Yunnan Wild Arbor "Oriental Beauty" Oolong

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Oolong Tea
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195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 45 sec

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From Yunnan Sourcing

Oriental Beauty is originally a tea from Taiwan, but the many Taiwanese growers and tea masters have settled in Yunnan creating their own re-interpretations of Taiwanese teas using both Yunnan local varietals and high-altitude growing conditions. This tea was made in the style of a Taiwanese “Oriental Beauty” (aka 东方美人), but using large-leaf varietal wild arbor tea leaves from Wu Liang mountain. It is largely dark and coarse leaves with just enough silver tips to bring fruitiness to the darker sweet and thick taste. Being a Yunnan varietal this tea can be infused many many times. It will also keep for 2 or 3 years like Yunnan Black tea (云南红茶), developing subtle nuances with time.

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5 Tasting Notes

311 tasting notes

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

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)

Yunnan Wild Arbor “Oriental Beauty” Oolong from Yunnan Sourcing
Leaves: thin, dark twists, with sweet fruity tea scent
1st infusion: sweet, plummy, floral, with a spiciness that is not there in the BYO
2nd: spicy, fruity, floral
3rd: losing a bit of the spicy and sweet edge, thinner flavor, perhaps dissipating a little faster than the BYO, but really not much to choose between them at this point
4th: 4th: a little thinner, but still quite enjoyable; not holding as well as the BYO
5th: thinner, still a little fruity/spicy
Wet leaves: dark red leaves with hints of green; scent is sweet/tart

195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 30 sec

What a great comparison! But now I’m wondering if these are not, in fact, the same tea. They’re both from Wu Liang mountain in Yunnan, both made in the “oriental beauty” Taiwan style. And to me, they both look exactly alike. I’ve tried both teas, but at different times, so it didn’t occur to me before your comparison.


They might be. I couldn’t find any consistent different between them. I’ll happily get my next fix from whichever of these two sources I’m ordering from next. Right now, I am happy that I have enough from each source to add variety to my oolong rotation of green TGYs and alishans; dan congs; and darker roast wuyis and TGYs and dong dings.

Thomas Smith

I get the distinct impression that Norbu buys from Yunnan Sourcing. YS has discounted wholesale prices and Norbu sells teas with identical titles and partial descriptions at a higher price point than equal size orders from YS (actually at about the same percentage increase I was looking at selling for to cover shipping and packaging costs when I was reselling from them). If you aren’t buying a bunch from Scott or want faster arrival time, though, the price difference can totally make up for itself.


I think he may well get some stuff from Scott, but he does make his own trips to Yunnan to source teas, and he has a lot of teas that Scott does not, which include some of my favorites, so I order from him a lot anyway. I also had a good experience ordering directly from Scott at YS, but his selection is more limited outside the puerhs. I would happily order my next OB from him if I wanted something else he carries at the same time.

Right now my biggest problem is going to be sitting on my credit card and NOT ordering any more tea from anyone until I have drunk my way through a good portion of my overstocked cupboard!

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95 tasting notes

Good oriental beauty with strong spicy taste.
The taste lacks a bit of complexity but for this price it’s a good bargain.
I’ve tried brewing it in a teapot and a zhong :
5g, 12cl, 35",30",1’00, 2’00, 3’00.
I’ve liked it better with a water that has cooled down a little.

195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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