Aged Fo Shou Oolong – 2001 Fujian Oolong Tea
3 grams of plummy, chocolate-scented dark twisted and compacted leaves in a small unglazed porcelain pot; flash rinse; about 120 mL water 205 degrees, first infusion 20 seconds
strongly earthy, but also fruity and tart—not in the sweet dark almost prune notes I usually think of as plummy, but more like a tart, barely ripe plum, yet very mellow—needed to steep longer, despite sitting a few minutes after the flash rinse—seems like it wasn’t yet releasing as much flavor as it was absorbing water for this infusion
(this tartness seems to distinguish it from an aged puerh)
But it might in part be extra bitterness from fresh roasting….so I’m putting it in one of the yixings to air out a bit.
[I suddenly have a reason to buy a couple of nice ceramic tea caddies, just for times like this, when I want the tea to air out just a bit.]
And a week or so later, I’m drinking it again, and less of the bitterness is there—it DID need to air out a bit, and Greg had told me the sample he sent had been just re-roasted the day before. It is still fruity and tart and dark but the bitter is muted, and I’m enjoying it more. This is not a mellow, sip-while-working-on-something-else tea: a little slip with the infusion time and I’m back to bitter char.
It’s very interesting stuff, and I’ll enjoy working with the rest of this sample, but it’s not going to make it into my regular rotation, because there are too many teas I like better, that are not so demanding. But given how dilute I’m preparing it, I anticipate many, many more infusions before I’m done.
Editing to add: still getting interesting liquid from this packed gaiwan after at least two dozen steeps. Impressive stamina, but I did overstuff it.