Yancha issues

Semi-oxidized tea
theredbaron
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Wed Nov 14, 2018 3:23 am

Bok wrote:
Tue Nov 13, 2018 6:33 pm
I do not know Mr Lim, but I wouldn’t expect to find the same quality online as a knowledgeable tea person living in the region ;)

Lim Ping Xiang is a tea master in KL, Malaysia, and an expert in Yancha (and Liu Bao, and Pu Erh). Yancha however is his love. He has been traveling and researching to Wu Yi Shan since decades, and been on a mission to re-introduce great Yancha. His Yancha collection is beyond believe
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Bok
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Wed Nov 14, 2018 3:27 am

theredbaron wrote:
Wed Nov 14, 2018 3:23 am
Bok wrote:
Tue Nov 13, 2018 6:33 pm
I do not know Mr Lim, but I wouldn’t expect to find the same quality online as a knowledgeable tea person living in the region ;)

Lim Ping Xiang is a tea master in KL, Malaysia, and an expert in Yancha (and Liu Bao, and Pu Erh). Yancha however is his love. He has been traveling and researching to Wu Yi Shan since decades, and been on a mission to re-introduce great Yancha. His Yancha collection is beyond believe
No wonder you can’t find the same quality!
theredbaron
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Wed Nov 14, 2018 3:31 am

OldWaysTea wrote:
Tue Nov 13, 2018 6:16 pm

Quite possibly it is what is available on the western market. These days there is huge demand for expensive Yancha in China, which has pushed up prices. I can get zhenyan yancha but I don't usually offer it in my shop for a few reasons; one of which is cost.

I have not yet tried the teas you offer in your shop. After a lot of disappointments and wasted money i am now very reluctant to buy any Yancha again from any place, sadly. My last try now over the net and from the distance is a place previously got very good Yancha from, and where i did not buy for some years, but i do not know if their quality has suffered over the years, or if they still carry the same quality.

But as a seller, and involved in growing as well, how would you see this? Is it just the roasting and a trend towards llighter roasts, or is it also that better quality is now so expensive and in such demand in China that it is now too difficult and/or expensive to sell good quality Yancha?

Which would be a shame, as Yancha was my first love with Chinese tea and i find that good Yancha is by far my favourite Chinese tea.
theredbaron
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Wed Nov 14, 2018 3:33 am

Bok wrote:
Wed Nov 14, 2018 3:27 am




No wonder you can’t find the same quality!
He is not a tea seller, but through him i got access to some seriously good Yancha.
But there were still very good Yancha available in the open market, which i find missing in most internet shops nowadays.
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Kale
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Wed Nov 14, 2018 6:01 am

Well, heavy roast often doesn’t make sense for high quality leaves (mostly Zhengyan) as it reduces the total weight of the outcome due to breakage of leaves etc. Also, those who seek Zhengyan teas are often interested in the yun which is actually more intense in greener yancha. When you roast more you risk in “losing” the yun though the outcome might be more mellow and with better mouthfeel.

theredbaron wrote:
Wed Nov 14, 2018 3:20 am



I have never bought Yancha from Essence of Tea, but they source from the same sources i get my good Yancha from, and so i know that their Yancha is good.
What has insipred me to write this post is actually a recent parcel from one of the other sellers you mentioned (i do not want to name them here, as i do not want to harm their business). While the leaves of their top range were OK, i found that their roasting was not. I was very disappointed.
theredbaron
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Wed Nov 14, 2018 7:14 am

Kale wrote:
Wed Nov 14, 2018 6:01 am
Well, heavy roast often doesn’t make sense for high quality leaves (mostly Zhengyan) as it reduces the total weight of the outcome due to breakage of leaves etc. Also, those who seek Zhengyan teas are often interested in the yun which is actually more intense in greener yancha. When you roast more you risk in “losing” the yun though the outcome might be more mellow and with better mouthfeel.


Personally i quite disagree with this trend and fashion of ever more green semi-fermented teas. Best example for me is Ti Kuan Yin, which once was a very different tea, and much better, in my view.
Aging Yancha improved the tea as well, but that is not possible with greener Yancha - instead of adding depth it just turns flat.
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Bok
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Wed Nov 14, 2018 7:41 am

theredbaron wrote:
Wed Nov 14, 2018 3:31 am
But as a seller, and involved in growing as well, how would you see this? Is it just the roasting and a trend towards llighter roasts, or is it also that better quality is now so expensive and in such demand in China that it is now too difficult and/or expensive to sell good quality Yancha?
Probably a bit of both.

What I am hearing among tea people in Taiwan is that demand in China has indeed grown quite a bit. The amount of people with very deep pockets in China does not make the situation any better. The protected status of the area by the gov seems also to have played a part in making the good stuff even more scarce and desirable.
theredbaron
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Wed Nov 14, 2018 7:52 am

Bok wrote:
Wed Nov 14, 2018 7:41 am

Probably a bit of both.

What I am hearing among tea people in Taiwan is that demand in China has indeed grown quite a bit. The amount of people with very deep pockets in China does not make the situation any better. The protected status of the area by the gov seems also to have played a part in making the good stuff even more scarce and desirable.
Not so nice...
I have enough Pu Erh to last me a life time, but definately not enough good Yancha...
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octopus
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Fri Nov 16, 2018 6:32 am

there are many common misconception in the world of yancha by some who maybe never went to wuyishan and probably never made tea. a very big misconception is confusing between roasting and oxidation, oxidation being arguably the first and most important step of yancha making but can rarely see some talk about oxidation at all, it is just roasting. one consequential idea is that any tea can be roasted to any amount of level. any variety and any processing can just be roasted like is some ribs on the bbq. another misconception is that the origin of the tea doesn't matter, zhengyan or else its all about the skill of the maker and any wulong can be made great. another is the reverse that just zhengyan tea can have yun while banyan is necesserly rubbish. the cause of misunderstanding like this is just to know what is congwei or yanyun in the first place, very few know what they are talking about or can recognize this flavor, mostly it gets mistaken for other qualities of the tea. also to believe there is one right good tea and other bad wrong ones instead of a personal taste. another misconception is that at high price corresponds better tea so you havent really had good tea unless you paid $10 a gram. another one is that you can get tea at cheaper than market price if you know the right people or have some friend or family help you. another one is that only asian or chinese people can really understand tea and western facing stores are all the same and have no idea of what they are doing or talking about (if you believe this last point then just stop reading and disregard my whole message as i am just a western facing laowai). or how about that handmade tea is better than machine made or who knows what else etc.

i personally don't understand yancha enough to make any meaningful comment on processing since really there are a million reason for a tea to be made a certain way. i can just take a wild guess at best. when someone says a tea is too "green" or maybe notice for example a laocong shuixian's congwei that only lasts 1 or a few steeps and quickly falls off. or yun. is it because it was not roasted enough? or why? what about oxidation? or is it because the tree age isnt really so old or is the location not really good? or is about how the tea was grown with fertilizer? what about this tea will it iimprove with roasting or if you roast this more there will be no congwei or yun at all? what about mouth feeling? and so on.

the bottom like is that an experienced tea maker knows best how to make and ultimately sell the tea they produce, as this is really his own interest and they do it every year. as for us commoners we can just buy what we like. drink the tea you like and that's all it matters. those who do can be happy. i am happy. I hope everyone can be happy.

however since processing of yancha is difficult but demand is high, it is possible that in the recent years many start to make tea without necessary experience as demand increased a lot. if maybe before some would study 10 years or more, now we have people make tea with only a few years of experience mainly for fast profit and without the will to do this hard work. but really cant generalize, some have good skill or even innate can, but is not that easy. at the same time i dont see anyone who was making tea a certain way in the past changing to a different way and i know many people even young who get into tea out of love and are dedicated. so in short, it depends. you can find a lot of tea and cant make generalizations but i dont see anyone changing what they were doing before.

if you find some teas are not much oxidised or not enough roasted is likely because some customer or shop or tea maker likes more a strong fragrance and as mentioned above, roasting is not only expensive and risky to ruin the tea but reduces the tea weight so if a customer wants to buy a light roasted tea why not sell it. I can't say someone is right or wrong in their preference or there is a right or wrong way to make tea though just what i like. there is also a trend of tea tourist going to buy tea for themselves in hopes of good deals and such, good luck to them as well. in short there are just many different tea makers, same for all teas and thats it. I see an trend for hongcha being often a bit too light oxidation for my taste but what can i do about it.

anyways unrelated to what i said so far, there is a kind of different super-roasted tea. these are usually some blends for export to south east asia, likely not even from wuyishan, so maybe looking at wuyishan for this kind of power roast tea won't find much. plenty of wulong made in other parts of fujian blended and roasted to a point it loses any tea character so it doesnt matter what it was, can be easily blended as it just have one flavor: roast flavor. easy to make, easy to find and cheap. I dont say is bad tea, it can be nice in its own merit and I enjoy this sometimes but doesnt have the rich and varied flavors of yancha that i like. some are used to drinking this kind of tea and consider it the traditional processing. others hate this and consider it a mistake and far from the pure yancha. who are we to say what is right?

In short why is not easy to find the good yancha is because the quantity is low, the processing is difficult and most tea drinkers are not so sure of what they want or are talking about.
Last edited by octopus on Fri Nov 16, 2018 6:51 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Bok
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Fri Nov 16, 2018 6:43 am

@octopus nice and extensive summary!
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Fri Nov 16, 2018 9:09 am

I agree with octopus' writing about the lack of attention paid to oxidation. Of course, one can say "oolong" for teas in a range from green to almost black; but most of the time, I do not find teas listed by level of oxidation, and if listed, not accurately. Worse yet is when teas are roasted, the amount of roasting takes the spotlight. One may not even be able to learn how much roasted teas were oxidized.

Perhaps tea producers take more pride in their roasting than in the monitoring of oxidation.

Years ago I was lucky to have some aged oolongs that had never been roasted. Besides being tasty, I think I found them so interesting because oxidation were at uncommon levels.

Sometimes I think roasted tea has some negative qualities and that black tea can be hard on one's guts. Availability of a variety of excellent oolong at various levels of oxidation might make roasted and black tea unnecessary for keeping a fairly wide variety of teas in the cupboard.
theredbaron
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Sat Nov 17, 2018 2:43 am

octopus wrote:
Fri Nov 16, 2018 6:32 am

anyways unrelated to what i said so far, there is a kind of different super-roasted tea. these are usually some blends for export to south east asia, likely not even from wuyishan, so maybe looking at wuyishan for this kind of power roast tea won't find much. plenty of wulong made in other parts of fujian blended and roasted to a point it loses any tea character so it doesnt matter what it was, can be easily blended as it just have one flavor: roast flavor. easy to make, easy to find and cheap. I dont say is bad tea, it can be nice in its own merit and I enjoy this sometimes but doesnt have the rich and varied flavors of yancha that i like. some are used to drinking this kind of tea and consider it the traditional processing. others hate this and consider it a mistake and far from the pure yancha. who are we to say what is right?

In short why is not easy to find the good yancha is because the quantity is low, the processing is difficult and most tea drinkers are not so sure of what they want or are talking about.

To the most part i do agree with what you have said.
I have to say however that the trend of greener Yancha is a newer thing, which i have seen only over the past few years. Of course i am aware of the super high roast teas to SEA (i have lived there for almost three decades), many of whom indeed not Yancha, but some are Yancha, but need a looong time to lose their roasting flavor.
When i was first in the Wuyi mountains 25 years ago, i have never tasted any of the green Yancha, and later, when i had the opportunity to drink really high quality Yancha with recongnized experts i have never had any of those either (with the exception of Bai Ji Guan, which is traditionally always a bit greener), but not Shui Xien, Ti Lohan, and many lesser known varieties). These teas were not brutally roasted as in the traditional SEA import Yancha, but not green either. But oxidyzed and roasted just right.
The modern Yancha seem to just go after flavor, and lose many of the subtleties. Also, i find that these greener Yancha do not age well, as opposed to the more traditional Yancha
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OCTO
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Mon Dec 03, 2018 2:55 am

I’ve just had some 2017 DaHongPao from ShuiLianTong. Very nice aroma, long lingering aftertaste, crystal clear tea broth.

True ZhengYan rocktea is increasingly inaccessible outside China due to the price and strong competition from China’s own domestic market who are willing to pay exorbitant prices for YanCha.

It takes years of repeated patronage and friendship to earn the trust and favour of farmers from the much coveted SanKengLiangJian ZhengYan region before they are willing to bring out their good stuffs!

Here’s to my return on my ZhengYan journey after a haittus.

Cheers!!
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OCTO
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Sun Jan 20, 2019 12:10 am

Had some aged ShuiXian from MaTouYen. Very calming aroma and taste. The fragrance encapsulates the tongue and throat. Aroma travels gracefully up the nasal sensory. Subtle yet overwhelming. Smooth yet lingers long. Relaxing yet wakes the sensor. Overall a very satisfying brew. Ended off with a slowboil treatment to bring out the very last drop of goodness from this tea.
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swordofmytriumph
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Sun Jan 20, 2019 12:57 am

Such pretty pictures! I love the way you captured the candle flame. Makes it seem so inviting.
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