Our newly arrived batch of Charcoal Roasted High Mountain Oolong was harvested in spring 2020 from a farm at 1400m elevation in the Shan Lin Xi High Mountain Tea growing region. Compared with our previous batch from the same farm that was harvested in fall 2019, this new batch is noticeably more substantial and balanced in character. The nature of the spring leaf growth evidently accommodated the extensive roasting better than the previous batch. The spring leaf was more uniform, with less stem material, indicating that it was a less mature than last fall. This is essential for optimal oxidation results, and allows the leaves to be roasted more evenly.
The aroma that exudes from leaves on the first few brews has notes of fruitwood campfire smoke and fire-roasted yams. The brewed tea is viscous and smooth, with a rich, hearty flavor profile. Notes of caramel, dried apricots, roasted chestnuts and pecans are all detected in a particularly well balanced composition. It has a sweet/tangy finish, with lasting smoke and peat notes.
We encourage you to vary your brewing methods, especially with this character of a tea, because it is so complex and flavorful. In the last 24 hours, we've brewed it in tea judging cups (see tasting video), Gong Fu style (9g of leaf in a 150mL teapot), as shown in these photos, and Grandpa style (8g of leaf in a 450 mL mug). Each brewing method offers varying nuances in the composition of the brew. And we most want to emphasize that the flavor profile of this tea after has cooled to room temperature really has a lot to offer, and is significantly different than tasting the freshly brewed hot tea.
Roasted Oolongs are most satisfying in colder weather, so we are happy to have this on the shelf as we move into fall proper, and have it available for the coming winter months. Another plus of a heavily roasted tea like this is that it only gets better with age. The roast factor will mellow over time, and the composition will only become more integrated and balance. That soothing character that grows with a well roasted tea that has time to rest is one of the most sophisticated aspects of Oolong Tea drinking in our decades of experience.
Psst... after composing this blog post and draining the mug of Grandpa style brew in the process, Grandpa style is currently our preferred choice ;-) But we will definitely be Gong Fu brewing this many times throughout the winter and, well — as long as this batch lasts. YUM!
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