Origin TeaEdit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
2012 Red Jade from Origin Tea. I absolutely love how much it changes up based on both age, session and even infusion. One moment it can be potpourri, another orange marmalade or toffee, tonight it’s heavy on the rum raisin. I will deeply miss this when it’s gone as I will be very surprised if I can find anything even remotely close.
Flavors: Cloves, Orange, Raisins, Rum, Toffee
Rinse = Honey, coffee, vanilla
1st ~25s: Sweet, sour, vanilla, coffee
2nd ~30s: Coffee, spice, sour, vanilla, astringent finish
3rd ~50s: Like 2nd, but better
4th ~1.5mins: Same again but very sweet with spicy undertone finish
5th ~2mins: Vanilla and spice… Cinnamon buns perhaps?
This tea is a simple one and a great one. It has everything a gao shan should, including flavor complexity, mouthfeel, and aftertaste, with a light huigan. Yet, not many of these aspects were necessarily noteworthy, besides a perfectly proportioned astringency to add interest and stimulate salivation, without full-mouth drying, and an intense cooling sensation that filled the entire mouth, and lingered between steeps and after the session ended. Unfortunately, it’s major shortcoming was a lack of staying power across steeps, becoming weak around the fourth steep, and not putting forth much when pushed past that point.
This is a great example of gao shan oolong with traditional style.
I found the Cui Luan Lishan to be unique in its roasted qualities, which were very well integrated with the leaves’ properties and did not overpower in flavor. However, I found the aromas and flavors to be less powerful than the other two Lishan samples (Hua Gang and Shan Lin Xi), especially in the dry leaves’ scent, which was a fresh and floral base and undertones of the roast. The aroma of the leaves sitting in the heated gaiwan was the kicker, however. Rich roasted almonds and hints of stone fruit. Floral qualities became subdued, though were not lost completely.
The liquor had strong roasted-green qualities with a depth of flinty sweetness. It had a tendency to become a bit too tart for my tastes, although it transferred into a very nice, strong and thick aftertaste, with a lingering salivation and very few drying characteristics. More of my attention was drawn to the powerful throaty coolness (more than the Shan Lin Xi, but less intense than the Hua Gang, although the Cui Luan’s cooling lasted much longer throughout steeps). The empty cup was thick with a hefty roasted barly and caramel scent. As far as the form went, it was fairly basic. Each sip produced a steady rise through the opening into the development in both flavor and mouthfeel, granting a medium complexity. The finish, as mentioned above, was most noteworthy, given its length, strong mouthfeel and aftertaste, and potent sensations.
Preface: This summer I tried a variety of gao shan samples from Origin Tea via a sampling round hosted by Tea Chat. Recently, I received a sampling round of similar specimens from Teavivre, so I decided to post the notes on Origin’s teas first to determine a baseline.
I am the biggest fan of this Shan Lin Xi. I found its aroma the most interesting, with this undertone that reminded me of apple skins. To me, it had a most interesting huigan, although its aftertaste was outmatched by the Lishan samples. I also loved the Shan Lin Xi’s buttery textures that lasted throughout the entire session, and its multi-faceted textural form, rapidly evolving from opening to finish.
The dry leaves are very sweet-smelling and highly floral. Sizes are varied and all leaves are rolled somewhat loosely, with some leaf fuzz on a few, a high gloss, and each stem clearly apparent. Wet leaf aroma is powerful and wafting, with a certain vegetal pungency and stone fruit sweetness. In contrast, the liquor has a faint aroma, nearly absent. Liquor is bright and has excellent clarity. The mouthfeel is buttery smooth and presents a long-lasting, sweet aftertaste right from the start. The empty cup scent is subtle, with a low roasty, sugary scent.
The form is complex and entirely unique. It begins with a sweet, floral smoothness, proceeding with a deeper smoothness and gao shan characteristic complexity, with deep, vegetal sweetness. Towards the end of the development, greener qualities shine through, with a faint tartness in the rear of throat. Each sip finishes with a very sweet-tasting and cool-feeling mouthfeel, which quickly transforms into a stone-fruit, gao shan aftertaste with potent huigan.
After one short rinse, and 2 10sec infusions, woody forest flavours give way to sweet 70-80% dark chocolate with a hint of strong caramel, bitterness giving to underlying sweetness, so smooth and satisfying.
Then, adding ~5-10 sec per infusion, the tea thickened while the bitterness mellowed out from infusions 3-6 giving way to nutty and a hint of vanilla tones in the dark chocolate
Now adding 30 sec per infusion until infusion 12, when the flavour had weakened to the point of stopping.
I used a 120mL gaiwan, so yixing would probably enrich this tea much more and get more infusion out of it.