Eco-Cha Tea Club: Award Winning Roasted Jin Xuan Oolong Tasting Notes
August 04, 2016
With the first brew poured off, the freshly brewed leaves carry a strong roasted character with rich, hearty, fireside notes. After the second brew the aroma of the brewed leaves turns a bit fruity, with warming spice sweetness reminiscent of pumpkin pie. The first brew has a roasted flavor upfront followed by a sweetness like grilled fresh corn. The second brew brings out a more balanced, rich, complex character and smooth texture – a much more integrated flavor profile.
There's a solid roasted base combined with a tanginess that brings out the complexity of flavor like caramelized apples, but followed by a clean subtly astringent finish that makes it refreshing rather than heavy. These leaves have brewing endurance. They can be brewed 5 to 6 times and still produce a full flavored brew. From the third brew on, the flavor becomes a bit lighter but also more vibrant in character. Cashews and citrus are pronounced. Overall, it's a very well balanced brew, with a complexity that makes it difficult to pinpoint a particular flavor or even character. This is the effect that a quality Dong Ding Oolong should achieve, and this is even more challenging when Jin Xuan leaves are used.
These leaves were harvested by hand from the residential farm that is our ongoing source of Dong Ding Oolong Tea. They were also de-stemmed by hand and roasted extensively to meet the competition standard. The brewed tea has a bold roasted character that is balanced out by a rich, smooth textured and complex flavor profile. It is reminiscent of fire-roasted yams and butternut squash.
This month's edition of the Eco-Cha Tea Club is from the same day's harvest of spring tea that our source received the Top 2% Award out of 750 odd participants in the spring 2019 competition. This month's batch of tea was prepared the same way as the award winning tea — removing the stems by hand and undergoing repeated roastings to meet the standard of quality set by this local competition. Only residents of this small community of traditional tea makers are eligible to enter this competition. But this is the heart of Dong Ding Oolong Country, and this community boasts the densest population of traditional Oolong Tea artisans in Taiwan, and probably in the world!
The complex aroma of the brewed tea leaves has subtle hints of a bug bitten character, but not very obvious. The sufficient oxidation offers a fresh scone scent, with a touch of honey, making us think that there is some influence from the Green Leafhopper. It is very likely that this note is subtle due to the fact that it had rained very near harvest time, which is said to dilute or dissipate the chemical compounds that are responsible for this character of flavor. The texture is smooth and balanced, with delicate complexity.