Charcoal roasted oolong, let it sit or drink it right away?
a few months ago i learned that its beneficial to let charcoal roasted oolongs a rest before drinking them. by letting time pass the charcoal taste dies down and your able to truly taste the roasted tea rather than just charcoal.(is my understanding) i would love to hear your folks thoughts
That would seem to depend on the level of roast. For higher levels of roast the tea will take on a char aspect that would mellow out with the tea improving over a year or two. Some people would prefer to not buy more roasted teas in the first place. It seems possible that even lower levels of roast might settle a bit over a shorter time, which almost seems to be more of what you are asking about.
Even a light roast needs 3-4 months to rest, but most dealers aren’t shipping freshly roasted tea. As John said the higher the roast level the more time it needs to subside. The exception is a VERY high roast tieguanyin here in HK. That stuff actually is less desirable after a year or two because the flavor dies down and the dealer tosses the old tieguanyin. He gave me a free sample to try when I asked if he had any aged stuff, and he said it wouldn’t be much fun to drink. He was right…
Lol ya I had an amazing ding ding from about 6 months ago and out of curiosity and it tasted much more well rounded and was easier for me to explore all the flavors that lied within that tea. Letting them rest, especially dark roasts is now a must.
How does the charcoal roast taste come down over time? The teas are stored locked up with no contact with air/light/water, so shouldn’t it be much the same even after a few years?
I’m not debating that it happens, just want to know the whys & hows of the process and how much of a factor the storage is…
That’s a good question. I guess there is still sufficient air and space for the tea to break down and off gas into the bag. Sometimes with my airtight glass jars of tea, I get an impressive POP when I open them (flip top glass lids with rubber seals). There is definitely still residual air in a bag, probably even if you vacuum seal it
It makes you think of wine storage and changes, doesn’t it? There is absolutely no air contact, and if anything the alcohol should act like a preservative, but the wine changes. That’s different though, because tannins fall out of suspension in the liquid, and tea is just plain dry leaf sitting there. I’d expect some compounds tend to break down over time but I know nothing of how it works.
Interesting analogy—with wine, there are dissolved gases in the wine and also a minimal amount in the space left over in the bottle, so changes still occur. I guess there is live bacteria and fungi in there, too, so aerobic fermentation continues until the oxygen is used up, and then we go to anaerobic decomposition (which is what all the ‘aging’ really is…decomposition and oxidation)!
I love all the directions this discussion has gone! chemical reactions can happen overtime and i feel that the charcoal seals flavor in the tea that in time will be able to open up more than an initial roasted taste.