Request for Recommendations for Aged Oolongs of Good Quality for a Reasonable Price
I’m looking to purchase a few aged oolongs of good quality for a reasonable price. Can someone with experience in this area make some recommendations to me? I’ll probably not want to pay more than $1/g. I’d love to find a tea that was “pound for pound” as good as the Rougui (fruity style) that I bought from Wuyi Origin this year, if such a deal exists. Obviously, I can move a little here and there, as I might need to; however, this is where I’m currently at. Thank you.
This might be worth a look: https://tea-side.com/lao-qing-xin-oolong-tea/
It seems odd to compare quality and value level of a new tea with an old one. You have to pay more for aged tea versions because there isn’t much around, and the general character is nothing like new versions of Rou Gui (Wuyi Yancha). Unless I’m wrong about the version I own some of this Tea Side tea, and Cindy’s Rou Gui is definitely one of my favorite types, and I do have some of that at home, and it doesn’t work well to compare the two. Aged oolongs are a strange thing, to me. The whole point is to pay more for novelty of experience, not because aging changes them in any way that is so positive, per an objective evaluation.
Interesting. So in your opinion there’s not much point in buying aged oolongs for an improvement in taste: it’s more of a novelty thing? From the very few aged oolongs that I’ve tasted, it appears to me that they lose their high sweet notes, and take on a musty secondhand bookshop profile. And thanks for recommending that tea vendor: I’ll check them out, alongside another vendor I was enquiring into (http://camellia-sinensis.com/en/tea/aged/wulong-aged#). By the way, I recently tasted some aged oolongs from Wuyi Origin: Meizhan (2013) and Aged Tieluohan (2009). Do you have any opinions regarding these aged oolong teas? I’m a bit inexperienced with aged oolongs, and it would be useful for me to try and find a benchmark to work from. Any help and insight would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
It kind of goes without saying that anything I say would represent only one person’s take, and that any one opinion would be contradicted by others. For people into aged oolongs it doesn’t work to say they’re only interesting for novelty value, not for positive aspects or character, especially if value is of any importance. For me that kind of sums it up.
I have tried the most Wuyi Yancha from Wuyi Origin but even if I had tasted those exact teas some years ago, or equivalents, I wouldn’t be comfortable saying that my opinion from three years ago works as great input. I’ve been drinking less Wuyi Yancha yet for the past year or year and a half, so I’m not necessarily further along, but I only ramped up my own tea exploration around that time, around 3 to 4 years ago. It’s all relative though, isn’t it? I could say the same about 6 years ago, just in a more limited sense.
Here’s the thing, again a limited take: aged oolongs referring to 15 to 20 year old lighter style rolled oolongs and to 5 to 10 year old Wuyi Yancha are kind of two completely different subjects. It definitely oversimplifies things but a tea contact once mentioned that old rolled oolongs just pick up a plum flavor aspect. They gain some depth for trading out higher end notes and fragrance too. Wuyi Yancha can be roasted more in order to then be aged in order to “shoot for” an end-result more optimum flavor profile and character. Again depth increases, and the “char” effect mellows and transitions. The changes and goal may not relate mostly to flavor; a different overall character may be intended, a different feel, or maybe even effect. I’m biased but to me Wuyi Origin is the producer of the best Wuyi Yancha I’ve tried, and they’re well-regarded by people I trust, so at least that’s a better than average source for reliability. I’ve recently heard a comment that some of their teas seem better than others, to that person, and of course that can come up, and preference alone can cause that, liking certain character. It’s very difficult to judge objective, preference-neutral tea quality, based on trueness to type or something such.
I might have some of that Tieluohan at home; I’ll check on that, and if I do I’ll taste it.
I just reviewed an aged (2008) Oriental Beauty for Moychay, for content for their site. Ordinarily I just do my own blog, with that as the only exception of that type, writing for someone else. I pass on an impression of that tea in that:
If you follow through the link to that product (and you might as well, to read the other comments on it there, automatically translated since the site is Russian) you’ll probably feel some sticker shock. It’s selling for $3 / gram. The thing is there isn’t a clear market value for such a tea; there may or may not be a closely equivalent version sold elsewhere, and even if someone else was selling one for half that in a sense that alone doesn’t determine a market value. To me it’s not worth it, but then I don’t have the same type of tea budget to work with some people do, and that’s a big part of that equation. And I personally don’t love aged oolongs, and some people do.
If I’m remembering right Andrew Richardson of Liquid Proust had an aged oolong set for sale not long ago. Either way it might be a good idea to look him up and ask him, since he’s a nice guy and might know about options and sources he could pass on.
Thanks for your help and advice. I read your review on moychay and it was very detailed. You appear to be a very earnest man. Thank you for your help. You have given me quite a bit to think about, and I will take some time to seriously consider your words. If you are comfortable with this, I would like to mail a sample of tea to you, believed to be an aged TGY, for your appraisal. I would pay for the delivery and expect nothing in return.
As for Andrew Richardson of Liquid Proust: hi! I took a look at your shop; however, I couldn’t see any aged oolong sets. Anyway, I just wanted to give you a shout out to say hello. Maybe we can talk a bit more in the future. Cheers.
I would be open to trying and reviewing teas; I’ll check further by DM. A friend just mentioned another source that looks interesting. This vendor was caught up in some negative press over passing on false claims but that doesn’t mean this product or others aren’t ok, or not what they say it is: https://verdanttea.com/teas/2010-aged-pressed-tieguanyin-cake/