Vegetal, but without that green “force” that you’d feel in most sencha. Definitely Japanese, but the leaves are a deep dark forest and the body is lighter than I remembered. The hint of sweet in the aftertaste is a real gift for a chill day.
95 Tasting Notes
The taste and aroma of kiwi pervade this tea. As soon as the leaves were rinsed, there it was: a high sweetness, but full in the mouth. It’s beneath the taste, really. If I hadn’t been paying such close attention, I may have missed any sweetness entirely. There’s still a lot of depth to this tea, but I didn’t find the flavors to be very nuanced. There’s the general woodiness that I expect from a Sheng, but very little leather or rough edges make for overall a very smooth sipping tea. Still, I did wish for a little more drama.
Many thanks go to Ben for giving me these leaves. The last time I tasted it I was distracted by trying to learn Majong and I think I missed much of what this tea has to offer. I’m glad to have had the chance to revisit it in a more contemplative setting.
This was infused gong-fu style in a small yixing for around 20 seconds and then increasing to around 30 or 40 seconds for later infusions. I believe we stopped at 5, although there could certainly have been some more.
This tea came from Ming Qiu Cha Yuan, a shop in a Shanghai tea market. Pumpkin orange in the cup, there’s a lot of Autumn in this tea. A fairly strong roast to the leaves gives much of the Wuyi oolong character to this tea, although there’s a subtle sweetness and fruitiness that lies just under the surface. In fact, the more I think of pumpkins, the more similarities I can see. Mouth-filling and full with a starchy texture and a creamy sweetness behind the earthiness of a harvest field, this 肉桂茶 makes quite an impression on this rainy October afternoon.
The name of the tea means “cinnamon bark”, perhaps referring to the wonderful aromatic roast of this tea. When I arrived in China, however, I was only vaguely aware of this particular Wuyi oolong. The first character, Ròu, when used by itself can mean “meat”, and when I first encountered a shop selling this tea I was more than a little repulsed by the idea of a “meat tea”. Reassured by my friend that Ròuguì has no connection to dead animals, I was pleasantly surprised to find this mysterious tea which seems to lean back and forth between the depth of Da Hong Pao (大红袍) and the sweetness of Feng Huang Dan Cong (凤凰单丛).
Read more of this tea’s story here: http://chaxicollective.tumblr.com/post/33310859548/2011-rou-gui-from-shanghai-this-tea-came-from
Brewing this in Cha Xi for the early Autumn, sitting by the window with the pink and purple of the season’s last morning glories peeking in. Memories of distant sun-soaked Pinglin are coming out of the pot right along with the tea.
Sweet like green grass and honeydew. Gentle roast that joins “tea” to “melon” in my taste memory; it creates a texture and chewiness on the sides of the mouth. Golden-green color.
Second infusion is more rich and less sweet. Tending toward the sweetness of a good light ale.
I figured a bit longer in the pot would help to bring back the honeydew. The third infusion takes the sweetness and makes it into a bold statement rather than a gentle brush. Mouth-filling, it brings together the tastes of the previous two.
About 45 second to one minute infusions with a decent amount of leaves. Brewed in my Yixing pot from Maokong, Taiwan, reserved for light roast oolongs.
Oh the memories! Haricot verts, fresh spring asparagus, sweet corn! A season in a cup. Sweet and toasty on the tongue. The wet leaves smell like the perfume of flowering lilacs, although that doesn’t come through in the infusion except for a delicate aroma. Characteristics of Yunnan Mao Cha definitely are present, but they do not define this tea. It is much more delicate.
Dark stick-like leaves. This tea is loose. Aroma of sweet hay and citrus fruits. A red amber color in the cup. Sweet tasting but with a light body and an amazingly long smooth finish. Reminiscent of some very short-brewed Shu puer of impressive quality. In lower quality Shu bings I have tasted, the flavor is earthy and muddy without much nuance to the aroma other than getting heavier as infusions progress. This tea shares the soft body and comfort to the stomach, but the flavors and aroma are delicious. Not being a brick, I think this will not give many infusions (when compared to similar Puer) but the infusions that exist are very much worth the sacrifice.
Roasted and crispy, as expected from a Wuyi Shui Xian. A woody aroma and a golden orange color. The first few infusions have very little real flavors on my tongue – more of a sense or feeling of charcoal. I then tried very hot water with a much longer infusion time (about 2 minutes) and was rewarded a very distinct aroma of steamed milk and a somewhat tannic coriander taste on the sides of the tongue.
I don’t have much experience with or knowledge of Gao Shan Lao Cong tea, but I can taste the signs of the title.
Gao Shan oolongs are usually highly praised for their well-defined aromas; this tea has more aroma than taste, although it is not flowery at all. They also tend towards a lighter body which this tea, despite its roast, does as well.
Lao (old) trees tend to be used for producing tea that packs a punch. This tea has just that effect; you can’t miss the charcoal dryness when it hits your tongue.
Not my favorite Wuyi oolong, but an interesting comparison to other Shui Xians I’ve had in the past.
Rich, but with a light body. That’s the contradiction of this delicious small-leaf variety. Usually I attribute this sort of rich texture to large leaves like Liu’An Guapian or Tai Ping Hou Kui. And yet these small leaves really soak into the water for a cloudy and mouth-filling infusion. This tea is also fairly tippy, which definitely accounts for its airy body and artichoke green flavor. There’s a hint of dryness in the aftertaste, but the light vegetable flavor stays on the front of the tongue for a while.
It’s my day of delicious, full-bodied oolongs apparently. Golden and rich. Never tasted better.
This really has become one of my favorite teas in my collection. Sweet and roasty taste. An aroma of toasted chestnuts and the texture of light cream. Lots of infusion potential. I’m not sure if the tea is getting better (certainly possible as rolled oolongs tend to do this) or if my taste is just aligning with it more.
Also maybe worth noting that I’m pretty sure the pinyin for this tea would be ‘hong shui’ (紅水), meaning ‘red water’. Taiwan uses many different romanization systems, though, so who’s to say what’s correct?
Sweet and a little tart with the definite flavor of blackberries. I liked the smooth earthy aroma and I may have sensed black cherries in there as well. Rewardingly mellow lingering taste that fades into a lightness. In fact, there’s potential to be too light with this tea.
The first few infusions I tried at 15 seconds or so, and they were good, but fairly light and generic shou puer. Afterward I gave it a good soak and found the richness I remember from tasting this tea in the shop in Lijiang. Some nice big leaves in there too.
This bing is 400g, so I should be drinking this one for some time.
One of the many treasures I brought back from the most recent trip to China, this tea is rich and savory. Not as bold as its less-tippy cousins, this hong cha has a lightness of body and character that would normally have me thinking of a white silver needle. It’s not surprising, really, since the leaves are all buds. All the delicious cacao and savory spices are there in the aroma and taste, though, to remind you that you’re drinking a Dian Hong. A perfect combination of body and lightness for a summer evening.
Richly roasted but bright and energizing in a way that I don’t usually expect from a Shui Xian. The aroma is earthy and comforting. When I bought this tea I actually thought I was buying a Da Hong Pao, but I suppose it’s easy for one roasted Wuyi to taste like another. Dark long twisted leaves with some twigs in there as well, which I usually would prefer not to find, but in this case I think it adds a bit of Hojicha-style nuttiness to the taste. (I imagine there’s a grade of this tea without the twigs too, and I’d love to drink that one.)
Infused Chinese-green-style with leaves floating in a tall glass, this tea makes a long-lasting cup. A little sweet with a gentle body and a bit of the “smoky” taste I attribute to Yunnan teas.
Refreshing, even on this hot day. Comforting on the stomach like a gently roasted Gao Shan, but rich and velvety like a tippy Dian Hong. Still fascinating.
Ruby red infusion. A salty, sweet taste almost like strawberries. I was getting worried because when I unwrapped the cake the edges were beginning to fall apart.
I thought at first perhaps it was a poor cake that I had gotten (although I had tasted it in Kunming). The edges of the Bing pulled apart easily at my touch, not needing a pick of any kind, but the appearance of the leaves, inside and out, was beautiful and without any obvious discoloration. The aroma was what I’d expect from a well-aged Shou puer.
The flavor is excellent. Mellow and soft compared to younger or lower-quality cakes, with a developing richness that I can’t wait to try as it continues to mature.
Infused in a Jian Shui pot.
Very clear, light gold infusion. The aroma of a much richer and darker black tea, maybe reminiscent of a Chinese Dian Hong (滇红). A gently sweet and soft taste with a hint of dryness in the aftertaste which implies that the lightness of body is inherent and not due to under steeping. Whereas I usually expect a rich body underneath quite a punch of floral flavor from a First Flush Darjeeling, this is much more mellow and it’s a good thing.
Light and a little toasty. The mouth aroma is surprisingly fragrant in the manner of a Gui Hua (osmanthus) green, but there aren’t any flowers in this tea. I did not rinse these leaves before brewing, and as such the second infusion had much more body, but still that mysterious squash-like osmanthus blossom taste. I hesitate to say “floral”, because these florals are nothing like Ali Shan. I can definitely make the connection to a richly aromatic Tie Guan Yin on the third infusion of this tea, but it definitely holds a unique place in itself as I generally expect Tie Guan Yin to be… darker in some way. I really should do a side-by-side some time.
This was for a tea review of a sample of Yin Zhen sent to me by Teavivre.
The leaf was very fluffy and downy. This was very promising as their Bai Mu Dan was similarly fluffy and produced an absolutely amazing cup. I was expecting a high sweetness I think of as typical of Silver Needles over the heartier, richer White Peony.
My first hint that this was a different Yin Zhen was the scent of the leaves. It was very woody and a tad musty. Not in a bad way, just more potent than I expected.
I watched the color closely as I brewed it (in a gaiwan) since I figured it would be wise not to trust my “normal” Yin Zhen technique. The first infusion (80C for 2 min) was sweeter than a Bai Mu Dan, but not overly so. There was a noticeable and pleasant lingering effect of that sweetness on the front of my tongue. It was faintly reminiscent of thyme and rosemary, maybe even with a mintiness. The liquor was a pleasant blond-gold color.
The second infusion (at the same time and temperature) had an aroma of straw and that woodiness that I sensed in the dry leaf. There was less sweetness.
The third and fourth infusion continued to be more woody and less sweet leaving me with the distinct impression of a really good Bai Mu Dan. It’s interesting and not bad, just not what I was expecting.
When asking for brewer’s choice tea at Dobra, I’ve received this twice in two days. It must be a sign. I think the message here is that I forget just how delicious and rich this Japanese green can be. So vegetal and creamy if brewed well I can even mistake the first cup for a gentle Gyokuro.
While visiting various tea vendors in Taiwan, I generally agreed with my co-travelers on which of the teas being sold were the most enjoyable. In one tiny shop in Taipei (Yu Ren Tang), however, I chose to differ from my friend and picked a 2010 unroasted Fo Shou instead of the roasted 2011.
Since I returned I’ve been disappointed in my choice. Each time I’ve infused this tea it’s been overly light and with only a ghost of toasty sweetness. I kept wondering how I had made such an error in tasting.
Fortunately, this tasting was different. Either due to the year that’s passed since I purchased the tea or some magic of the (rather large) number of leaves I used, these infusions were golden dark, richly mouth-filling, and quite aromatic in the mouth.
I hope to brew many more fine cups of this oolong as I try to unravel the secrets of its deliciousness.
Still delicious after being in a small plastic bag in my tea cabinet for the past two months.
The dry and damp leaves have a very subtle scent of distant flowers. I kept expecting a bolder aroma, but it’s as though they were content with reserving their floral qualities for the liquor.
Each infusion (I got about 5 before I decided to stop) was roughly the same, but in a fantastic way. I started with 90C water and about 30 seconds, increasing about 15 seconds for each subsequent infusion. The color was dark gold and tan and while the aroma of the cup continued to be light, the taste was full bodied oolong. My taste association with this tea is (at least today) sweet toasted bread and an equally sweet minty quality that confounds my taste logic. It’s not really minty in that sharp way that peppermint has, nor quite the potency of a spearmint (although that’s better). If you’ve ever noticed a minty quality to Tulsi basil, that’s closer to the mark. Anyway, it is very refreshing.
Definitely a a great tea to have on hand.
I infused this in my dark oolong yixing pot.
While Tie Guan Yin is always a pleasure, this infusion was just impressive enough for me to write about it. I won’t add infusion details because the first cup was made for me at the tearoom.
Floral and soothing, the bright green wet leaves seemed to have just been harvested, even though I know this is a fall Oolong from 2011. When I’ve tasted this batch previously I think I may not have used enough leaves to get this fullness of aroma.
The scent actually reminded me of walking around the streets of Maokong in Taiwan, which I guess makes sense since this cultivar is grown there as well. Dobra’s offer, however, is a Fujian tea, which I don’t usually associate with such intense floral aromas.
Much of the soothing character of this infusion was probably a very good roasting. There was still plenty of green and rich, but the hint of smoke and caramel that is indicative of a skilled oolong roaster. I will definitely have to experiment with this tea further.
On a side note, I’ve finally learned the tones of this tea’s name (pinyin: tie3 guan1 yin1) which is very pleasing. There’s so many teas that I still don’t know how to properly pronounce, although I guess knowing the names at all is pretty good for most Westerners.
The dry and (mostly) the wet leaves have a sweet and bread-like aroma, oddly reminiscent of fried vegetable tempura. The tuo cha come apart nicely in the cup. I rinsed the leaves twice before my first infusion, which was 90C for about 15 seconds. The taste and aroma are melon-like and round, light on the palate. Despite the lightness, there’s a twinge of deep sweetness on the tongue that I tend to associate with older shou puer (I’m not really sure of the age of these, although it probably is written somewhere).
The second infusion (90C for 20 seconds) became dark, heavy, and thick, just as I would expect from a shou puer with relatively small leaves. The taste is still a little sweet on the tongue, reminiscent of dried apricots and raisins.
The third infusion (90C for 10 seconds) is still quite dark. The mouth aroma has become more in the range of charcoal and damp moss, which is very pleasant. The sweetness fades here.
I’m certain there are at least 3-6 more infusions in this tuo cha, but I had tasted too many teas that day already and needed a break.