Heavy Roast Wuyi Oolong Tea Tasting Notes | Eco-Cha Tea Club
We are kicking off our sixth year of the Eco-Cha Tea Club this month, with batch 61! And this month's batch of Heavy Roast Wuyi Oolong is a record breaker in that it is definitely the most thoroughly roasted batch of tea that we have shared to date. We think this tea will be appealing at this time of year — especially for our members who live in colder climates. This is a very hearty, rich, and warming brew. So we like to think it will make the holiday season even cozier!
Our friend planted this plot of heirloom Wuyi Oolong Tea over five years ago with the intention of cultivating it naturally, i.e. without the use of chemical farm products. It's a small plot of Wuyi tea trees next to a plot of Four Seasons Spring that was planted at the same time, and managed in the same way. The Wuyi trees took significantly longer to mature into healthy, flourishing trees, and they are still noticeably smaller and produce less than their Four Seasons Spring neighbors. This is testimony to the reason that the Wuyi strain was phased out and replaced with more prolific hybrid strains in the last 30 years or so.
Our friend wanted to represent his local heritage by growing the Wuyi strain that originally was grown here. He also wanted to be able to offer a distinctive character of tea. Wuyi has a pronounced and unique aromatic profile, and its hardier leaves have significantly more endurance when it comes to roasting.
The two prominent factors that make this batch special are that it made with the Wuyi Tea heirloom cultivar, and it the leaves have been roasted in a fashion and to a degree that is a first for us! Read more about the roasting here. Unroasted, these leaves brew an exceptionally aromatic floral character of tea with substantial brewing power — both in the consistency of the brewed tea as well as its endurance. (Pssst! We'll be sharing an unroasted batch soon to let our members experience this same tea made in a very different fashion, but that's supposed to be a secret!)
In talking with us about the roasting process our friend has repeatedly mentioned that he recalls his grandfather and other family elders saying how Wuyi has an exceptional ability to undergo extensive roasting — far beyond that of other common strains. So he basically put this folklore to the test with this batch. And we think the roasted quality of this batch of tea is something beyond anything we've tasted. We've tasted very heavily roasted tea, but nothing that maintained its integrity like this batch.
The prominent roasted notes in the flavor of this tea are balanced with sweet caramelized notes, dense cocoa and tobacco notes, and even citrus notes — like pomelo or grapefruit! It really has a lot to offer! And we strongly recommend varying the brewing methods — particularly the amount of tea leaves, to get the full spectrum of flavor and character of the tea. Like almost any tea, when brewed more concentrated, the more subtle and delicate notes are masked and muddled. So make a point of changing up how you brew it to get the full effect!
As always we love hearing about your experiences of our teas. So please share your comments below, or in the comments on our tasting video!
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Batch 65 of the Eco-Cha Tea Club was initially sourced by our friend for entry into the largest Oolong Tea Competition in the world. The standard of this competition is a medium/heavy roast, so it requires a significant level of oxidation in processing the tea leaves for optimal results. This is where this batch of tea varies most significantly from the market standard of Taiwan's High Mountain Tea. High Mountain Tea is minimally oxidized and unroasted — offering a fresh green character with a floral bouquet. This batch was not only more oxidized, but also delicately roasted to offer a more balanced, sweeter character with fruity and pastry components to compliment the floral notes.