Ya Shi - 2011 Fall Fenghuang Oolong Tea

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Oolong Tea
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From Norbu Tea

Harvest: Fall, 2011
Varietal: 鴨屎/Yā Shǐ (English: Duck Feces)
Origin: Wudong Mtn, Chaozhou Pref., Guangdong
Plantation Altitude: /-1.312’ (/-400 M)
10 Gram Sample Available

Yes, this tea’s name really is Ya Shi (鴨屎/Yā Shǐ), which, in English, means “Duck Feces.” Fortunately, the name doesn’t come from the way this tea smells or tastes; rather, the story I was told attributes the name to the appearance. The farmer/teamaker who first started producing tea from this varietal named it “Ya Shi” because, when this tea is processed traditionally by hand, it always ends up very ugly and easy to recognize by its appearance – just like the “duck poop” on the floor. Evidently, duck poop is easy to distinguish from other kinds of poop…

Appearance, Flavor and Aroma:
The appearance of the Ya Shi leaves when dry is wiry and twisted, and the color ranges from olive green to yellowish green with reddish-brown edges. The dry leaf has a mild floral aroma, and, when infused, they produce a medium bodied, very clear yellow-gold infusion. The aroma and resulting flavor profile of this tea is a mix of bold floral and almost citrusy elements with a pleasantly bitter backbone that leaves a long-lasting and impressive bittersweet aftertaste.

Steeping Guideline:
To steep this tea, I would really only recommend steeping it Gong Fu style using a gaiwan or Yixing type teapot. When steeped in a more Western manner, this tea’s subtleties tend to be overshadowed by the more assertive flavors that are in the leaves, although the aroma is still pretty awesome. My preference is to use 6-7 grams of leaf in a 75-100 ml gaiwan, water at about 200 F or a little lower, a flash rinse, and a 15 second first steep. Gradually increase the steeping time in subsequent infusions. If the infusion is too bitter, decrease the steeping time and temperature, or if the infusion is too mild, try increasing the steeping time by a few seconds or upping the steeping temperature.

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