106 Tasting Notes
Bai Yun is an interesting tea to say the least. This Taiwanese style oolong using Yunnan leaves is exactly the flavor hybrid its name suggests. The translation is ‘white cloud’, although the flavors are far more robust and complex than “fluffy”
I had the pleasure of trying some 2012 Bai Yun in Fengqing although the tea I am drinking now is from Norbu tea. The fresh version was brighter and sweeter with a strong but quick finish, the aroma was also more “tobacco-ed” The 2009 harvest from Norbu is smoother and has a stronger malted body. The ‘09 also has a slight bit more of a menthol undertone similar to Sun Moon Lake #18.
Compared to a tradtional Bai Hao oolong, the Bai Yun leaves are darker, implying higher roast/oxidation level. This could also be attributed to the difference in amount of leaf-hoppers munching on the leaves to potentially create more dark leaves as opposed to the processing alone.
The wet leaves are similar looking to Dian Hong, the milk chocolate/caramel complexion with some whiter tips throughout. The flavor has that sometimes impossible to describe but easy to distinguish Yunnan characteristic. It has a dry and sweet blend (similiar to the april climate in Yunnan) The tea also has that rich honeyed body with some nice lower, back of the tongue notes that I come to expect from a Bai Hao.
Of the cross-bred teas we tried in China, this tea is the one that stands out as special. The Hong Bi Luo was more of a novelty as well as the Sheng/shou blends.
Many teas have come out of blending China leaves with processing methods from other countries, this could be the start of something wonderful, more Chinese Oolongs!
A side note: As my Bai Hao pot takes on more flavors, I enjoy each tea I brew even more than the last. Although I’ve only used it 7 or 8 times, it has already developed a beautiful patina!
On my recent, 5-week trip to China, I tasted countless sheng and shou Puers. I have some good ones, some not so good and a few fantastic teas that I needed to buy.
This bing was easily my favorite tea of the whole trip. We were at the largest tea market in Kunming when we found the Six Famous Tea Mountains shop. We told the owner we worked in an american tea house(her mother has written many books about this history of the company btw) We tried 4 or 5 teas with her and this tea was the standout.
The appearance of the leaves has shifted from a vibrant green to an autumn yellow in its young 7 years.
The bing comes apart easily but with a small amount of force needed. to keep the leaves intact, I used my hands instead of a pick.
The leaves are so long that I can’t fit them in my sheng pot without rinsing the leaves and having the moisture pull them down like noodles in a shallow pot of water.
The aroma of the wet leaves is like dry hay blended with some oak bark. The undertones of fruit come through the woodiness only slightly.
The first infusion is a rush of complex flavors of apricot, raisin, a little bit of cinnamon and a finish like a barley wine.
Each new brew was quick, even after 15 brews, I was still under 30 secs. now in my 26th or so infusion, the flavors are muted and the brew time has gone up to 3 mins just to get that much flavor out.
It will be hard for me not to drink this tea, but I want to see what these flavors do in 5-10 more years. Who knows, maybe I’ll be able to find more before then?!
This is the second time I’ve had this tea and wow, I have noticed so many changes just in the aroma! The smell is like a raisin or maybe a prune, pungent but still sweet and moist.
The liquor is like a mead color almost. a little more on the orange side but still quite light (and this tea is 25 years old!) The wet leaves amplify the dried fruit aroma and add more honey and nectar notes
The first infusion only has a slight hint of its age. dry but not sticky, still enough moisture to carry the flavors through the palate.
The second Infusion comes alive with strong notes of fruit and sweetness. the leaves expand quite nicely in my aged Yixing pot, this shows the sign of good roasting!
The third infusion brought a more dry, sweetness than previous infusions. I also needed to brew this one a little bit longer so I’m sure that’s why I tasted these notes.
Infusions 4-9 were more or less the same in terms of aroma, flavor and liquor. The age of the tea, that underlying depth and history started to overtake some of the sweeter flavors during these infusions. The color remained an amber/crimson/peach nectar sort of hue.
After another infusion or two, the tea was taking 4plus minutes to really get any flavor out, and while the color remained, the temperature of the tea was luke warm at best by the time it reached its desired flavor.
When I pulled the leaves out of the pot, they were sturdy but pliable. I saved one full leaf for my tea journal.
This 2011 harvest of Da Hong Pao is fantastic. A rich, roasty brew reminiscent of fall evenings and campfire cooking.
The infusion looks like a medium amber syrup. like the color suggests, it is slightly sweet in a lightly honeyed cereal kind of way. the roast is a balanced of smokiness and sauteed butter. my tongue keeps playing the series of tastes of in my mouth even after several minutes of not having had any tea. this is the sign of a good tea.
While I generally reserve this tea for colder days (like today) a roasted tea during warmer days can feel wonderful and help with temperature regulation.
The fruity flavors of this tea have grown and the sharpness that was more present a few months ago has now mellowed out into a smooth, sweet sheng puer.
More description and photos at my blog www.chaxicollective.tumblr.com
A Wonderful post-sushi tea, sweet in flavor and not too light in body. the bite from the spring leaves makes the 8th and 9th infusion a little sharp but the lingering sweetness smooths it out.
This Shou Zhuan Cha tastes like buttered noodles. a thick broth with a warm, sweet melty aroma and smooth flavor. the 3-6th infusions are the best and it seems to die after the 8th. you can get 15+ infusions if you use more leaves and just keep doing immediate infusions but i enjoy the flavors more when the leaves have some more room to expand in my yixing pot. I’ve only had 3 or 4 ripe Zhuan cha and when this one is brewed right it’s fantastic but I think the 2007 Zhao Li Qiao from Dobra is more consistent.
A crisp, sweet infusion of mango and apricot with a hint of hops. a warm sense of fulfillment as I take each sip. Not quite as good as the Song Zhong Phoenix but decidedly better than the Chi Ye from Camellia Sinensis. I would say that this is more fruity but less robust than the 2011 Feng Huang from Dobra equally as good!
This year’s Bai Hao is fantastic. the always sweet and robust infusion fills the mouth with a warm glow of flavor. i taste a little bit of cedar and a little bit of vanilla. the leaves are sprinkled with silvery tips that our little buggy friends have created. can’t wait to drink this on a Cha Xi
This brew has that freshly opened package taste without the sharpness that often comes with a newly harvested crop. the sweetness is matched by a tippy nuttiness that reminds me of lightly buttered green beans.