Thank you for @Ethan Kurland for your kind comments.
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debunix
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Tue Jun 21, 2022 9:46 am

Victoria wrote:
Mon Jun 20, 2022 10:00 am
debunix glad to hear you’ve found backups for Norbu’s red Alishan. I still have a vacu-sealed 150ml block of it that I’m happy to share with you when I’m back. I got it when he was closing shop on your recommendation.
No need, but thanks for the throught. I actually still have more of that one then I realized, and with finding others that will serve very well in some of the key situations where I craved it (so so good sparkling chilled), it will last me a good while yet.
Victoria wrote:
Mon Jun 20, 2022 10:00 am
Today sipping on @Tillerman‘s Wenshan Bao Zhong spring 2021. It perfectly aligned with the day, flowers blooming everywhere and the breezy weather is an ideal 75° F on the waterfront. This Bao Zhong is very floral and has a pleasant elegant lightness about it, while carrying plenty of flavor. It is a nice counterpoint to his thick buttery more stone fruity Lishan.
I've been enjoying that very same tea a lot the last few weeks, as it's the one light roast oolong that I'm allowing myself to have open at the moment. I enjoy it grandpa style often, and it works well as a starter for the early morning on days when I have to heat the kettle to full boil for a large thermos of tea for work. I pour a bowl of this and then use the rest of the kettle to fill the thermos; it doesn't work quite to neatly when I'm trying to heat to lower temps for sencha and then boil for the thermos. That's the program again this morning. It's a lovely delicate floral tea that reminds a taiwanese tea doesn't have to come from the highest elevation to be wonderful.
faj
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Tue Jun 21, 2022 10:28 am

debunix wrote:
Tue Jun 21, 2022 9:46 am
it works well as a starter for the early morning on days when I have to heat the kettle to full boil for a large thermos of tea for work.
Your comments remind me of how we adjust our tea routines to the requirements of our work lives, and how this changes our experience

The work I perform is mostly independent of where I am located. It's me and my laptop against the world, and with videoconferencing software now my main communication tool, I don't even need or have a phone line. I can be anywhere, but in practice I work from a few specific places : home, and the office. My morning routine is getting up and starting to work right away while the house is calm. I do not leave the house at any specific time. I am going to have tea and breakfast at some point, and at some point I am going to leave the house, when it is convenient. Working at a desk in a closed office and being a "paperless" kind of guy, my office furniture is mostly occupied by tea-related stuff, and my whole day is spent with a teapot and cup on my desk, making an infusion once in a while (almost never in very quick succession). With my kettle literally within arm's reach without even rotating my chair, I prepare tea even while making calls. My tea sessions overlap my whole day, giving it some kind of a rhythm or structure. There are both good sides and bad sides to that I guess.
ChihuahuaTea
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Tue Jun 21, 2022 4:08 pm

It’s called a Formosa Oolong

I don’t know anything about it, my first time trying oolong (new to tea generally)
I like the style, I think oolong is in the sweet spot for what I would like in the mornings. I am looking forward to learning more about this type of tea and trying different versions.

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Bok
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Tue Jun 21, 2022 6:08 pm

ChihuahuaTea wrote:
Tue Jun 21, 2022 4:08 pm
It’s called a Formosa Oolong

I don’t know anything about it, my first time trying oolong (new to tea generally)
I like the style, I think oolong is in the sweet spot for what I would like in the mornings. I am looking forward to learning more about this type of tea and trying different versions.

Picture for effect
Image
Formosa is another word used for Taiwan. Formosa oolong as such is a generic word, or covers a huge variety of Taiwanese oolongs, which can range from the more oxidised/roasted teas like yours (judging by the colour of your liquid) to greener versions of Oolong.

Oolong is probably the largest and most divers category of tea. So you’ll have a lot of questions and discoveries along the way. Before you ask any, do a little research on the basic terms ;)
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mbanu
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Tue Jun 21, 2022 6:37 pm

Some "Royal Red Robe" from Mark T. Wendell. Dahongpao is sort of the English Breakfast of Chinese tea, in that it can be almost anything nowadays, but this is nice oolong that has been stored dry. A little flat but with those new aromatic notes that tend to show up when an oolong is stored dry but before it has faded away.
Andrew S
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Wed Jun 22, 2022 2:11 am

Victoria wrote:
Mon Jun 20, 2022 10:00 am
Over the past few days I’ve been trying to describe to myself the difference, flavor/texture/aroma wise, of Muzha vs DongDing. Having difficulty articulating it other than DongDing has more depth, complexity, and viscosity. Anyone, care to share their experiences?
Tillerman wrote:
Mon Jun 20, 2022 10:26 am
Hi Victoria, when comparing TGY to Dong Ding, look at the way the acid in the tea hits your tongue. The TGY should give a sharp line of acidity that hits at the base of the tongue and moves forward. With the Dong Ding, the acid is higher in the mouth and not as sharp. I'm not good at most of the non-structural descriptors so I tend not to use them too often.
Something that's struck me about a few tieguanyin teas that I've had very recently has been the sense of 'salinity' that I get from them, for want of a better expression. I haven't noticed that before the last few weeks, but that may be because I don't drink much tieguanyin generally, and perhaps because most of it isn't really tieguanyin at all.

Muzha tieguanyin does seem to have some acidity as well, a 'narrower' or 'sharper' overall presentation, but I wonder to what extent that kind of thing is related to processing style, or cultivar, or location. I've associated acidity with the style and level of oxidation, but perhaps I am mistaken.

In my very limited experience, a reference to 'Muzha tieguanyin' seems to denote a style involving a decent amount of oxidation and well-integrated roast, whereas a reference to 'Dong Ding' seems to refer to a location where styles vary quite widely in terms of roast and oxidation, apart from just being a bit or a lot darker than most high mountain tea.

I'd be interested to hear other people's thoughts on that as well. I don't drink nearly enough of that kind of tea to venture any useful opinions, though I do enjoy drinking them (and I'm currently finishing my little bag of the '28 hour roasted Mr Chen' Dong Ding from TheTea in a big pot).

By the way, Victoria, your lovely scene really does seem to demand some kind of fresh baozhong or high mountain tea...

Andrew
Andrew S
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Thu Jun 23, 2022 5:04 am

Today's morning tea: Winter 2020 high mountain old bush wild tieguanyin, courtesy of Maple.

A very nice and strong feeling to this tea for me; potent and relaxing, without being calming, if that makes any sense.

Lovely deep but fresh flavours as well, of course. I think it easily got to around fifteen or so infusions.

And as before, a certain kind of refreshing upfront 'salinity' that I'm starting to detect in tieguanyin, now that I'm trying a few nice ones and probably paying more attention to such things than I did in the past.

Andrew
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debunix
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Sat Jun 25, 2022 2:56 am

After a few weeks with fruitier red oolongs, floral high mountain oolongs, and shou auer in heavy rotation, some 2017 Shui Xian from Old Ways Tea, a lovely traditional roast Wuyi oolong went over with quite a splash today, even thermos brewed: bright, smooth*, earthy, deep and lovely.

* One of my tea loving colleagues specifically said “smooth!” On her first sip.
ChihuahuaTea
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Sun Jun 26, 2022 1:25 pm

I am enjoying this one very much. Can taste the honey notes for a little sweetness in the morning.

One note:
The bag says steep for just a very short period.
I tried steeping it for a very short time and it really did not take on much color, nor did it have much flavor.
I am putting the leaves in a mesh bag and just using a pot (I don’t have a gaiwan set).
I let it steep for a couple of minutes and it reached this color.
I do not know if I made a mistake or if that is fine.
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debunix
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Sun Jun 26, 2022 1:35 pm

Phoenix Oolongs can be tricky things. Too short and not enough flavor, too long and some of the most interesting can get quite bitter. If you get the infusion to a point where you like it, that's always a success. I usually do these fairly dilute and a series of very short infusions to get them how I like them.
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teatray
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Mon Jun 27, 2022 10:36 am

Still very much a Taiwanese oolong newb, but I've now tried one or more examples of the most common types. Just finished my first Hojo order, incl. the 5 Taiwanese teas in it (Li Shan, Tie Guan Yin, lightly-roasted Dong Ding Jin Xuan, Cui Feng, Ali Shan). All nice (maybe the Li Shan was not as great as the rest), but the standout among them was, surprisingly, the Ali Shan. My perception so far (based on just a couple of examples) was that Ali Shans lacked some of the special, complex "high notes" found in higher-altitude teas (and even some lower-altitude) but sometimes made up for it with enjoyable "dessert notes" (cake, vanilla, milk, spices, depending on cultivar). The one I got from Hojo (a Qing Xin Oolong) was really special. It had everything: from the high notes to the deeper dessert notes. The feeling after drinking it was just excellent. It completely grabbed my attention and didn't let me think of another tea until I finished the whole pack (30g but I suspect the same would've happend with a larger one). This rarely happens & made me appreciate that I'm not necessarily looking for a tea from any specific region, just a very good tea. I'm happy I gave this one a try. It (along with a Chinese White and maybe also the Dong Ding) are the reason I already reordered.
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