Buddha's Hand 2015 佛手

Tea type
Oolong Tea
Ingredients
Not available
Flavors
Berries, Blackberry, Brown Sugar, Char, Cherry, Citrus, Dark Chocolate, Earth, Lavender, Malt, Roasted Barley, Sweet Potatoes, Toast, Wheat, Smoke
Sold in
Not available
Caffeine
Not available
Certification
Not available
Edit tea info Last updated by BigDaddy
Average preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 1 min, 30 sec 6 g 5 oz / 138 ml

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3 Tasting Notes View all

  • “For a key to my rating scale, check out my bio. Sure, it’s a pricey tea ($92 USD / 100g). But I can say without reservation that Song Tea’s Buddha’s Hand is worth every cent. An incredibly...” Read full tasting note
    92
  • “The scent is vividly malted barley with a waft of sweetness and a hint of chocolate. It’s one of the few times I feel like a tea vendor totally nailed the scent/flavor profile in their description....” Read full tasting note
    65
  • “This is for people who have the time and inclination to savour a gradually unfurling tea journey. This Buddha’s Hand can last probably over ten infusions. It has some of the most tightly rolled...” Read full tasting note
    85

From Song Tea & Ceramics

Buddha’s Hand is a high-oxidized oolong tea that comes from a 1000m tea garden on Alishan.

The cultivar is so named because its leaves are uncharacteristically large. Fully developed, they span the width and length of a person’s hand. Its name also alludes to the similarity in scent of its leaves to the zest of the fingered citron.

Buddha’s Hand traces its origins to Fujian Province’s Yong Chun county. It arrived in Taiwan by way of settlers who planted the cultivar in the tea region north of present day Taipei. The popularity of other cultivars soon eclipsed Buddha’s Hand, and it is now quite rare in Taiwan.

What makes this tea even more unique is its craftsmanship. In Fujian, Buddha’s Hand is typically crafted into a lightly oxidized rolled oolong. The resulting tea, in appearance and fragrance, resembles green Anxi Tieguanyin. In Taiwan, we’ve come across both rolled and twisted versions of this tea – the few we’ve seen have also been lightly oxidized.

The oxidation level of our Buddha’s Hand exceeds 60% – taking an extended period of cool withering to achieve. The dry leaf clusters are dark, and the opened leaves red brown. This longer processing produced the distinct honey and fruit notes of the tea. Once set as a mao cha by the producer, we sent this tea to our roaster, who added over a week of low temperature convection roasting. This second step produced the tea’s chocolate, dark sugar, and malt notes.

This tea represents the perfect confluence of leaf cultivar, provenance, and skilled craftsmanship. The result is a tea that is texturally rich, sweet, and complex.

6 grams 150 ml 203° F 2.5 min
Buddha’s Hand brews without astringency. Steep times of a minute or less produces a light, clean and sweet tea. We prefer long steep times of more than 2 minutes – and a resulting texture that really accentuates this tea’s rich chocolate notes.

About Song Tea & Ceramics View company

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3 Tasting Notes

92

For a key to my rating scale, check out my bio.

Sure, it’s a pricey tea ($92 USD / 100g). But I can say without reservation that Song Tea’s Buddha’s Hand is worth every cent. An incredibly unusual crafting method for Taiwanese oolong – this tea is from Alishan (Mount Ali, like the ubiquitous lightly oxidized “high mountain” oolong from the same peak), but unlike most Taiwanese oolongs (which use the Qing Xin cultivar), this tea comes from plants of the Fo Shou or “Buddha’s Hand” cultivar. While it is ball rolled like other high mountain styles, this tea is a dark oolong (very uncommon in Taiwan aside from Taiwanese Tieguanyin and Bai Hao Oolong), achieving its richness of flavor and color through extended oxidation (>60%) and a full week of low temperature convection roasting. The resulting flavor is luxurious and absolutely delicious. Notes of dark chocolate, brown sugar, and malt are balanced by citrusy brightness, and all held together by a mouthfeel that’s as smooth as it gets in the world of tea. A must try!

Flavors: Berries, Blackberry, Brown Sugar, Char, Cherry, Citrus, Dark Chocolate, Earth, Lavender, Malt, Roasted Barley, Sweet Potatoes, Toast, Wheat

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 0 min, 30 sec 5 g 4 OZ / 125 ML

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65
39 tasting notes

The scent is vividly malted barley with a waft of sweetness and a hint of chocolate. It’s one of the few times I feel like a tea vendor totally nailed the scent/flavor profile in their description. There’s also a very Assam-like quality to it. Sipping your way through the tea, the barley is still the prominent note, together with the overlall Assam vibe. It’s also SUPER smooth. That said, the malted barley tone isn’t the most appealing flavor to me. I think I’d rather have a Formosa Assam, and at $46 for 2 oz., I can’t think of a reason to ever snag this again. Nice enough tea though.

Flavors: Malt

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 30 sec 6 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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85
218 tasting notes

This is for people who have the time and inclination to savour a gradually unfurling tea journey. This Buddha’s Hand can last probably over ten infusions. It has some of the most tightly rolled leaves in Song Tea’s collection. It is also one of the most beautiful smelling teas I have had the pleasure of experiencing: a roasty chocolate that gives way to caramelized fruity notes. Unfortunately, the taste is blunter than its fragrance, so take care to brew with a light hand. Some infusions of this tasted like dark bitter coffee. Later infusions are brighter and fruitier. Overall a wonderful, complex, darker tea for a long afternoon in.

Flavors: Dark Chocolate, Smoke

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