Heirloom Wuyi Oolong Tasting Notes | Eco-Cha Tea Club

March 03, 2016 2 Comments

There is something about the heady fragrance of this tea combined with its smooth, balanced flavor and substance of character that has us brewing it again and again to figure out what exactly it is that intrigues us. In a word, we keep coming back to this: Heirloom. We can only conclude that this fragrant yet balanced complexity comes from a tea strain that pre-dates modern tea production.

After brewing these leaves in a Gongfu teapot a few times to get the full spectrum of what they offer, we resorted to a method that is commonly used locally in an initial assessment of a given batch of tea for a more visual take. When sourcing, tea merchants in Taiwan will most often put their personally preferred amount of leaves directly in a tea judging bowl and watch them brew. After getting a visual take, along with smelling the ceramic spoon dipped into the leaves as they are brewing, the tea is ladled out into a cup with the spoon.

At this point, the leaves have been observed as they reconstitute with water from their rolled and dried form, and the initial fragrance is taken in from the subtle wafts of aroma emitting from the spoon dipped into the steeping leaves. The leaves can be gently pushed to one side in order to see the color and consistency of the tea as it brews. And after a few minutes of brewing, the tea is spooned into a cup to view, smell, and taste.

So much floral essence is emitted from these leaves as they brew. And the flowery perfume is present in the nose upon sipping. But the smoothness on the palate combined with a unique fresh green herbal flavor makes it reminiscent of a quality unroasted Oolong from mainland China. In other words, its got something that modern strains typically don't — and it has to do with its substantial character that provides body and legs to this freshly fragrant, unroasted Oolong.

In speaking with our friend who initiated this project of planting a small plot of Wuyi Oolong, we eventually got onto the topic of where this strain excels in quality. Beyond its distinct fragrance and balanced substance of flavor, he almost mumbled a point that we instantly understood as significant. He said that this tea can endure roasting exceptionally well. This is further evidence that Wuyi Oolong has a character that makes it significant as an heirloom tea. It's got substance, like an organically grown heirloom apple, tomato, or melon. This project, our learning about it over the last couple years, and the recent discussions we've had about this harvest with our friend — along with our recent batch of Tieguanyin, another heirloom strain — bring us great hopes in the renaissance of traditional tea making.





2 Responses

Lisa
Lisa

April 01, 2016

Article reads: “…with its substantial character that provides body and legs to this freshly fragrant, unroasted Oolong.”

Jim
Jim

March 29, 2016

Fascinating! I look forward to trying this tea one day. How was this particular tea roasted?
I am trying to understand the variation in colors of the leaves.

Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.


Also in News

Alishan High Mountain Tea Tasting Notes | Eco-Cha Tea Club
Alishan High Mountain Tea Tasting Notes | Eco-Cha Tea Club

January 14, 2020

Batch #50 of the Eco-Cha Tea Club starts off 2020 with a freshly harvested Alishan High Mountain Oolong Winter Tea from our ongoing source in Meishan Township. This very small batch of tea was their final day of winter harvest. The leaves were not yet fully mature, and offer a fresh, distinctly aromatic and complex flavor profile.

View full article →

Alishan High Mountain Oolong Tea | Eco-Cha Tea Club
Alishan High Mountain Oolong Tea | Eco-Cha Tea Club

January 12, 2020

The photo above is this month's batch of the Eco-Cha Tea Club undergoing solar withering on November 11, 2019. This was the final day of winter harvest for our source of Alishan High Mountain Oolong Tea, and we were able to procure enough of this very minimal batch to share with our Tea Club. This date was 3 days after Li Dong (立冬) in the lunar calendar, and the winter harvest of High Mountain Tea had for the most part been completed in central Taiwan.

View full article →

Charcoal Roasted Honey Oolong Tea Tasting Notes | Eco-Cha Tea Club
Charcoal Roasted Honey Oolong Tea Tasting Notes | Eco-Cha Tea Club

December 11, 2019

This summer 2017 crop of naturally cultivated and well bug bitten and matured leaves were processed as a traditional Oolong, which mainly means that they were well oxidized. The work that went into oxidizing these leaves was considerable as well as skillful. The leaves needed to be worked, and they got worked well! The result is a full-bodied, substantial brew that offers a very satisfying balance that starts with a mild smokiness, leading into a fruity body with mineral notes, and finishing with something reminiscent of old school Charms lollipops. It really does have a distinct plum powder/confectioner's sugar finishing note that is cushioned by that smoky mineral base. It's a mouthful!

View full article →