Hong Kong-Roasted High Fire Tieguanyin Oolong

Tea type
Oolong Tea
Ingredients
Oolong Tea
Flavors
Malt, Roast nuts, Roasted, Sour, Burnt, Caramel, Char, Floral, Smooth, Burnt Sugar, Coffee, Peanut, Roasted nuts, Vegetable Broth, Ash, Campfire, Earth, Forest Floor, Chocolate, Mint, Sweet
Sold in
Loose Leaf
Caffeine
Not available
Certification
Not available
Edit tea info Last updated by Crator
Average preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 45 sec 7 g 5 oz / 150 ml

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8 Tasting Notes View all

  • “Backlog. From the oolong group buy – that has a lot more roasted oolongs than I thought. 200F, 2min, 12 oz dark malt, stout, high roast, nutty sour The roast on this has chilled, but it’s still...” Read full tasting note
  • “Another decent offering from TealifeHK! The traditional charcoal roast makes all the difference to similar offerings. Quite different profile compared to high roast TGY from Taiwan. I would advise...” Read full tasting note
    70
  • “1st, 2nd Steep: Starts with a little burnt wood scent. Has a light yellow color. I get the light taste of char and goes down very smooth leaving behind a pleasant sweet floral taste. 3rd, 4th, 5th...” Read full tasting note
    79
  • “If you told me that you liked charcoal-roasted teas, I would point you in the direction of this tea. The roast is strong but approachable, and the other flavors beyond the roast are nice, with a...” Read full tasting note

From TeaLife Hong Kong

This tieguanyin is from the same family as the Three Stamp Shuixian. This is good, medium oxidation tieguanyin that has been roasted to a very high level compared to modern tieguanyin, but not so high that all you taste is roast. This tea is intensely aromatic and flavorful with thick, syrupy body. I taste buttery toast and spearmint in this tea, and there’s even a hint of popcorn from the roast. You’ll know it’s tieguanyin, but it’s probably like no other tieguanyin you’ve ever had! There is some light sourness in the later infusions, but not much (it’s a pleasant sourness to me, and something I, and many old school tieguanyin drinkers, welcome in tieguanyin). This is old school, gongfu-grade tieguanyin that has been produced in this manner since before the Cultural Revolution. Old school drinkers all over Asia, including in China and Malaysia, are fond of this particular TGY because it is a taste of the past, and there really is nowhere else to get tea quite like this. I’ve been drinking this tea regularly for four years now!

Please note: The family that have produced this tea do not suggest you age this tea. The very high roast level makes this a truly excellent gongfu cha when young, but the flavor drops off after a few years and the tea is much less pleasurable to drink as the lovely high notes dissipate. The family discard this tea when it declines.

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8 Tasting Notes

495 tasting notes

Backlog. From the oolong group buy – that has a lot more roasted oolongs than I thought.
200F, 2min, 12 oz
dark malt, stout, high roast, nutty sour
The roast on this has chilled, but it’s still too roasted for me. The level of roast is very high. I don’t find this level enjoyable.

Flavors: Malt, Roast nuts, Roasted, Sour

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 0 sec
TeaLife.HK

Sorry it wasn’t your cup of tea ;) This tea is best brewed in suitable clay and at full boil. I use a 50-60% fill with dry leaf for an intense traditional gongfucha experience in 25ml cups!

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70
3 tasting notes

Another decent offering from TealifeHK! The traditional charcoal roast makes all the difference to similar offerings. Quite different profile compared to high roast TGY from Taiwan.

I would advise to use not too little leaf, otherwise it can not show its true potential.

As usual the sellers description are spot on.

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79
48 tasting notes

1st, 2nd Steep: Starts with a little burnt wood scent. Has a light yellow color. I get the light taste of char and goes down very smooth leaving behind a pleasant sweet floral taste.

3rd, 4th, 5th Steep: It darkens up to a beautiful red color. The charcoal flavor grows stronger.

6th and beyond: The floral taste returns and it grows weaker through the steeps. I went 10 deep.

Flavors: Burnt, Caramel, Char, Floral, Smooth

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 0 min, 30 sec 7 g 5 OZ / 150 ML
TeaLife.HK

Same deal with this one: best at 16g/100ml and full boil! Thanks for the review!

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167 tasting notes

If you told me that you liked charcoal-roasted teas, I would point you in the direction of this tea. The roast is strong but approachable, and the other flavors beyond the roast are nice, with a powerful and lingering aftertaste.

Personally, i’m not a fan of charcoal roasting. I just don’t like the flavor. I started a bit of a discussion to try to figure out the appeal of charcoal roasting, which you can see here: https://steepster.com/discuss/16026-regional-oolong-group-buy-discussion?page=2

Please add your two cents. There is quite a selection of these sorts of teas, and they seem well-regarded. I keep feeling like I’m missing something.

Anyway, approachable roast with a thick, sweet, and fruity aftertaste.
*
Dry leaf: pumpkin, pumpkin seeds, dark cocoa powder, peanut shell, dill, roast coffee beans. In preheated vessel: coffee beans, prune, raisin.

Smell: charcoal briquette, baking spices, char, hints of honeydew melon

Taste: charcoal, generic nuttiness (peanut shell), Italian roast coffee bean. Aftertaste of char, some dark chocolate, thick melon sweetness, citrus, lemongrass, coriander.

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1124 tasting notes

Regional group buy, and this one was impressive. It had a natural caramel-vanilla thing going on with the char roast in every profile. Char, earth, cedar, and some bitter sweetness were the overall notes in the pinkish amber liqour. I love how there was a little bit of a rise in the taste with each steep being warming at the same time. It also gave me some energy.

This tea was one of the better roasted oolongs that I had and would recommend it for those looking for this kinda roast. I am not sure that I would have more than the sample size personally, but I do think that it is an excellent roast tea that is worth trying.

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82
16 tasting notes

I received this tea from the 2017 regional oolong group buy hosted by Liquid Proust

The dry leaf is a very tightly rolled dark brown to black balls that have a strong roasted smell with the expected biting oolong scent following close behind. I brewed up 5g in my 200ml kyusu with 190F water and 30 second infusions.

The liquor is a clear dark orange/light brown reminiscent of a black tea. It smells sweet and roasty, more like a light roast coffee than any tea I have ever smelled. I want to accentuate that the sweet smell is overpowering like I have my head over a pot of burning sugar, but with the promise of some nice umami flavor behind the sweetness. The mouthfeel is like a thin vegetable broth with no lingering sweetness, but rather, a lingering char. The taste is heavy upfront charcoal, with sweetness but less than I was expecting, like vegetables that I meant to char on a grill but burnt instead. You can feel the granules of char on your teeth like a charcoal toothpaste I used in the past. Not what I was expecting but not bad with a high fired tea and no rinse. Sitting with the tea for a while I get some caramel out of the sweetness.

The second infusion is a notably darker color an amber/medium brown. The aroma looses a bit of sweetness trading off for more umami savory notes. The char is still upfront but loses some of it’s overpowering nature while the sweetness is more pronounced. I’m tasting fresh honey roasted peanuts and the traditional oolong flavor is shining through. The aftertaste has a smooth roast that I get from good coffee.

The roasted smell dies down a bit more on the third infusion, as do the umami notes, with the sweetness still there in force. The taste is much lighter/smoother and I get the caramel notes others have described more than the previous burnt sugar. This is my favorite infusion so far… maybe ill rinse it next time and see if I get these notes out of infusion #2

The fourth infusion looses more char and gains more sweetness, it’s now close to indistinguishable from coffee now. Turned the temperature to 200F for the fifth infusion, and it was like a slightly more flavorful #4. The sixth infusion on are all very similar as well, with the tea dying off around steep number 9.

This is a tea for coffee drinkers… seriously I think I can convert a coffee fanatic with this. For me it was an interesting complex experience with a tea that is a bit all over the place in it’s smell and flavors. I would definitively give it a good rinse and time to fully unfurl before my next session with this tea.

SECOND TEA TASTING (follow up a few weeks later)

I followed TeaLifeHK’s advice this time with a boiling rinse, and 200+F water using 30 second steeps in my 200ml ceramic kyusu with 5.5g of tea.

The wet leaf smells like sweet roast, I wish I didn’t already bias myself, but again I get fresh roasted coffee beans with a nice oolong backbone coming through.

The liquor color is a STRONG reddish-brown with a pleasant roasted sweetness reminiscent of honey roasted peanuts. The taste is very nutty again being similar to peanut brittle with a nice burnt sugar aftertaste. This session is more pleasant with the rinse allowing the leaves to open up before my first steep letting the caramel notes come through.

The tea continues to produce good flavor for about six steeps slowly loosing it’s sweetness. I think this tea is unique among roasted oolong’s for its sweet profile, where in most roasted oolongs I would be looking for grilled vegetables or a savory soup.

Flavors: Burnt Sugar, Caramel, Char, Coffee, Peanut, Roasted, Roasted nuts, Vegetable Broth

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 30 sec 5 g 7 OZ / 200 ML
TeaLife.HK

Thank you for the review! Normally this tea is brewed with a Yixing teapot that is half full of dry leaf, and with boiling water (which is also poured over the pot). A rinse is definitely recommended!

snielson222

I am planning on revisiting it soon with a good rinse, ill give it a bit more leaf and temperature per your recommendations, although I’m at more than 2000 meters here and I cant really use “boiling water” like you folks at sea level can, I can use 200+F water. I always hesitate rinsing my oolongs as sometimes my “rinse” is the best tasting of the bunch, though it makes a lot of sense with the roast of this one and the longevity. Yixing I dont have though, I imagine it would provide a bit of balance to the high roast.

I think I can tease out more of the notes I prefer with these tweaks, it was a very neat tea, ultra roast!

TeaLife.HK

You’re right in that appropriate clay can mute the roast some and enhance the flavor and feel of the tea (and it also keeps the temperature up)! Wow, you’re high up! I guess use the hottest water possible and see how that works for you. Glad you enjoyed it—it’s a classic tea and everyone who tries it is very surprised!

snielson222

I’m finally over a bought of terrible bronchitis so I revisited the tea with an addendum to my tasting note. Your advice was spot on, the rinse and hotter water coaxed out more caramel deliciousness. A sweet roasted oolong is a rare treat, and if I want to get any of my coffee oriented friends into tea this has the roast, sweetness, and complexity to draw them in.

TeaLife.HK

Glad the hotter water helped! I tend to use pots around 100ml and fill them halfway and flash infuse the first infusion, and then go longer from there. It’s always interesting to see the parameters everyone else uses with my teas!

It’s definitely one for the coffee drinkers and I have a friend who’s a chocolatier who I’m going to send some to so she can make chocolate with it!

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3 tasting notes

I got this tea as part of the Liquid Prost Regional oolong group buy.

At first the flavour was really light, I started with the water at 185 but bumped it up to 190 after two steeps. The smell of the wet leaf made me think of walking along a dirt path in a dense forest. Earthy, slight campfire smell. The taste for the first 4 steeps was pretty much like it smelled, but at the end of the 5th steep I noticed a faint floral sweetness begin to develop

Flavors: Ash, Burnt, Campfire, Char, Earth, Floral, Forest Floor

Preparation
10 g 5 OZ / 150 ML
TeaLife.HK

Thank you for the review! I always brew this tea at full boil myself!

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356 tasting notes

This is my first time trying something from TeaLife HK, and I’ve really been looking forward to it. Since I ordered a bunch of samples I’m doing smaller sessions with these, so I put about 5 grams in the gaiwan. There’s not a very strong aroma off the dry leaves, but I do get a faint whiff of roast and minerals.

The aroma of the roast really emerges with a quick wash to wake the leaves up, and the liquor is a lightish brown in steep one.

The flavor starts out as sweet roasted nuts, light in flavor—clearly the tea is still waking up—and there is a hint of butter in the aftertaste.

The brown darkens in steep two, with notes of chocolate emerging. rhinkle is getting mint, which I also get a hint of at the bottom of the cup, but not with any cooling sensation, just the actual raw flavor of chocolate mint leaves.

These flavors strengthen and sweeten in steep three and last pretty much throughout the rest of the session. Definitely enjoyed this!

Flavors: Chocolate, Mint, Roasted, Sweet

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML
TeaLife.HK

I’d say you have a keen sense of taste! Butter and chocolate-mint are commensurate with my experiences with this tea over many years!

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