Bai Yun Oolong

Tea type
Oolong Tea
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Edit tea info Last updated by Jason
Average preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 1 min, 45 sec

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11 Tasting Notes View all

From Norbu Tea

Highlights:
Fall Harvest 2009
English Name: White Cloud Oolong
Growing Area: Wu Liang Mountain, Jingdong County, Yunnan
Varietal: Yunnan Wu Liang large leaf
Oxidation: +/- 70%
Packaged in 50 gram portions

This “Bai Yun,” or White Cloud Oolong was made from fall harvest, 2009 “wild arbor” Yunnan Large Leaf tea grown in the Wu Liang mountain area of Pu-Erh prefecture.

It was processed in the style of the famous Taiwan oolong known as Bai Hao, Dong Fang Mei Ren, or “Oriental Beauty.” During the past several years, a number of Taiwanese tea growers, tea masters and entrepreneurs have settled in Yunnan, bringing their own distinct styles of processing with them. This tea is, in my mind at least, a fantastic example of what outside influences & expertise can do with Yunnan’s high quality “wild” tea raw materials, and the much lower price of a high quality Bai Hao style tea produced outside of Taiwan is definitely a welcome bonus.

I feel it is important for me to emphasize, however, that this tea is Yunnan tea processed with Taiwanese methodology and know-how. It is distinctly different from authentic Bai Hao oolong produced from traditional cultivars in Taiwan, and should be viewed as such.

As is typical of Bai Hao style oolongs, this Bai Yun oolong was allowed to oxidize to around 70-75% before it was pan fired by hand in relatively low temperature woks to arrest the oxidation of the tea leaves. The leaf style is long and twisted rather than rolled and you will notice many little white buds mixed in with the mostly mahogany colored leaves. These white buds are the source of one of this style’s names: Bai Hao literally means “white tip” or “white fine hair.”

The relatively high degree of oxidation yields a lovely amber colored liquor when infused. The flavor can best be described as a nice balance of sweet/sour with some mild floral, citrus, and honey undertones. It is quite infusable, yielding 5 or 6 quick gong-fu style infusions before beginning to fade.

A treat not to be missed.

About Bai Hao Style Oolong:
Oriental Beauty style tea is a very interesting tea requiring a unique environmental factor that causes amazing flavor profiles to become possible. In the late Summer & Fall months of August through October, a particular type of Leafhopper (Cicadellidae) known as a Tea Jassid becomes most active in Yunnan. These tiny insects use their nearly microscopic mosquito-like pokers to suck nutrients out of the most tender leaves & buds of the tea plants, causing a very small amount of damage and stress to the affected tea plants. The bitten tea leaves then oxidize at the feeding location and produce unique polyphenol compounds and tannins which attract spiders and other predators to where the tea jassids are highly concentrated. The wonderful coincidence that happens is that these defensive compounds give the tea a sweet-and-sour taste with a totally unique mild honey overtone.

About Norbu Tea View company

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11 Tasting Notes

75
1268 tasting notes

This didn’t go as well with pancakes as I had imagined it would. Pancakes had rather too much flavour to really be able to taste this tea. Secondly, there wasn’t really enough leaf for the size of pot I was making.

What I did get out of it, though, was something bordering on caramelised with floral edges and pinch of cocoa. Also something rather raisin-y in there.

That’s it really. This was another one of those teas I could have sworn I had posted about before and so therefore I wasn’t paying too much attention to it. Also, pancakes.

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92
4366 tasting notes

My Oolong fix for today.

I love the color of this tea – Golden! I wrote a review about this tea for the Tea Review Blog that can be read here:

http://www.teareviewblog.com/?p=10332

This tea reminds me so much of a Fancy Formosa Oolong (Oriental Beauty), from it’s appearance, to the color and scent of the liquor and even the flavor is quite reminiscent of an Oriental Beauty.

I am continually in awe of Norbu’s teas – always of such excellent quality and exceptional taste. This cup is another perfect example of this. Multiple infusions to follow!

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 0 sec
__Morgana__

I just ordered the sample set from Norbu today. Looking forward to it. Plus Greg seemed really nice in the email he sent to confirm my samples pick.

LiberTEAS

You won’t be disappointed by Norbu. Their teas are awesome. One of my very favorite companies, now that I am not blending teas any longer!

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86
6770 tasting notes

very yummy. I’m really liking teas from Norbu!

EvaPeva

tell me more!

TeaEqualsBliss

Have you been on the tea review blog!?

EvaPeva

asking about me personally? or did you write a review on there about this tea?

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95
108 tasting notes

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.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 45 sec

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87
108 tasting notes

Bai Yun is an interesting tea to say the least. This Taiwanese style oolong using Yunnan leaves is exactly the flavor hybrid its name suggests. The translation is ‘white cloud’, although the flavors are far more robust and complex than “fluffy”

I had the pleasure of trying some 2012 Bai Yun in Fengqing although the tea I am drinking now is from Norbu tea. The fresh version was brighter and sweeter with a strong but quick finish, the aroma was also more “tobacco-ed” The 2009 harvest from Norbu is smoother and has a stronger malted body. The ‘09 also has a slight bit more of a menthol undertone similar to Sun Moon Lake #18.

Compared to a tradtional Bai Hao oolong, the Bai Yun leaves are darker, implying higher roast/oxidation level. This could also be attributed to the difference in amount of leaf-hoppers munching on the leaves to potentially create more dark leaves as opposed to the processing alone.

The wet leaves are similar looking to Dian Hong, the milk chocolate/caramel complexion with some whiter tips throughout. The flavor has that sometimes impossible to describe but easy to distinguish Yunnan characteristic. It has a dry and sweet blend (similiar to the april climate in Yunnan) The tea also has that rich honeyed body with some nice lower, back of the tongue notes that I come to expect from a Bai Hao.

Of the cross-bred teas we tried in China, this tea is the one that stands out as special. The Hong Bi Luo was more of a novelty as well as the Sheng/shou blends.

Many teas have come out of blending China leaves with processing methods from other countries, this could be the start of something wonderful, more Chinese Oolongs!

A side note: As my Bai Hao pot takes on more flavors, I enjoy each tea I brew even more than the last. Although I’ve only used it 7 or 8 times, it has already developed a beautiful patina!

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 30 sec

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87
24 tasting notes

I’ve been drinking two different “oriental beauties”: Hou De’s Taiwan Bai Hao and Norbu’s Bai Yun (which is also Yunnan Sourcing’s “Wild Arbor Oriental Beauty”).
The idea is that the Taiwanese tea masters who settled in Yunnan brought their Bai Hao skills, which in Taiwan are used on the teas that grow in the humid, foggy, northern part of Taiwan, to the higher-altitude Wu Liang mountain variety.
The dry leaves of this Yunnan variety are a beautiful, autumnal mixture of dark mahogany, golden brown, and the “white hairs” of the name. Overall they are slightly darker than the Hou De.
A half full pot of dry leaves produces a pot brimming with wet ones. I brewed at 200+ degrees for 2+ minutes. Dark amber cup. For me, honey was the pronounced aroma and taste. Berries quickly get your tongue’s attention: let’s see, cranberries, maybe? white grapes? Definitely some spice notes, but I can’t really pin point them. Not earthy; a little wood, but rather more bright. A very pleasant thickness and dryness balances the sweet honey.
The wet leaves show the quality of the processing, with little bundles of stems and leaves intact. The wet leaves are more green, less golden-red than the Hou De Taiwan variety. But while Norbu describes this variety as having large leaves, I don’t see them as any larger than the Taiwan variety.
This tea is quite oxidized, low roast, no smoke, rather bright. I’m not sure about the correlation of fermentation to caffeine, but I got jacked on a couple of pots of this, whereas I can drink yan cha all day and still fall asleep easily. This tea is quite durableand it’s really pleasant to drink later infusions, even after the complexity wanes. It stores a long time (like black tea) . It’s also kind of amazing for the price, like most of Norbu’s teas. I think this would be a good tea to recommend for friends new to oolongs.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 15 sec

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83
311 tasting notes

I did a head-to-head with this tea and a similar tea from Yunnan Sourcing today:

http://www.well.com/user/debunix/recipes/YunnanOBs.html

In the end, both were lovely teas. Oddly enough, given that the BYO was end-of-bag with more broken leaves, it took the 2nd infusion to start showing the spiciness and full flavor that the YSOB gave immediately. The BYO, however, seemed to hold that lovely flavor a little longer, but by the 5th infusion, both are starting to thin out, pretty much done. I have only had one Taiwanese Oriental Beauty, and that was a rose scented version that was quite unlike roses or like these lovely teas. A high quality Taiwanese Oriental Beauty is reputedly quite hard to come by, but these teas are quite satisfying, and not too pricey, so I don’t feel any particular need to try the genuine article.

1.9 grams of tea
about 4 oz water (larger gaiwans, not preheated)

1st 195 degrees, 45 seconds
2nd 185 degrees (too impatient to wait for full reheating), 30 seconds
3rd 175 degrees (ditto), 1 minutes
4th: 195 (more patient this time), 2 minutes
5th: water just off full boil, 1 minute
(stopping because of diminishing marginal returns)

2009 Fall Bai Yun Oolong—Yunnan Oolong Tea from Norbu
Leaves: thin, dark twists, with sweet fruity tea scent
1st infusion: sweet, fruity, floral
2nd: spicy flavor there now, still fruity and floral
3rd: still spicy/sweet/fruity/floral, but starting to thin a little esp in the fruity notes
4th: a little thinner, but still quite enjoyable; holding up better than the YSOB
5th: thinner, still a little fruity/spicy
Wet leaves: dark red leaves with hints of green; scent is sweet/tart

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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