Wing Hop Fung
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Recent Tasting Notes
I’ve had some good and some not so good brewings of this tea since I first logged it, and I think the difference is, as always, time and temperature. If I brew it too hot in the early infusions, there is a really unpleasant bitterness that comes out. If I treat it extra delicately, as I did today, starting with water at 150 degrees and moving up to 160 only after 2-3 infusions, it remains beautifully mellow, richly sweet, a little floral and very vegetal, more peas and fat asparagus spears than asparagus tips. It can be an excellent tea for the price, if treated nicely.
Not too expensive ($48/lb), this tea is curled and delicate, leaves smell vegetal but not strong.
5 grams tea, 5 oz/150mL water 165 degrees, infused about 30 seconds, mixed the first two infusions together as I am drinking them. The liquor is pale golden, sweet, very delicate floral flavor, with a nice thick body, hints of sweet peas, no hint of astringency or bitterness. A 3rd and 4th infusion are losing body and sweetness, some astringency coming through.
The damp leaves smelled like asparagus after the 2nd infusion, but can’t distinguish much after the 4th.
Overall, this is a nice, mellow, sweet white tea, and not too pricey as white teas go—a relative bargain.
Duplicate of this review with photos at link below (my site, no ads, no flash)
I am writing a note based on the assumption per other’s description that this is the Silver Needle Yellow Tea from Hunan, which I bought from Wing Hop Fung recently. I had bought something labelled ‘yellow tea’ a year or more before, loved it, but wasn’t sure where I’d bought it or which tea it was when I ran out and wanted to replace it. This tea appeared dark olive, not as downy as the silver needle I get from Chado.
But the Hunan Silver Needle Yellow Tea was not what I was looking for: not as sweet, more astringent, and even bitter. i have been unable to find a sweet spot to brew this tea, and I have gone all the way down to 160 degrees like for a very delicate white tea without a satisfying result. So….am I describing the same tea as the others here, or a different one?
I ended up giving the tea away to someone else who will hopefully find a sweet spot for brewing it better than I did!
Today made this one again, still haven’t done it formally with photos and drinking each infusion separately, but I wanted a thermos full of tea, so used enough to stuff my 100mL red clay pot full when then opened, and from that brewed up a quart of tea. It’s been sitting a few hours, and the impression now is sweet, floral, not very earthy. Rather chameleon like vs my first experience with this tea. Delicious however you brew it.
Their web site describes it as a ‘semi-oxidized, earthy brew’. I found the dry tea leaves to be fairly dark, and very tightly rolled. I took just a small amount—enough to cover the bottom of the small 2.5oz/75mL gaiwan—for my first brewing, and after a couple of infusions the leaves nearly fill the gaiwan.
The first impression was rich, thick liquor, sweet and floral and rich, but when several combined infusions sat for a while in my 10 oz cup, the sweetness was much less pronounced, and a deeper, earthier flavor appeared.
I am used to some flavor changes as teas sit: I typically brew up a quart of my teas at a time, and drink that from a thermos over several hours during my workday. But I’ve not noticed such a rapid and profound change in any of my lightly oxidized Ali Shan and Tie Guan Yin Oolongs before.
I guess that’s why its described as “earthy” rather than predominantly sweet. Very interesting tea.
I was craving Ceylon tea, because I didn’t bring any with me. So, I bought a half-pound at this store, because they seemed to know tea, and, regardless, Ceylon is Ceylon. I can drink the mediocre stuff if I’m really craving it.
This tea turned out to be terrible. The leaves bits are tiny, practically what you’d stuff into a teabag. Every time I brewed this, it came out unpleasantly bitter. That has nothing to do with steep time – I tasted it as it steeped, and it was bitter from the start, and the rest of the flavor gradually seeped in. Water temperature also seemed to play a minor role in the astringency.
So, I figured, because I have most of it left, I might as well try icing it. So, I put a spoonful or two in a strainer, in a cup of water, and left that in the fridge for like 4 hours. It’s great – compared to the hot brew.
As a cold brew, it’s not bad. Not superb. Not something I’d crave. Weak body, and still even a little bitter, but maybe i brewed it too long.
At the very least, it’s drinkable, which is more than can be said about the hot-brew version of this.
What’s the lesson here? Don’t get Sri Lankan tea from a good Chinese shop. Leave it to the more generalized tea stores. Hmmm…. Maybe someday I’ll discover a Sri Lankan tea shop… how cool would that be???!!!
One of the three teas I picked up in the Wing Hop Fung shop in LA’s China town. This tea, a Formosan Oolong, was going for $68 a pound, and I got a few ounces. I’d say it was a very fair price.
Though I’m not certain, I’m assuming this was grown at a higher elevation, judging by the taste. There’s truly not much that separates this tea from most of the finer Taiwanese mountain Oolongs I’ve had. In that sense, it has its pros and cons.
This isn’t going to be the everyday Dong Ding you’ll find in most retail tea shops. There’s definitely the nuance and delicacy of a finer tea, and it should be enjoyed as such. This is a tea to make in a gaiwan or small teapot, and to be served at least somewhat ceremoniously – even if that means you just have a small brewing vessel and a bowl, make sure you’re in the right mood and atmosphere to appreciate the flavor and more meditative qualities to the tea.
On the flip side, this tea doesn’t quite stand out to me. While very enjoyable, it has yet to leave an impression on me – perhaps after a few more tries, it’ll stick. As for now, I have fonder memories of finer, high-elevation Ali-Shan Oolongs. Perhaps it’s just my spoiled tongue that overlooks this tea.
As for the details: Smooth, with very slightly creamy taste in there. There are a notable number of stems, nearly all the leaves are attached to them, but it doesn’t add too much boldness to the flavor. Very capable of multiple-steeping, though I didn’t brew it enough to find the flavor’s threshold.
The water color is a light, bright green – one of Oolong liquor’s gorgeous shades. Like many Taiwanese teas, very fragrant – I took a few moments taking in the scents from my gaiwan’s lid, afterward. The spent leaves where a bit chewy, and some were a bit bitter where others were rather mild. Again, I’m not sure how safe or healthy it is to eat the leaves.
Overall, a good tea. Within a very large selection of great teas, I wouldn’t consider it a leaf for special occasions, but it’s definitely a type of “bulk” tea to have on hand for daily or time-to-time serious tea sessions.
Had this on my balcony, because my dormmate went into the main room right before i decided to do tea, and… I don’t like being in the same room as him. Just one of those people where all the small things he does (like eating loudly, how he talks on the phone, the trivial things he tries to talk about) get on my nerves. So, tea on the balcony, in a jacket and beanie.
I figured that since I somehow got two new followers tonight, I might as well post a tea to level it out.
Not much to mention about the first two steeps. The first was kind of bitter, the second more as expected. While I waited for the water to cool, I kept up with the excitement on the new forums (woo!) Yes, I had my laptop outside with me while I did tea.
The third infusion was actually somewhat sweet. I think the water was a bit cooler than usual, and the first two steeps probably softened it up a bit. In any case, a pleasant surprise (much like the updates!)
Probably going to take this tea home with me on friday, so I can show some friends. I miss my teas back home… amongst other things. For now, though, this yellow tea is – in my cupboard ;)
/bad reference to new update.
So, I said I’d drink it, and I did.
Not much to say though.
I enjoyed it, I really did, and it took me places. I moved the table in our living room – I needed a fresh spot to do tea, even if that meant just 5 feet away. I didn’t realize, until I got up to boil the water and looked out our glass balcony door, that it was light outside. It was weird, because I thought, for some odd reason, it would still be at least a deep blue.
I really like this yellow tea. It’s a shame they don’t produce more of it. Nice, soothing… I think I said this last time, but it has the best of both worlds, green and white. A fine tea, a fine morning. And on to some TKY.
I purchased this in Los Angeles’ Chinatown, at a shopping center called Wing Hop Fung. It was $80 a pound, and I got a few ounces. Though I was a bit off-put by the flavor of the sample in the store, as it had been sitting out for who knows how long, I decided to buy it anyway – This was my first chance to buy Yellow tea.
Very glad I made the decision to buy it. I brewed it fresh in a tea set from the same store (wonderful, complete glass set for an amazingly low price,) and I was very pleased. Though I can’t truly compare this to any other teas of the genre, I can tell there was definite quality to this tea.
There were definitely tastes of both Green and White tea. It had that distinct, natural taste of White tea – the one you need to get used to, and that puts most people of White tea from the start – as well as what I’d relate to the buttery finish of Lung Jing Green. Mild, and not a hint of bitterness. For the moment, I prefer Yellow tea to White.
A side note – Out of curiosity (and slight hunger) I decided to try eating the leaves afterward. I’ve tried this with other teas, but this is by far the most pleasant leaf I’ve tried. It’s Silver Needle, so the leaves are very soft and tender, though a bit tasteless; but on the same note, not bitter. I’m chewing through the leaves as I write this…
Hope that’s not toxic at all.