Wu Yu Tai Teahouse in Beijing
Popular Teas from Wu Yu Tai Teahouse in BeijingSee All 4 Teas
Recent Tasting Notes
I haven’t had this plain since I first got it, mostly because I wasn’t that excited by it in the first place. I’m just not as much a fan of roasty teas, and this one is a roasty, more traditional tieguanyin, not a floral green one. How can two teas have the same name and be so different tasting? sigh For this cup I let the water cool (though I’m not sure to what temp), and I steeped it for only 2 minutes. The tea is perfectly fine tasting, but not very exciting.
Honestly I’m not sure that this note has much relevance because I can hardly smell anything right now. My congestion is one of the reasons that I haven’t tried to go tea shopping yet, because I feel like I won’t be able to taste anything properly. Hopefully it will clear up or I will find a remedy soon.
This morning I doubled up on the leaf (two “scoops”) and dropped my steeping time to only a minute to do kind of a semi-gongfu brewing. It’s more vegetal but also a little more floral maybe… it’s hard to pin down the difference, but it does taste different in a way that I like. But then that vegetal flavor gets too much for me, in a way that I don’t like. The second steep (same parameters) is sweeter but also kind of overly vegetal in almost a bitter way, which is definitely conflicting. Maybe I’ll try a scoop and a half of leaf next time to see if I can find a happy medium.
Greetings from Beijing! Can you believe that I’ve been here for a day this is the first time I’m sitting down and having a cup of tea? I was just running about so much yesterday and never had time to stop and relax. So I’m having a few cups early this morning before I go do some research. One thing I did yesterday was hit up Wu Yu Tai, a tea store chain in Beijing, to get some tea I could drink in my hotel room (yay for electric kettles and tea cups provided). I went to their big store in the shopping area of Wangfujing, which was pretty busy. Iooked around for a bit then waited for someone to become available to help me. Of course they spoke almost no english, so I pulled out my iPhone with my “tea flashcards” I made to facilitate. First I asked for a gong fu black and struck out completely. Since I knew the kettle in my room was one-setting (and I’m not good at judging water temps), I wanted a tea that could stand up to boiling, so my next choice was a Tieguanyin. This one, of course, they had. They had a few different grades but the lowest was 500RMB for 500g, and since I just wanted something to drink every morning in my hotel I didn’t want to spend too much, so I went for that. If it’s the same as the third grade Tieguayin that’s on their website, I paid a premium for buying in-store, or at least that store.
This morning I brewed it up. The hotel provided me with two tea cups with lids, so I used one like makeshift gaiwan and decanted into the other one. It worked pretty well, but was also pretty messy, no doubt partly because I don’t have experience with a gaiwan and partly because it’s not a gaiwan (double wammy!). I guessed on the amount of tea to put in (one somewhat rounded teaspoon-y thing I got at the grocery store), so I look forward to playing around with amounts. Steeped, it was a fairly dark yellow-amber color and it smelled roasty and pretty vegetal. This is definitely a more traditional Tieguanyin as opposed to the more green ones I’ve usually had. The vegetal smell was a bit off-putting because it smelled like it might even be a bit bitter or too vegetal for me, but my first sip was smooth and not over steeped to my taste. Roasty, vegetal, without florals, not very buttery, this isn’t what I typically look for in a Tieguanyin, but it’s pretty tasty just the same. It just kind of seems like a generic “oolong” tea though. It will make for a good everyday tea while I’m here. The experience did reinforce that buying tea here is going to be difficult with the language barrier, but I will try my best!
When it comes to most black (red) tea, I am an advocate of “topless brewing”. I mean, using a topless vessel, like a teapot with lid removed. Many Chinese tea experts say Yunnan black yields the best flavor when it’s brewed in a lidded teapot with hot, hot water, for more than a few minutes. With that method, I have yet to experiment on teapot volume and leaf amount. But so far, topless brewing works the best for me.
Yunnan black is one of a kind. This tea lasts 3-4 consistent infusions. It has a light, pleasant smokey front taste combined with a hint of floral fragrance. I say “pleasant” because I normally don’t like smokey taste in tea but like such subtle smokiness. Following that, the tea yields a rich, warm fruity aroma. The texture of the tea water is very smooth and soupy.
Yunnan black is my “warming” tea. For some reason, every year I start to yearn for it in early autumn. Then after April, I barely drink it.
For a few times, I saw questions like “I am a coffee drinker switching to tea. What tea can replace coffee?” I used to think, how could any tea be possibly compared with any coffee? But this morning I ran out of coffee beans. Such scary situation is happening for the first time in the past 3 years! As a tea lover and coffee lover, I randomly want coffee or tea for the first cup of the day. Today, the inner me happened to want coffee when there was no coffee in the house! Then without analytical thinking, I brewed this tea.
Still, I don’t think this tea is anything similar to coffee, absolutely no observable similarities, not at all. But maybe it’s a possible answer when a coffee lover runs out of coffee :D
(I used a 150ml teapot, lay dry tea leaves to cover 1/2 bottom of the teapot, and fill the teapot to probably 4/5 full.)