Tea YuanEdit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
Prep: 100cc gaiwan, full to brim (didn’t weigh), boiling water, 10s steeps until the color fades and then chase it
Sessions with this tea: 6+
Taste: Reading previous reviews I was like “what? plum? this is all roast” but then there it was. This is much heavier on the roast notes — fire and coal and spice — than what I’ve been drinking lately. And yes, this tiny nutty fruitiness with a sour note pokes a head out from steeps 4-6 or so, then fades back in. The nuttiness lingers like a slightly bitter pecan, and the last several steeps brings out more and more sweetness, which fades away slowly. My second session with it I appreciated the roast notes more, since I wasn’t drinking it immediately after a session with gaoshan.
Body: The thickness is good and offsets some of the high roast, if this were a thin body tea I think I would not like it. This had me salivating afterwards also, which was interesting. The energy hit me hard and I thought my head suddenly expanded in size.
Overall this is an enjoyable tea. The roast is a bit heavy-handed at the front, but ends up adding complexity rather than dumbing down the tea to roast notes. It has a nice evolution from savory and smoky to sweet, with that short-lived little sour fruit note in the middle.
Edit: I let the second half of my sample sit around a bit before finishing. Some of the roast notes died off, and the throatiness and body of the tea stands out a bit more. I think at this level, the roast is perfect for this tea, and there is good rou gui flavor. This is a very enjoyable tea overall. My only complaint is that it steeps out quickly, and I haven’t been in a position to try boiling it.
Prep: 60 or 100cc gaiwan, 5g, boiling water, at first 5s steeps, increasing to chase flavor
Sessions with this tea: 5
Taste: Some good roast flavor at first which then backs off, some dry cacao which is not as in your face as other teas, very smooth overall. The tea shines through after the roast backs off, slightly floral for the shui xian spectrum but not too sweet.
Body: Medium thickness to the mouthfeel, good mineral strength. Moderate energy, sits in my neck and upper chest.
Overall enjoyable tea and I’m looking forward to more of Tea Yuan’s offerings. This is in the middle of the shui xian spectrum for me. There are much sweeter and more fragrant versions out there, and there are also much drier and roastier. I don’t tend to like the extreme ends of the spectrum, so this tea is in a happy middle ground.
My friend Nick – a fellow rock climber, a fellow home coffee roaster, musician, and all around aesthete – knows little about tea and asked for a tasting. He liked the first few teas well enough, but then this one hit him like a hammer in the heart.
Nick: “You know what this feels like? Not just like, taste, but feels? Like when you’re topping out on a climb, and it’s fall, and the rock is all sharp and in your face, and lichen is dry and crispy and falling off under your fingers, and fall is in the air. This feels just like that.”
I’ve been searching for a new wuyi supplier after the one I’ve been using for about 8 years started going unreliable on me. After a fairly wide net, my new favorite is Tea Yuan, and this is the first of their teas that really captured my heart. I’m normally not a huge rou gui guy – it often seems cloyingly and dumbly cinnamon. But this stuff has weird, dry life – like a lovely clean glowing ocean of a not actually cinnamon, but just the dryness of cinnamon. Subtle and alive.
Well I WAS going to go to the zoo today, but the weather had different plans, it is going to be one of those all day storming events, so instead I shall satisfy a different kind of craving. The craving for muffins! I plan on baking blueberry mochi muffins later today and then I will gorge myself on them. I woke up with such a muffin craving, it is rather intense! But first I have to go gather the needed ingredients.
Today we are looking at one of my favorite rock oolongs, Rou Gui, specifically Tea Yuan’s 2013 Rou Gui, and this one is fancy because it is a Zheng Yan, meaning it came from inside the Wuyi Scenic Reserve area, a legit Yancha! Since this is from a couple years ago, the roasting has mellowed out, and you can tell this from the aroma. There are the usual char notes, but they are mellow and distant, alongside the gentle char are notes of tobacco, cocoa, very gentle spice like a spicebush flower, and a touch of sweet nuttiness.
Yancha pot time for the leaves, giving them a steeping and then sniffing. The aroma of the wet leaves is stronger in the char department, but instead of smelling like burnt wood, it smells like burnt nut shells, and just toasted nuts in general. Like fire roasting chestnut shells and walnuts, it is pretty pleasant, it has the usual char notes but with a fun twist. There are also notes of tobacco and a touch of burnt plum, no spice though which is always sad. However, the liquid has a gentle spice quality, not terribly strong, but like a distantly blooming spicebush. There are also notes of creamy sweet chocolate and plums, with undertones of wet slate and a touch of wet char.
Ooh this is a pleasantly woody Yancha, like fruit wood that has been roasted rather than charcoaled, it is sharp and a bit brisk, a good start. The initial woodiness fades to a fun combination of char, wet slate, and wonderfully sweet and gently spicy cocoa. The spice notes are pretty mellow, as are the char, it is like only slightly burnt chocolate rather than chocolate that has been lit on fire. The finish is sweet and a touch creamy, with a fruity plum and cherry aftertaste.
The aroma of the second steep is surprisingly sweet, it blends plums and creamy chocolate with wet slate and gentle char. I always love that about Yancha, it is like eating dessert out in nature and the tastes and smells of both blend perfectly. This is a thick Yancha, usually I found their mouthfeel sharp and crisp, sometimes smooth (especially with the aged ones) but this one has a real thickness to it similar to many Taiwanese oolongs I have interacted with. The taste is smooth and sweet, chocolate and plums dance with gentle spice and wet slate. The finish is a blend of wet slate and plums, the mineral is strong in the tea and it lingers for a while in the aftertaste.A thing I can certainly say in this tea’s favor, it has some excellent staying power for a Yancha, usually I find most of them putter out after four or so steeps, but this one lasted for seven, which was awesome. The aroma for this steep is sweet, not as sweet as the second steep, but still quite sweet. Notes of fruit and fruit wood blend with chocolate and char, with a strong mineral finish. The taste is so sweet this steep, there are the strong notes of mineral and some char, but there is such a wonderful juicy plum and chocolate note that I was surprised when this tea turned out to not be sticky. I really enjoyed this tea, it had great strong mineral qualities which I love in a Yancha, and of course it had the char notes I love, but it was pleasantly mild and not like drinking the remnants of a forest fire.
Bringing this out tonight. I have to say that I failed to open this up to breathe when I got it in. Nannuo is a bit forgiving though.
I pulled 10 grams out to start with. The pouch had a chunk at just about the right weight and in it went. I gave a 6 or 7 second wash as the chunk wasn’t broken up to let the water in. I gave it a good 10 minute rest to let it take some water in.
There are some nice looking wet leaf in there. I started the brewing in a 200ml vessel. I gave a 5 second steep twice into my cup. I pulled back the top of the brew vessel imhaled the aroma on the lid and then in the shiboridashi, (aren’t you glad I got that right boychik!) and inhaled the wet leaf . An entirely different type of aroma. More vegetal and not as sweet as the first from the lid.
The tea color is a bright yellow. It carries the citrus pine mix that I find in a lot of puerh cha. It does have a bit of thickness in the front of the mouth. It carries some bitter but in an active way it seems. The bit of tingling on the front of the gums is there for a second or two.
On the second brew the tea has a quite bit more pronounced bitter to it. The leaves are mainly whole and this is a good grade above a general factory cake.
I have a little head buzzing going on but as I am eating late I wanted to sneak this one in before dinner. A decent quality tea. One that I wish I could get a cake of but alas my buying has been cut back by she who now holds the credit card.
Flavors: Bitter, Sweet, Thick, Vegetal
This is a sample for review.
i really like the Tea Yuan yancha offerings are high roasted. its not common, most of the places are offering medium roast. high roast if done right is much more complex and enjoyable in my opinion
This Rou Gui is high roasted. The roast is nicely done, doesnt mask the fruitiness of this tea. the color is dark and pretty. it doesnt have that strong cinnamon flavor associated with Rou Gui, but its been awhile since i had one with noticable cassia(cinnamon) flavor. When i pushed for longer steeps it didnt get bitter or unpleasant.
It was very enjoyable, thank you Tea Yuan for the chance to try it!
4.5g 70 ml shiboridashi 212F
i got this sample for review. Thank you Tea Yuan
Excellent quality of leaves, long and beautiful.
this tea is high roasted. I love it. The roast is done nicely and it doesnt over power the base of tea. i t has this strong chocolaty flavor along with mineral notes.
4.5g 70ml shiboridashi 212F
Later on as i pushed for longer steeps it never got bitter, just richer
Thank you tea Yuan for the chance to try your teas, I enjoyed them all!
This is a sample for review.
212 F 6g/100ml glazed shibo, rinse/short steeps.
I love high roasted Yancha. Unfortunately, its getting harder and harder to find it. The trend now is for a greener, medium roast.
This one is heavy roasted and so delicious. the roast is nicely done, no ashy aftertaste. it will improve with aging, the roast will mellow out. but its delicious as is right now. its like coffee with caramel swirls and touch of berries on the background.
Longer steeps dont make it bitter but add more thickness.
Thank you Tea Yuan for letting me try it. i need it in my exploded cupboard ;D
This is a sample for review i got from Tea Yuan.
Dry leaves are so pretty, long and full. wet leaves smell of this intoxicating aroma of roasted nuts and cannabis
6g /100ml shiboridashi (gaiwan) 205F
rinse/short steeps 5/7/10 sec
This tea is complex. a lot of flavors come to mind. sweet and mineral, chocolaty and nutty, some floral at the background, thick mouthfeel. responded good to pushing with longer steeps without bitterness or unpleasant soapiness. lasted thru many steeps.
I enjoyed this tea a lot, thank you Tea Yuan for the opportunity to try it
this is a sample I got for review from Tea Yuan.
Dry leaves are fully intact, long, smell of roast and looked delicious. i love high roasted yancha. its much more flavorful ( to me), some people may disagree. it gives that strong long lasting aftertaste. i just went back to the description this tea is medium high roasted.
the brew was dark and smelled roasty and comforting. the roast is very skillfully done , there was no ashy aftertaste, smooth, rich, more fruity than floral (yay)
I went thru many steeps, towards 7-8 steep i was pushing it more and it never got bitter or unpleasant.
5g /70ml shiboridashi (gaiwan) 205F
rinse/ short steeps 3/5/7sec
really enjoyed this Yancha time, thanks Tea Yuan!
Puerh Tea TTB. This tea was fairly tasty. It had a light bitterness and a mild sweetness. Not the full on apricots notes but it was sweet. It is interesting to try tea from Tea Yuan as I have never drank anything from them before.
I brewed this eight times in a 120ml gaiwan with 8.3g leaf and 200 degree water. I gave it a 10 second rinse and a 10 minute rest. I steeped it for 5 sec, 5 sec, 7 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 25 sec, and 30 sec.
About 8 grams in my usual 100ish ml yixing. Tea opened up with some promise. Had all the good Yiwu characteristics along with some deeper bass notes that gfz is known for. Fairly thick but not super dense like some of white2tea offerings. Through 3 or 4 steeps the tea was fruity and sweet, not much bitterness which was the first sign of trouble. Also those bass notes brown sugar, plums mushrooms were there. Around steep 5 or so the tea lightened significantly in both taste and body. Pushing it harder the next steep didn’t translate into a much better cup. Next steep I ramped up the water to full boil and went even longer. Results were once again disappointing. Got a watery thin cup.
I did one or 2 more but it just kept getting worse. Was really disappointed in this session considering that this is a pricey tea, right around 270 for a full cake. Puts it around the price range of both the Tuhao and Bosch from White2tea and either of those are leagues better. I’d put this closer to the poundcake and if your reading this which are less than half the price and have better durability. Only thing this was better at than those 2 cakes is qi and even that was light and short lived.
Shame to see this producer release a product like this when a year earlier their gfz got rave reviews