What Oolong Are You Drinking

Semi-oxidized tea
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teatray
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Wed Jul 27, 2022 6:56 pm

@Baisao Haven't tried them, thanks for the rec. I should experiment more with EU suppliers, but no great finds after a few tries, and it just seems cheaper to buy from Asia. Comparing what EU shops charge for some larger Japanese brands with global availability (Horii Shichimeien, Marukyu Koyamaen, etc.) has been eye-opening. If you are buying 2-3 mid-range matcha cans, you can already save money by ordering directly from Japan (that's incl. shipping via EMS/DHL and paying full VAT).
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Baisao
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Wed Jul 27, 2022 9:06 pm

teatray wrote:
Wed Jul 27, 2022 6:56 pm
Baisao Haven't tried them, thanks for the rec. I should experiment more with EU suppliers, but no great finds after a few tries, and it just seems cheaper to buy from Asia. Comparing what EU shops charge for some larger Japanese brands with global availability (Horii Shichimeien, Marukyu Koyamaen, etc.) has been eye-opening. If you are buying 2-3 mid-range matcha cans, you can already save money by ordering directly from Japan (that's incl. shipping via EMS/DHL and paying full VAT).
Some EU shops charge an arm and a leg for sure. Bear in mind that matcha pricing might be different because of its recent popularity as a health food in the West.
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LeoFox
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Thu Jul 28, 2022 6:26 am

Lazycat put up something very premium this year:

https://www.lazycattea.com/product/special-rougui-2021/
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debunix
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Tue Aug 02, 2022 10:14 am

Spring 2022 Competition-style Baozhong from Floating Leaves: this was a free sample from a recent order when I stocked up on their lovely Alishan black. After having a very nice session with this tea in a small gaiwan, I used the rest of the sample in my 2 L thermos for a day at the office where I have no facilities to prepare tea. I'd already used a gram or two for the little gaiwan session, and I was astonished to find that the tea was a bit too concentrated for best enjoyment, and I had to dilute it a bit to get back to that very pleasing baozhong smooth rich aroma and taste. Powerful stuff from little leaf. I'm working on finishing off the rest of it this morning.
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teatray
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Thu Aug 04, 2022 10:17 pm

Spring 2022 Sang Ceng Ping Gaoshan via Sazen.

The vendor says:
Sang Ceng Ping is the tea garden area between Shan Lin Xi and Ali Shan, reaching 1600m above sea level in Yilan County, Taiwan.
... can this be true? It does not look like any point of Yilan County is between Ali Shan and SLX? Or maybe the initial source meant by altitude (which would not be entirely correct either).

Pleasant in the beginning, but nothing special, a bit unrefined and lacking depth. A long first brew of 2-3 mins seemed to improve things a bit, so that's how I brewed most of the bag. Gets surprisingly better after a few infusions, with nice aromas deeper in the leaf, no staleness, a nice minerality. Did not think it would be a tea that lasts more than a few infusions, but happy it does since it's my last gaoshan for a while.
Chadrinkincat
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Thu Aug 04, 2022 11:08 pm

LeoFox wrote:
Thu Jul 28, 2022 6:26 am
Lazycat put up something very premium this year:

https://www.lazycattea.com/product/special-rougui-2021/
:shock:
Andrew S
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Thu Aug 04, 2022 11:17 pm

Chadrinkincat wrote:
Thu Aug 04, 2022 11:08 pm
LeoFox wrote:
Thu Jul 28, 2022 6:26 am
Lazycat put up something very premium this year:

https://www.lazycattea.com/product/special-rougui-2021/
:shock:
I wish that there were at least some photos of dry and wet leaves... But that is a criticism that I can make of lots of vendors (especially those who sell yancha or old/wet puer).

I look forward to trying some lazy cats (not this one), once they make their way to me (I believe they have been affected by the Shanghai lockdown).

Andrew
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Bok
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Fri Aug 05, 2022 12:17 am

teatray wrote:
Thu Aug 04, 2022 10:17 pm
Spring 2022 Sang Ceng Ping Gaoshan via Sazen.

The vendor says:
Sang Ceng Ping is the tea garden area between Shan Lin Xi and Ali Shan, reaching 1600m above sea level in Yilan County, Taiwan.
... can this be true? It does not look like any point of Yilan County is between Ali Shan and SLX? Or maybe the initial source meant by altitude (which would not be entirely correct either).

Pleasant in the beginning, but nothing special, a bit unrefined and lacking depth. A long first brew of 2-3 mins seemed to improve things a bit, so that's how I brewed most of the bag. Gets surprisingly better after a few infusions, with nice aromas deeper in the leaf, no staleness, a nice minerality. Did not think it would be a tea that lasts more than a few infusions, but happy it does since it's my last gaoshan for a while.
Yilan is not known for good tea, often sold as Gaoshan from elsewhere, but as you noted it lacks depth. It rains too often there, not really suitable for high quality tea.
Ethan Kurland
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Fri Aug 05, 2022 12:22 am

teatray wrote:
Thu Aug 04, 2022 10:17 pm
... Did not think it would be a tea that lasts more than a few infusions, but happy it does since it's my last gaoshan for a while.
I know nothing about this tea. I am just noting that in Taiwan a lot of tea is rolled into large, tight pearls that often do not unfurl easily. Did the leaves take a long time to unfurl & enlarge?
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teatray
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Fri Aug 05, 2022 2:25 am

Ethan Kurland wrote:
Fri Aug 05, 2022 12:22 am
teatray wrote:
Thu Aug 04, 2022 10:17 pm
... Did not think it would be a tea that lasts more than a few infusions, but happy it does since it's my last gaoshan for a while.
I know nothing about this tea. I am just noting that in Taiwan a lot of tea is rolled into large, tight pearls that often do not unfurl easily. Did the leaves take a long time to unfurl & enlarge?
Didn't notice anything unusual. Went to have a look at the pearls but turns out not a single one left.
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teatray
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Fri Aug 05, 2022 8:55 pm

Tried four Spring 2022 oolongs from three producers via Tillerman (received some time ago but wanted to compare with other 2022 oolongs before posting).
  • Chen Huan Tang (Laoshi): Qilai [79¢/g], Meishan [44¢/g]
  • Zhang Xie Zhu: Lishan [67¢/g]
  • Chen Kuan Lin (Andy): Phoenix Village Dong Ding Mild Roasted [48¢/g]
(prices for 2oz=57g packs with free int'l shipping >$75)

The Qilai's first infusion intrigued me with a nice peachy fruitiness but was flat otherwise. Following infusions were a faint memory of the first with nothing to add. Session left me with an unpleasant oily feeling.

The rest were weak, lacking character even when pushed. The Lishan delivered few of the typical attibutes I've come to associate with the region as a beginner (tried half a dozen LS/FSS/DYL in all). There were none of the alluring, singing gaoshan notes, giving that easy, creamy feeling, for me.

I felt something like staleness in all of the teas, despite the fact that they come from different sources: a kind of woody/papery/broccoli aroma that also transferred in taste. Whatever caused it, maybe it just flattened all good qualitites the teas had originally. I wonder if it's the result of some common transport or storage conditions before final packaging, or maybe the plastic-lined paper bags it came in killed it by leaking stuff (triggered by summer heat or other exposure during the 26-day postal journey perhaps).

I had only tried tea that is vacuum-packed in Taiwan previously and I guess that is what I'll be sticking to. Others here have had much better experience with this vendor. (In the US, it seems like a no-brainer to give them a go with shorter & free shipping. You'll either be satisfied or get a useful reference point.)
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Baisao
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Fri Aug 05, 2022 9:46 pm

@teatray, 2022 was not a good year for most of Taiwan. Maybe revisit Taiwan in 2023.
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LeoFox
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Fri Aug 05, 2022 10:04 pm

I had similar experience with 2020 winter - which was also a bad season. May benefit from harder parameters - do closer to 7g/100 ml - and start closer to 1 minute ( assuming no rinse), followed by 1 minute again and then increase time significantly. Don't expect more than 5 brews- but push these teas hard to bring the flavor out
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debunix
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Sat Aug 06, 2022 10:53 am

I'm enjoying a Spring 2022 Shan Lin Xi or SunLinkSea from MountainTea.com. I don't know if this tea is a pale shadow of it's better years self, but a first very casual grandpa style infusion was remarkably floral in a first short infusion, and then a second overnight infusion brought out more of the lasting richness and depth typical of high mountain gaoshan. Quick googling suggests it's been almost 10 years since I had another Shan Lin Xi, and I can't drag any taste-memory of that tea to match what I'm exploring now. I need to try this one more carefully and I've got 100 grams to experiment with and enjoy.
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Victoria
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Sat Aug 06, 2022 1:24 pm

teatray wrote:
Fri Aug 05, 2022 8:55 pm
Tried four Spring 2022 oolongs from three producers via Tillerman (received some time ago but wanted to compare with other 2022 oolongs before posting).
  • Chen Huan Tang (Laoshi): Qilai [79¢/g], Meishan [44¢/g]
  • Zhang Xie Zhu: Lishan [67¢/g]
  • Chen Kuan Lin (Andy): Phoenix Village Dong Ding Mild Roasted [48¢/g]
(prices for 2oz=57g packs with free int'l shipping >$75)

The Qilai's first infusion intrigued me with a nice peachy fruitiness but was flat otherwise. Following infusions were a faint memory of the first with nothing to add. Session left me with an unpleasant oily feeling.

The rest were weak, lacking character even when pushed. The Lishan delivered few of the typical attibutes I've come to associate with the region as a beginner (tried half a dozen LS/FSS/DYL in all). There were none of the alluring, singing gaoshan notes, giving that easy, creamy feeling, for me.

I felt something like staleness in all of the teas, despite the fact that they come from different sources: a kind of woody/papery/broccoli aroma that also transferred in taste. Whatever caused it, maybe it just flattened all good qualitites the teas had originally. I wonder if it's the result of some common transport or storage conditions before final packaging, or maybe the plastic-lined paper bags it came in killed it by leaking stuff (triggered by summer heat or other exposure during the 26-day postal journey perhaps).

I had only tried tea that is vacuum-packed in Taiwan previously and I guess that is what I'll be sticking to. Others here have had much better experience with this vendor. (In the US, it seems like a no-brainer to give them a go with shorter & free shipping. You'll either be satisfied or get a useful reference point.)
At a tasting this past Sunday I shared one of the teas you received - Qilaishan Gaoshan Cha (Laoshi) Chunji 2022 (Qilai Mountain High Mountain – Laoshi – Spring 2022). All six participants were very impressed by the this special oolong finding it rich in complexity, having nuanced layered notes and longevity through many steeps. I ordered 8oz of this tea trusting Tillerman’s price point to quality, and he delivered. Used filtered spring water, porcelain kyusu, steeped 7-8g/120ml/210f/+~1.25min. Maybe @teatray you had an off tasting, your body, your water, or this type of oolong isn’t your thing? Not sure which teas you mostly gravitate towards.

I’ve been enjoying and re-ordered Tillerman’s winter 2021 Lishan finding it buttery rich and aromatic. Haven’t tried Andy’s DongDing, but did order Laoshi spring 2022 DD, didn’t try yet though. No issues with staleness even though his oolong aren’t vacu-sealed. The packaging works fine as long as packs are kept sealed after opening. Hope you find a sweet spot with these teas tweaking your steeping as needed to suit your palate.

Since you are in Bulgaria, you might order directly from HYChen. His light/medium/high charcoal roasted DongDing and other oolong are grown organically and in my opinion are superb. His are vacuum sealed in 25g packs.
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