Eco Cha Teas

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LeoFox
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Fri Jul 16, 2021 7:14 pm

Decided to crack open eco cha's 2020 spring charcoal roasted oolong. @Victoria enjoyed the fall/winter version above:
viewtopic.php?p=33214#p33214

https://eco-cha.com/collections/taiwan- ... 5043978292

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The dry leaf smells like dark chocolate. The balls seem very tightly rolled and heavily fired. As mentioned above - 4x firing apparently and finished in longan. One question I've been asked is why do heavy firing of a gaoshan? Is it strictly to make something for aging? Or is it to cover something up? Maybe @Bok has insights.

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Threw 5g in 85 mL. It took about 3 infusions not including rinse to fully open up. Brewed 10 infusions but could have really just stopped at 7

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This is after 8 infusions
This is after 8 infusions
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The roast is certainly aggressive but relatively clean at first impression. It is a very sweet and nutty roast but also a bit acrid and smoky. Starting at infusion 4, the roast lets go and becomes softer. At that point, there is a spiciness that reminds me of rougui - it lingers in the aftertaste.

The leaf flavors peak at the third infusion. It is not very fruity- more floral and slightly vegetal. The aromas are strong.

During late infusions the tea becomes very creamy. I asked my tea master if it is actually jin xuan; he said no. Lateral veins are too angled relative to central rib and overall shape is too long. More likely it is as advertised: Qin xing

The aftertaste is a bit smoky. Edit: after some time, the aftertaste becomes more ashy and burnt.

I will hold off judgment until trying it again next week. My gut feeling is that it needs another 1-2 years of resting. Will decide then. To be continued:

viewtopic.php?p=38252#p38252
Last edited by LeoFox on Thu Jul 22, 2021 8:20 am, edited 5 times in total.
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Bok
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Fri Jul 16, 2021 7:32 pm

LeoFox wrote:
Fri Jul 16, 2021 7:14 pm
One question I've been asked is why do heavy firing of a gaoshan? Is it strictly to make something for aging? Or is it to cover something up? Maybe Bok has insights.
Can’t really say anything without having tried it.

Most makers don’t roast Gaoshan as it’s more work,less yield in the end, there’s little market for it and they can sell the unroasted just as easily.

Price might give you indication about the motivation and underlying quality. Might.
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LeoFox
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Fri Jul 16, 2021 8:47 pm

Bok wrote:
Fri Jul 16, 2021 7:32 pm
LeoFox wrote:
Fri Jul 16, 2021 7:14 pm
One question I've been asked is why do heavy firing of a gaoshan? Is it strictly to make something for aging? Or is it to cover something up? Maybe Bok has insights.
Can’t really say anything without having tried it.

Most makers don’t roast Gaoshan as it’s more work,less yield in the end, there’s little market for it and they can sell the unroasted just as easily.

Price might give you indication about the motivation and underlying quality. Might.
The price is only slightly higher than the unroasted shan lin Xi they offer. 28$/75g vs $23/75g. So they must be using a lower quality shan lin xi for the roast. That makes sense given my initial experience.
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Victoria
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Fri Jul 16, 2021 9:32 pm

LeoFox wrote:
Fri Jul 16, 2021 7:14 pm
One question I've been asked is why do heavy firing of a gaoshan? Is it strictly to make something for aging? Or is it to cover something up? Maybe Bok has insights.
If the leaf feels right to the farmer/producer then a higher roast may be used to bring out malty spicy more complex flavors not present in a low roast. In my experience roasting level has to do with balance and experience of maker, and not with leaf quality. At least with higher end oolong. My 2cnts.
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LeoFox
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Fri Jul 16, 2021 9:33 pm

Victoria wrote:
Fri Jul 16, 2021 9:32 pm
LeoFox wrote:
Fri Jul 16, 2021 7:14 pm
One question I've been asked is why do heavy firing of a gaoshan? Is it strictly to make something for aging? Or is it to cover something up? Maybe Bok has insights.
If the leaf feels right to the farmer/producer then a higher roast may be used to bring out malty spicy more complex flavors not present in a low roast. In my experience roasting level has to do with balance and experience of maker, and not with leaf quality. At least with higher end oolong. My 2cnts.
That spice note is interesting. I see we both tasted it.


To confirm it, I brewed just now a yancha from teahabitat that I've been letting rest for about a year. Indeed, there is a family resemblance in the roast and spice profile - of course more concentrated in the yancha. The yancha also has a nice peachy profile whereas the roasted gaoshan has relatively minimal leaf flavor.
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LeoFox
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Thu Jul 22, 2021 8:07 am

After six days of resting, I tried the charcoal high mountain again. This one:

viewtopic.php?p=38091#p38091

My impression is that it has improved quite a bit in terms of balance. Instead of at just the peak infusions (2-3), the strong leaf aroma now comes through in every infusion. It has a slight green pepperiness. The milkiness that had dominated the later infusions when first brewed is now more evenly distributed. The roast is less harsh, though the after taste remains a bit "burnt". The rougui like spiciness has become more mild. I will give the tea more time to see how it evolves.
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Victoria
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Thu Jul 22, 2021 10:11 am

Interesting Leo, I also just opened up my last gifted pack of Eco Cha’s charcoal roasted winter High Mountain. Sipping on first infusion I reflected on how really enjoyable it is to be able to have a few very different roasted DongDing, from different farmers, and producers, but then remembered that this is from a higher elevation. While this isn’t as stellar, stop in your tracks, a roasted high mountain as HY Chen’s charcoal roasted Lishan Primitive Wild, it is a very very good everyday oolong that I’d enjoy having most mornings. Today, I just opened the 20g vacu-sample pack and steeped it. The wet leaf is super aromatic, the viscous liquor is very lively and spicy with sweet camphorous and rich complex notes. For me the roast is smooth, rounded and not needing any resting, although I could see a year or two from now it would be very good as well 🍃.
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LeoFox
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Thu Jul 22, 2021 12:53 pm

It's interesting- I got a solid 10 infusions in this time - more than before - and more tasty.
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teanik
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Thu Jul 22, 2021 2:37 pm

I bought a Dong Ding that was, to my taste, way over roasted. I had read that storing a heavy roasted tea in an yixing caddy would mellow it. So I put it in a duan ni caddy. I forgot about it for a year. When I found it again the tea had become sweet and well balanced--a very nice tea.
A few months later I discovered I had put into an inexpensive porcelain caddy the remainder of the Dong Ding that wouldn't fit into the yixing caddy.
The tea in the inexpensive porcelain had gone kind of flat. It's not scientific, but it convinced me that whoever recommended storing over roasted teas in yixing was right.
The next time I put an over roasted tea into yixing I will check regularly to see how long it takes for the alchemy to work. You folks here probably know long it takes.
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LeoFox
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Thu Jul 22, 2021 4:37 pm

teanik wrote:
Thu Jul 22, 2021 2:37 pm
I bought a Dong Ding that was, to my taste, way over roasted. I had read that storing a heavy roasted tea in an yixing caddy would mellow it. So I put it in a duan ni caddy. I forgot about it for a year. When I found it again the tea had become sweet and well balanced--a very nice tea.
A few months later I discovered I had put into an inexpensive porcelain caddy the remainder of the Dong Ding that wouldn't fit into the yixing caddy.
The tea in the inexpensive porcelain had gone kind of flat. It's not scientific, but it convinced me that whoever recommended storing over roasted teas in yixing was right.
The next time I put an over roasted tea into yixing I will check regularly to see how long it takes for the alchemy to work. You folks here probably know long it takes.
Question: for the porcelain, was it partially filled ? I am assuming the duanni was completely filled up.
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teanik
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Thu Jul 22, 2021 7:25 pm

LeoFox wrote:
Thu Jul 22, 2021 4:37 pm
Question: for the porcelain, was it partially filled ? I am assuming the duanni was completely filled up.
The duanni was filled. The porcelain was 1/3 full.
Last edited by Victoria on Thu Jul 22, 2021 7:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Mod edit: cleaned up quote
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LeoFox
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Thu Jul 22, 2021 7:27 pm

teanik wrote:
Thu Jul 22, 2021 7:25 pm
LeoFox wrote:
Thu Jul 22, 2021 4:37 pm
Question: for the porcelain, was it partially filled ? I am assuming the duanni was completely filled up.
The duanni was filled. The porcelain was 1/3 full.
Is it possible that because the porcelain was only 1/3 filled, that impacted the tea?
Last edited by Victoria on Thu Jul 22, 2021 7:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Mod edit: cleaned up quote
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teanik
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Thu Jul 22, 2021 7:48 pm

LeoFox wrote:
Thu Jul 22, 2021 7:27 pm
teanik wrote:
Thu Jul 22, 2021 7:25 pm
LeoFox wrote:
Thu Jul 22, 2021 4:37 pm
Question: for the porcelain, was it partially filled ? I am assuming the duanni was completely filled up.
The duanni was filled. The porcelain was 1/3 full.
Is it possible that because the porcelain was only 1/3 filled, that impacted the tea?
Sounds as good a theory as any, LeoFox.
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Bok
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Thu Jul 22, 2021 7:59 pm

teanik wrote:
Thu Jul 22, 2021 7:25 pm
LeoFox wrote:
Thu Jul 22, 2021 4:37 pm
Question: for the porcelain, was it partially filled ? I am assuming the duanni was completely filled up.
The duanni was filled. The porcelain was 1/3 full.
If you store tea in caddies, they need to be full, otherwise as demonstrated it will likely go flat.
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teanik
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Thu Jul 22, 2021 8:03 pm

[/quote]
Bok wrote:
Thu Jul 22, 2021 7:59 pm
teanik wrote:
Thu Jul 22, 2021 7:25 pm
LeoFox wrote:
Thu Jul 22, 2021 4:37 pm
Question: for the porcelain, was it partially filled ? I am assuming the duanni was completely filled up.
The duanni was filled. The porcelain was 1/3 full.
If you store tea in caddies, they need to be full, otherwise as demonstrated it will likely go flat.
Thanks Bok and LeoFox. I knew if I posted this I'd learn something!
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