2009 Old Plantation Qing Xin

Tea type
Oolong Tea
Ingredients
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Flavors
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Caffeine
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Edit tea info Last updated by Pamela Dean
Average preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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3 Tasting Notes View all

  • “Leaves are dark, tightly rolled, some stems, toasty dark tart scent. 1.5 grams of tea into 60mL gaiwan, water 180 degrees, rinse x 15 seconds, then 20 second steep: first impression is spicy,...” Read full tasting note
    84
    teaddict 311 tasting notes
  • “This tea rewards attention with a complex layering and swirling of the mild roastedness and floral tastes. Leaves are tightly rolled. One teaspoon+ in a 175ml dragon egg pot (the leaves will...” Read full tasting note
    90
    deftea 24 tasting notes

From Norbu Tea

Highlights:
-Harvest: Fall, 2009
-Growing Area: Jenai Township, Nantou County, Taiwan
-Elevation: +/-3,300-4,000 ft (1,000-1,200 M)
-Varietal: Qing Xin
-Oxidation: 25%
-Roasting: 60%
-Vaccum Sealed in 50 g Portions
-Ships in resealable stand up pouch

This particular tea was produced entirely from Qing Xin or “green heart” cultivar tea trees that were planted in the late 1930’s in Jenai Township of Nantou County, Taiwan. These precious tea trees are some of the oldest living specimens in Taiwan, and they have been allowed to grow in a semi-wild fashion for the past decade or so.

Essentially, this is a wild grown tea; but, since the trees were actually planted (or grafted) by humans, we can’t call it a truly wild tea. This is why we are referring to it as an “old plantation” tea, to borrow a term from the Pu-Erh producers in Yunnan. Despite this technicality, production from these trees is extremely limited, and we are very lucky to have gotten some of this tea from the Fall harvest of 2009.

The harvesting, processing & roasting of this tea was done with extreme care. It was picked entirely by hand to cause minimal damage to the precious trees. After picking, the tea leaves are allowed to sit and wither for some time until some moisture evaporates out of the leaves & they become pliable enough for rolling. At this point, the leaves are rolled to bruise them and start the partial oxidation process common to all oolong teas. In this instance, the tea master allowed these leaves to oxidize approximately 25% of the way before it was wok fired to stop the oxidation process. The tea was then dried and made ready for the final step: roasting.

The roasting of this tea was done in the traditional manner using glowing (not flaming) charcoal that has been covered with ash (usually from burned rice hulls) to prevent flare ups and smokey tastes from penetrating & overpowering the tea flavor. The roast is what I would term a “medium-high” roast, and the producer refers to this tea as 60% roasted. It is not as light as the medium roasted oolong from Alishan that we also carry from the Winter 2008 season, but it is not as dark a roast as the traditional Wu Yi Oolongs that we also carry.

The flavor profile of this tea balances the distinctly “charcoal roasted” taste of toasted grain with the other distinctive notes of dried stone fruit and maybe just a hint of tropical fruit flavor.

On a personal note, this “old plantation” tea represents a really great direction for the more exclusive, artisanal type teas from Taiwan to be taking. By shifting some focus from mass production from younger, more productive plants to these precious older trees, a whole different range of flavors and feelings can be experienced in the finished teas. Old tea trees are valued in Pu-Erh and Dan Cong production for a reason, so why can’t the unique flavor characteristics of old trees be as valued in Taiwanese Oolong production?

About Norbu Tea View company

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3 Tasting Notes

84
311 tasting notes

Leaves are dark, tightly rolled, some stems, toasty dark tart scent.

1.5 grams of tea into 60mL gaiwan, water 180 degrees, rinse x 15 seconds, then 20 second steep: first impression is spicy, interesting, but oops, before I can form a proper opinion, I am thirsty and it is gooood, gulp, gone. 2nd infusion is a little spicy, a little sweet, a lot toasty-roasty, but there is a smoothness here even in the 2nd infusion that often takes 4 or 5 infusions to achieve in a more assertive Wuyi rock tea or even my old supermarket brand Ti Kuan Yin. And there’s no sense that a bitterness or astringency is just around the corner if I am careless with times or temps.

I was interrupted and have lost count of the infusions, but I am pretty sure the current one is 9 or 10. The flavor is more dilute now, but there is still some sweetness and a little something else that is very Ti-Kuan-Yin-like. And the flavor was smooth but still quite definite out to the 7th or 8th infusion—that smooth 2nd infusion carried over without turning to water at the 3rd or 4th.

After the infusions, the leaves are unrolled, but still very crumply and twisted, with a dark brown color and a charcoal scent: with some determination they can be coaxed and pressed and flattened into medium sized, quite intact leaves.

Nice nice tea, need to get my order in before I post this, people order it all, and Greg runs out!

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 0 min, 30 sec
deftea

I’ve spent a lot of time with this tea lately. Great summer tea for those who prefer some “sweet toasty-roasty” as you say! I’ve started to leave the first infusion in a bit longer to let the leaves unfold. Still no bitterness. The 2nd and 3rd infusions are the best to me. I’ve ordered a big stash.

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90
24 tasting notes

This tea rewards attention with a complex layering and swirling of the mild roastedness and floral tastes. Leaves are tightly rolled. One teaspoon+ in a 175ml dragon egg pot (the leaves will eventually expand to pack that pot). Heat the pot first and sniff the vanilla aroma from the hot dry leaves. Now water 180-185º. After rinse, I let the first infusion go for 45-50 seconds to give the leaves time to unfold. Spice and bright flowers in the first infusion. Leaves still tight. Second infusion 30 seconds. A nutty creaminess starts to emerge and appears to float between toasty spice and floral tastes. Still bright but maybe slightly sweet vanilla-almond. Am I dreaming? Sniff the empty cup for a pleasantly pungent herbal aroma clinging to the bottom — sassafras? Long lasting tea; even the last cups, steeped more than two minutes, are sweet. The finished leaves reveal the quality of the tea’s making by hand — whole leaves with stems still intact. Teaddict gives alternate steep times, which should be tried. But even my longer times yield no bitterness. There’s a lot to appreciate here.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 0 min, 45 sec

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