Essence of Tea _ Wuyi Yancha

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Bok
Posts: 922
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Wed May 09, 2018 8:50 pm

So this is going to be a longer post, so bare with me or drop out and have a cuppa ;)

Being in Asia, I usually do not buy from Western facing sellers, but in this case I wanted to educate myself and the attached palate about teas from Wuyi. oolong is by far my favorite kind of tea and some opportunity-buys while on business got me intrigued about oolongs from its native land.

Being China, buying there is always a risk, even more so as a foreigner. So my thinking was to sample from a reputed seller and learn about what it is supposed to taste like for later reference. I tried some HK style Shuixian from Jay which I have written about in another post.

In this instance I decided on a purchase with Essence of tea, as I have always liked their presentation and spirit (as far as one can gather from their writings). The prices are on the expensive end from what I gather from other people, but I'd rather start at a higher level than too low.
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Bok
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Wed May 09, 2018 8:50 pm

I ordered three:
2016 Lao Cong Shui Xian - Liu Guan Zhai
2017 Bu Zhi Chun - Shui Lian Dong
2016 Lao Cong Shui Xian - Qing Shi Yan

They arrived quickly and well packed - nice touch, they came with a generous sample of EoT 3-leaf Liubao. An unexpected surprise, a kind of tea I have never had and been curious about (probably subject of another post).

Simple packaging for the smaller samples and some custom made tins for the larger amounts. Tins make sense to protect the fragile leafs from getting crushed and they won't have a large impact on the price as they can be had really cheap in Asia, even custom ordered, only a matter of quantity.

I have now tried all of them in ascending order (price wise). Prepared in a F1 Neiwailinhong Biandeng. That pot does not mute anything, so is good for neutral tasting. All teas where filled in the pot almost to the top.

#Liu Guan Zhai
This tea seemed a bit light, dry mouthfeel, not fragrant, but with some rock flavour.

#Shui Lian Dong
On this one the rock flavour was not noticeable, very clean mouthfeel.

#Qing Shi Yan
The last was more tricky to brew, turned bitter more easily, cloudy brew, clear rock flavour, dry mouthfeel (is that something typical for Yancha? Begins to feel like it). Not sure if it is me, but it left my stomach feeling slightly uncomfortable. the other two had a positive effect (if you know what I mean...).
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Bok
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Wed May 09, 2018 8:51 pm

Compared to their Taiwanese cousins (Dongding or other roasted teas), they are not impressive in my opinion. Do not get me wrong they are nice tasting teas and completely different in their expression.

But - it does not justify the so much higher price
(That goes for me personally, as I am in Taiwan, so in a privileged postion)
In Taiwan I can not even find teas that are as expensive as the cheapest of the three! And by far. Unless you go looking for aged Taiwanese teas, some may reach a similar price level, but even then price value is so much better in Taiwan it seems to me.

It is a shame, as I sometimes really do crave those particular rock flavours, but prices are inhibitive, unless I can discover a more local source... But then, just yesterday I saw a post on IG mentioning recent Yancha prices and those were out of this world! Guess it is just an expensive pleasure.
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Kale
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Wed May 09, 2018 11:07 pm

I won’t say anything about eot.
I’ll just say that it’s not the best way to “educate” yourself. Try a representative variety! Try a Rougui, a TieLuAn, or a Qilan! Eot is a boutique with quality stuff but they curate, they do not try to represent the flavors of WuyiShan..:
Make an order with Lazy Cat Teas or WuyiOrigins. Both hav an interesting and representative variety
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Bok
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Thu May 10, 2018 1:02 am

Kale wrote:
Wed May 09, 2018 11:07 pm
I won’t say anything about eot.
I’ll just say that it’s not the best way to “educate” yourself. Try a representative variety! Try a Rougui, a TieLuAn, or a Qilan! Eot is a boutique with quality stuff but they curate, they do not try to represent the flavors of WuyiShan..:
Make an order with Lazy Cat Teas or WuyiOrigins. Both hav an interesting and representative variety
I might in the future! Attractive option to be able to pay in RMB at lazy cats, very handy for me. For now I am holding off on purchases, the price value equation is just not right for where I am. If it costs me 10 more than my usual it better be 10 times better, which it does not seem to be (also counting other Yancha I had previously, a Rougui was among them). The one or two teas which were really exceptional were even further up the price ladder, in heights where I can not and will not go.
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OldWaysTea
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Thu May 10, 2018 11:12 am

Bok wrote:
Wed May 09, 2018 8:51 pm
But - it does not justify the so much higher price
(That goes for me personally, as I am in Taiwan, so in a privileged postion)
I found this comment interesting. I would say that Taiwanese oolongs are my second favorite class of tea after yancha. What probably holds me back is the cost! For equal price levels I feel I can get a better wuyi yancha than a Taiwanese oolong.

Another aspect is the location of the tea. I can't speak to your drinking habits, but I can certainly say that I don't drink tea from the very best and most famous locations every day. There is a huge premium for the locations irrespective of the processing. I would say that those locations can offer tea that is special in a way other locations cannot offer, but the teas that really show that special nature are at least 10x the price.

I second the opinion that you should take a look at other vendors such as Lazy Cat. He puts a good effort into sourcing teas.
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Shine Magical
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Location: NYC

Thu May 10, 2018 11:51 am

This is the best yancha I've ever had:
https://fourseasonstea.com/products/gui ... l-handmade

Luckily I don’t have an interest in medium or high roasted teas. :D
Teachronicles
Posts: 209
Joined: Tue Dec 12, 2017 1:13 am

Thu May 10, 2018 3:07 pm

Shine Magical wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 11:51 am
This is the best yancha I've ever had:
https://fourseasonstea.com/products/gui ... l-handmade

Luckily I don’t have an interest in medium or high roasted teas. :D
At that price, I'd hope so. Although, I think they can get even more expensive than that.
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Tillerman
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Thu May 10, 2018 4:01 pm

Teachronicles wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 3:07 pm
Shine Magical wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 11:51 am
This is the best yancha I've ever had:
https://fourseasonstea.com/products/gui ... l-handmade

Luckily I don’t have an interest in medium or high roasted teas. :D
At that price, I'd hope so. Although, I think they can get even more expensive than that.
The prices would be in Canadian dollars. Multiply by 0.8 to get a rough USD equivalent. Yup. still ungodly expensive.
chofmann
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Thu May 10, 2018 4:22 pm

Bok wrote:
Wed May 09, 2018 8:51 pm
Compared to their Taiwanese cousins (Dongding or other roasted teas), they are not impressive in my opinion. Do not get me wrong they are nice tasting teas and completely different in their expression.

But - it does not justify the so much higher price
(That goes for me personally, as I am in Taiwan, so in a privileged postion)
In Taiwan I can not even find teas that are as expensive as the cheapest of the three! And by far. Unless you go looking for aged Taiwanese teas, some may reach a similar price level, but even then price value is so much better in Taiwan it seems to me.

It is a shame, as I sometimes really do crave those particular rock flavours, but prices are inhibitive, unless I can discover a more local source... But then, just yesterday I saw a post on IG mentioning recent Yancha prices and those were out of this world! Guess it is just an expensive pleasure.
Bok, I assume you are familiar with HY Chen... track him down and ask about his Yan Yun tea that he makes. It is in the 'style' of yancha, and supposed to have more of those rock flavors, so you might enjoy it quite a bit. It is expensive (not sure if he'll give you a Taiwanese discount... if he does, let me know!), but very tasty.
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ShuShu
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Thu May 10, 2018 5:23 pm

Sometime ago I wrote to a vendor in China asking about his tea. I told him I thinking about some Zhengyan RouGui tea he had there ($1.5/g). He told me that the cheaper RouGui he carries from a different area ($0.6/g) is actually made by the same tea master in the same way, and unless I use high quality water the difference would be rather mild.
I ordered both and realized he was right and learned that processing may be more significant than location though the premium paid for location is considerably higher comparing to its significance...
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Bok
Posts: 922
Joined: Wed Oct 04, 2017 8:55 am

Thu May 10, 2018 8:04 pm

OldWaysTea wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 11:12 am
I found this comment interesting. I would say that Taiwanese oolongs are my second favorite class of tea after yancha. What probably holds me back is the cost! For equal price levels I feel I can get a better wuyi yancha than a Taiwanese oolong.
Seems like we are in same-opposite situation! :mrgreen:
Still seems to me that the high end of Wuyi is a lot more expensive than the high end Taiwanese oolongs.
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Bok
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Thu May 10, 2018 8:06 pm

ShuShu wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 5:23 pm
Sometime ago I wrote to a vendor in China asking about his tea. I told him I thinking about some Zhengyan RouGui tea he had there ($1.5/g). He told me that the cheaper RouGui he carries from a different area ($0.6/g) is actually made by the same tea master in the same way, and unless I use high quality water the difference would be rather mild.
I ordered both and realized he was right and learned that processing may be more significant than location though the premium paid for location is considerably higher comparing to its significance...
As always, the hype is not necessarily justified, same goes for Taiwan, the most expensive teas are not always that much better in proportion to their price. Upper medium quality is usually good enough and a better deal.
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tea_twig
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Location: United Kingdom

Fri May 11, 2018 1:30 pm

ShuShu wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 5:23 pm
Sometime ago I wrote to a vendor in China asking about his tea. I told him I thinking about some Zhengyan RouGui tea he had there ($1.5/g). He told me that the cheaper RouGui he carries from a different area ($0.6/g) is actually made by the same tea master in the same way, and unless I use high quality water the difference would be rather mild.
I ordered both and realized he was right and learned that processing may be more significant than location though the premium paid for location is considerably higher comparing to its significance...
Which vendor was this? Did you enjoy his teas at least :]
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ShuShu
Posts: 299
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Location: New York

Sat May 12, 2018 9:50 pm

tea_twig wrote:
Fri May 11, 2018 1:30 pm
ShuShu wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 5:23 pm
Sometime ago I wrote to a vendor in China asking about his tea. I told him I thinking about some Zhengyan RouGui tea he had there ($1.5/g). He told me that the cheaper RouGui he carries from a different area ($0.6/g) is actually made by the same tea master in the same way, and unless I use high quality water the difference would be rather mild.
I ordered both and realized he was right and learned that processing may be more significant than location though the premium paid for location is considerably higher comparing to its significance...
Which vendor was this? Did you enjoy his teas at least :]
Actually, I forgot who it was...quite a while ago...But I have certainly enjoyed the tea :-)
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