1994 Formosa Yancha

Tea type
Oolong Tea
Ingredients
Not available
Flavors
Bitter, Burnt, Cedar, Char, Chocolate, Mango, Mineral, Pine, Potato, Smoke, Spicy, Graham Cracker, Straw, Tea, Toasty, Wheat
Sold in
Loose Leaf
Caffeine
Not available
Certification
Not available
Edit tea info Last updated by Cameron B.
Average preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 0 sec 6 g 8 oz / 225 ml

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3 Tasting Notes View all

  • “I want to start off by saying that I enjoyed this tea a lot. It may not sound like it after the next couple of sentences, but I did. The first two steepings were brutal. Very overwhelming roasted...” Read full tasting note
    77
  • “For a key to my rating scale, check out my bio. Top notes of bitter, charred potato skins, mid notes of incense, pine needles, and cedar, and an interesting faint finish of dried unsweetened...” Read full tasting note
    55
  • “I like to brew small batches in the western style with teas I might ordinarily infuse as gong fu. Today we had this aged Yancha in a small pot. This was a sample of 5g, though I normally use 7 or ...” Read full tasting note
    72

From Song Tea & Ceramics

This tea is a delicious anachronism. It comes from a yancha cultivar from Wuyishan, Fujian that was brought to Taiwan and eventually made its way to mineral-rich growing area in Shan Lin Xi.

The craftsmanship of this tea was influenced by both Wuyi yancha and Anxi tieguanyin methods. The large single leaves were hand-picked, mid-oxidized for complexity and fruitiness, and then manually rolled. To prepare the tea for aging, the tea was given a deep charcoal roast to enhance caramelization and sweetness.

We purchased this tea from the original producer. To this day, he produces the same tea in the same style, and each year, sets aside a portion of the tea for aging in large wood-fired storage urns – making them available only after the tea has reached its second decade of storage.

The result of cultivar, craftsmanship and aging creates a tea of incomparable deliciousness. It has the viscosity, sweetness, and complexity of a carefully crafted bourbon cocktail. Notes of toffee and caramel come from the caramelized outer layer of the leaves, while apple, and cedar notes come from the changes in tea as it ages.

5 grams 150 ml 205° F 1.5 min

Do not rinse this tea. On the first steep, the aged caramelization delivers an incredible sweetness with distinct toffee notes. We usually give the first steep 30 seconds at most. The second steep slips back into the same preparation methods as our Red Water oolongs. Use high temperature and longer steep times to extract of sugars and aromatic compounds in this tea. Brewed this way, later infusions will taste remarkably like Wuyi yancha from Fujian.

5 grams 150 ml 205° F 1.5 min

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3 Tasting Notes

77
6 tasting notes

I want to start off by saying that I enjoyed this tea a lot.

It may not sound like it after the next couple of sentences, but I did. The first two steepings were brutal. Very overwhelming roasted flavor signifying some definite over-roasting at some point in its life. I brewed this tea first using Song’s brewing guide but was very dissapointed with the results so went traditional Gong Fu the second time around. Short steeps of 6/4/6/8/10/15/30/45 in 100 ml Yixing.

Something changed in the third steep though and the tea suddenly became very balanced and clear. A beautiful caramel/toffee base with just a slight hint of smoked wood. This remained consistently for the next 6 steeping and probably could have gone more. Maybe next time I will try a longer rinse? Or maybe I’ll just dump the first two infusions altogether? Seems wasteful, but maybe worth it as the third steeping onward was fantastic.

I am generally a huge fan of aged yancha and this is definitely a good one though, ultimately, perhaps not worth the price of admission. I could see myself getting this tea again but would probably have to think about it first.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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55

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

Top notes of bitter, charred potato skins, mid notes of incense, pine needles, and cedar, and an interesting faint finish of dried unsweetened mangos. Medium-thin mouthfeel, overly-burnt flavor, incredibly long-lasting an surprisingly complex and enjoyable finish. I was disappointed by the flavor of this tea – it seems like it was re-roasted too many times over the years, or too intensely, but the finish is great. Would not buy again, but an interesting tea to try once. Wuyi varietal characteristics come out in the later infusions – I would guess that it was made with Fo Shou or Shui Xian, but the info on Song Tea’s website does not say. While their website recommends not rinsing the tea, the charcoal note was incredibly heavy in the first infusions even after rinsing – I cannot imagine how burnt it would taste without a rinse.

Flavors: Bitter, Burnt, Cedar, Char, Chocolate, Mango, Mineral, Pine, Potato, Smoke, Spicy

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 6 OZ / 175 ML

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72
16 tasting notes

I like to brew small batches in the western style with teas I might ordinarily infuse as gong fu. Today we had this aged Yancha in a small pot. This was a sample of 5g, though I normally use 7 or 8 grams to the 400 ML of water. We infused at 203 degrees and didn’t remove the brewing basket. The first cup was poured about a minute and third seconds.

Impressions: a good tea for this style of brewing. The nose is lovely with a toasted butter cookie (think Leibniz) or arrowroot biscuit aroma. Liquor is a lovely coppery chestnut. The flavor retains the toasted butter-cookie flavor, but finishes clean and wet, with hints of dried grass, cooked millet, and parting hints of sour teff.

Flavors: Graham Cracker, Straw, Tea, Toasty, Wheat

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 15 sec 5 tsp 14 OZ / 400 ML

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