I’ve had a few Wu Yi style mimic teas, and I’ve personally had mixed feelings about them. The ones I’ve had in my experience tend to up the charcoal and juice out as much stone fruit and cannabis as possible in taste…which I am personally not a huge fan of, especially the one served by Taiwan Sourcing. But this one was a different story and a much needed surprise.
Opening the bag, it is woody and roasty….and almost nutty….like hazelnut or chestnut. I try this out, and the aroma is fairly smokey, but the taste….holy crap it’s smooth and heavenly. I played around a lot with this one, and did a semi western while sipping it ever so often in a smaller vessel. After about 30 seconds, I pour my kyusu, and it is super sweet. It reminded me of Japanese milk candy, but with a slight roast in the aftertaste.
I do it again after about 12 sec, and some fruit comes along. Not quite sure what. The roast is there, but the tea is still super viscous and not cloying or overwhelming.
I brew the rest of the pot after about another minute, and what I was tasting was unusual. It got the milky caramel candy notes with the fruity and the roast, but it rose from floral, to milky, to fruity, to whatever-the-hell is this sweetness is, and then, to a woodsy charcoal in a silky finish that contrasts and balances nicely. I then thought-holy heavens WTF IS THIS. Smoke on the water…..Fire IN MY TEA CUP! DE-NE-NA-ne-NA!
Here’s how they described it on their page:
“After rinsing, the leaves give off a light aroma of sugar, and a strong aroma of wood. The first round of brewing expresses the warming smell of longan charcoal. The first sip gives you a calming feeling. The taste is that of sweet cream with a hint of hazelnut. Already the tea is expressing a mellow cha qi (tea energy). The color of the tea liquor is a dark golden brown. Second round intensifies the woody aroma. The cha qi continues to spread throughout the body. It causes a pleasant warmth. The third round introduces the flavor of stone fruits. With the stone fruits, the charcoal flavor, and the sweetness, it reminds us of flambeed fruit. At this point, the cha qi has spread throughout our entire bodies. We feel deeply relaxed and calm.”
Pretty much exactly what I got. The tea was medium in its re-brew strength, and I usually got 5-8 cups from 5 grams using 10 oz, averaging closer to 6. It’s good both Western or Gong Fu, and good light with grand pa, but I find that I prefer most of Wang Family Teas western.
The Wuyi oolong has quickly become a favorite becuase it is so easy to drink and smooth. It’s warming and relaxing, and perfect for a rainy day. I thought that I’d prefer the greener teas or the lighter roasts, but man, does this tea kick most of their leaves out of the water in balance and smoothness. Now, I pick teas deliberately if they are smooth, but I did not expect it from something that is supposed to emulate a Wuyi style, which tend to be rougher from my experience.
I can say that I highly recommend this tea. It is a lot more like a traditional Lu Yu or Dong Ding in style, but it does have some florals and milkiness that Wu Yi’s can. It’s definitely oolong, and I really think almost anyone could enjoy this one, but I think it might be better for intermediate to experienced drinkers. If someone new tries it, I think they would like it if brewed with care. It is pretty forgiving, but I could see it becoming a little too smokey if oversteeped.
Well, my sample is almost gone. I just give it a subjective 96. I might raise it. I might not. We’ll see. It’s been my favorite in quarantine anyway.
Flavors: Char, Chestnut, Cream, Hazelnut, Roast Nuts, Smoke, Smooth, Stonefruit, Sweet, Vanilla, Wood