88
drank Bohea by The Tao of Tea
911 tasting notes

Thanks to sophistre, I get a chance to try a new Bohea. Yay! I just had Teas Etc’s Bohea this morning, so I can’t help but make comparisons. If I didn’t know better, I would swear they aren’t the same type of tea. This one is much milder (in color, smell and taste) than the Teas Etc Bohea. The smoky flavor – which is rich and thick in the TE version – is mild here, somewhat of an afterthought. The first descriptor that crossed my mind with this one, both when smelling and tasting, was ‘sweet’. Because it is. It’s sweet, soft, gentle and has a hint of smoke in the aftertaste that kind of poofs up my sinuses after a sip.

But that makes it sound like, compared to TE’s Bohea, ToT’s version is lacking. It isn’t. It’s just totally different. TE’s version reminds me of lapsang with the edges smoothed out and no tar. ToT’s version reminds me of TeaSpring’s Tan Yang Te Ji with less oomph and MPD-esque complexity. I have to be in a smoky tea mood to drink TE’s Bohea. This one, being milder, wouldn’t require a smoky mood.

So even though they are the same type of tea, they really are totally different. I could see keeping both in my pantry without feeling I was duplicating teas. I could also see using this one as a tea to ease a newbie into smoky teas. It’s really quite tasty.

The second steep (5min) is a little milder than I hoped for (still tasty though) so I think next time I’ll extend that steep a bit for a touch more flavor.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec
sophistre

Woo! I’ve been waiting all day to see what you’d pick first. ^^

Auggy

There were so many good choices for first pick! Sadly, I had given myself the jitters from caffeine before I got your package so I’m having to pace myself! :)

Jenn-cha

I love this one so much. Glad to hear you like it :)

Auggy

I can see why you’d love it – it’s really pretty and ‘pretty’ isn’t something I normally say for a smoky tea but this deserves it.

Thomas Smith

I love your review, but I thought I ought to toss an fyi your way about Bohea.
Bohea (pron. Boo-ee) is the English corruption of WuYi, the origin of the first fully oxidized teas which wound up going for export shortly after their invention. Tan Yang Te Ji was the first high quality hongcha and Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong (Lapsang) wasn’t too far behind. The Bohea from Teas Etc is actually a Lapsang, (which ought to have a balanced smoky aroma with a longan fruit flavor note, unlike the tarry junk that floods the market) while Tao of Tea’s Bohea may be a totally different WuYi hongcha. Interesting thing is ToT’s Bohea is listed as coming from near Xingcun, the birthplace of Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong. You probably have two teas that were processed in different ways from the same general area. Imperial Red – Da Hong Pao Hongcha – is another Bohea.

sophistre

So what is it that makes a tea be called Bohea vs. any number of other equally appropriate names? Is it a lingering designation from a time when the teas were primarily English exports, or…?

Auggy

Ditto to what sophistre said. Why can ToT and TE both call their teas Bohea when they are processed differently (which would make me feel they are different types of tea then)?

Thomas Smith

Well, they can call it whatever they like (I’ve seen a teas sold as “China Black” and “Wu Long”), but really it’s just a place name dragged from antiquity and can be applied accurately enough to any WuYi red. Incidentally, the same is true for Keemun… There are a good number of different reds produced around Qi Men – market trends and historically spread small-leaf varietal leads us westerners to accepting it all as the same. It’s being used as a market name like a company would use “Darjeeling” to evoke refinement (even if it’s CTC or fannings from the area rather than full leaf) – in the case of Bohea, the companies want to evoke posterity or connections to the name’s appearance in literature. Nothing really wrong with it, but it can get confusing since multiple teas fit the bill. I agree that it’s better to specify a style name from within a region; however, this is probably the location with the best case for shying away from that. Most folks have a justified aversion to one of the oldest and most widely produced Boheas, Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong, and the companies may want to avoid pointing out the tea falls under the same name but may taste different.

Localities tend to have a limited range of varietals they grow and local processing methods may vary but have similarities within a region so you can expect different WuYi reds to have different flavors and leaf appearances but share a sort of similar mineral and fruit like characteristics due to terroir and cultivar and be slightly smoky since many producers finish-fire using pine. Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong – Lapsang – has really been corrupted to overly-smoky versions, though. Its smoky rep now has many producers over-smoking it or adding “liquid smoke” to it to produce the aroma, though these tend to have a chemical/ethanol or a creosol-like taint in the flavor as well.

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sophistre

Woo! I’ve been waiting all day to see what you’d pick first. ^^

Auggy

There were so many good choices for first pick! Sadly, I had given myself the jitters from caffeine before I got your package so I’m having to pace myself! :)

Jenn-cha

I love this one so much. Glad to hear you like it :)

Auggy

I can see why you’d love it – it’s really pretty and ‘pretty’ isn’t something I normally say for a smoky tea but this deserves it.

Thomas Smith

I love your review, but I thought I ought to toss an fyi your way about Bohea.
Bohea (pron. Boo-ee) is the English corruption of WuYi, the origin of the first fully oxidized teas which wound up going for export shortly after their invention. Tan Yang Te Ji was the first high quality hongcha and Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong (Lapsang) wasn’t too far behind. The Bohea from Teas Etc is actually a Lapsang, (which ought to have a balanced smoky aroma with a longan fruit flavor note, unlike the tarry junk that floods the market) while Tao of Tea’s Bohea may be a totally different WuYi hongcha. Interesting thing is ToT’s Bohea is listed as coming from near Xingcun, the birthplace of Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong. You probably have two teas that were processed in different ways from the same general area. Imperial Red – Da Hong Pao Hongcha – is another Bohea.

sophistre

So what is it that makes a tea be called Bohea vs. any number of other equally appropriate names? Is it a lingering designation from a time when the teas were primarily English exports, or…?

Auggy

Ditto to what sophistre said. Why can ToT and TE both call their teas Bohea when they are processed differently (which would make me feel they are different types of tea then)?

Thomas Smith

Well, they can call it whatever they like (I’ve seen a teas sold as “China Black” and “Wu Long”), but really it’s just a place name dragged from antiquity and can be applied accurately enough to any WuYi red. Incidentally, the same is true for Keemun… There are a good number of different reds produced around Qi Men – market trends and historically spread small-leaf varietal leads us westerners to accepting it all as the same. It’s being used as a market name like a company would use “Darjeeling” to evoke refinement (even if it’s CTC or fannings from the area rather than full leaf) – in the case of Bohea, the companies want to evoke posterity or connections to the name’s appearance in literature. Nothing really wrong with it, but it can get confusing since multiple teas fit the bill. I agree that it’s better to specify a style name from within a region; however, this is probably the location with the best case for shying away from that. Most folks have a justified aversion to one of the oldest and most widely produced Boheas, Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong, and the companies may want to avoid pointing out the tea falls under the same name but may taste different.

Localities tend to have a limited range of varietals they grow and local processing methods may vary but have similarities within a region so you can expect different WuYi reds to have different flavors and leaf appearances but share a sort of similar mineral and fruit like characteristics due to terroir and cultivar and be slightly smoky since many producers finish-fire using pine. Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong – Lapsang – has really been corrupted to overly-smoky versions, though. Its smoky rep now has many producers over-smoking it or adding “liquid smoke” to it to produce the aroma, though these tend to have a chemical/ethanol or a creosol-like taint in the flavor as well.

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I’m trying to be a better tea logger and actually post semi-regularly again! I’ve let my tea tasting senses become too complacent – it’s time for some focused and attentive tea drinking!

Sometimes my notices for PMs and such have been questionable. Email me at your own risk at aug3zimm at gmail dot com.


1 – 10 – Bleck. Didn’t finish the cup.
11 – 25 – Drinkable. But don’t punish me by making me have it again.
26 – 40 – Meh. Most likely will see if the husband likes it iced.
41 – 60 – Okayish. Maybe one day I’ll kill off what I have in my pantry.
61 – 75 – Decent. I might pick some up if I needed tea.
76 – 85 – Nice. I’d probably buy but wouldn’t hunt it down.
86 – 100 – Yum! I will hunt down the vendor to get this tea!

Not that anyone but me particularly cares, but there it is.

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