China Fujian Anxi 2008 Heavy Roasted Tie Guan Yin Oolong Tea in Bitter Melon

Tea type
Fruit Oolong Blend
Ingredients
Oolong Tea Leaves
Flavors
Almond, Baked Bread, Black Currant, Brown Sugar, Butter, Cedar, Cherry, Cinnamon, Cream, Dried Fruit, Earth, Fig, Hazelnut, Malt, Mineral, Nutmeg, Orange Zest, Peat, Pine, Plums, Popcorn, Raisins, Raspberry, Roasted, Roasted Barley, Straw, Vanilla, Vegetal, Sour, Thick, Pleasantly Sour, Sweet
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Loose Leaf
Caffeine
Not available
Certification
Not available
Edit tea info Last updated by eastkyteaguy
Average preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 9 g 4 oz / 133 ml

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7 Tasting Notes View all

  • “This was one of my last sipdowns in September. I recall buying a sample of this tea during either the summer or fall of 2016. I was just getting into some of What-Cha’s offerings at the time and...” Read full tasting note
    87
  • “I got this tea only as a sample because it was very intriguing to me. The smell of the dry leaves is really hard to describe. It’s kind of sour but you get a hint of roast. The leaves themselves...” Read full tasting note
    85
  • “Got this to see how we like it, as we love the one from YS but it’s out of stock on US site. Threw the whole sample into the gaiwan, which includes a 2g piece of bitter melon. Interesting, the...” Read full tasting note
  • “Revisiting this because my last note on it was along the lines of “I liked it, but I don’t remember specifically why”. So, taking it nice and slow! This is a complex but not overwhelming tea. The...” Read full tasting note
    88

From What-Cha

An unusual oolong which is stored within a bitter melon (Momordica charantia), possessing a thick yet sweet roasted aroma with a sweet roasted plum taste and charcoal finish.

It is recommended to break off part of the bitter melon to brew with the oolong.

All orders of 125g will be guaranteed to receive a whole bitter melon, while 50g orders will receive part of a melon and 10g samples will receive loose pieces.

About What-Cha View company

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7 Tasting Notes

87
843 tasting notes

This was one of my last sipdowns in September. I recall buying a sample of this tea during either the summer or fall of 2016. I was just getting into some of What-Cha’s offerings at the time and was experimenting with aged Tie Guan Yin, but after a number of bad experiences with aged Tie Guan Yin from other vendors, I shelved this tea indefinitely. Clearly, curiosity got the better of me late last month. I’m glad it did because this ended up being a very enjoyable tea.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After the rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves and dried bitter melon pieces in 4 ounces of 194 F water for 8 seconds. This infusion was chased by 19 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 10 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes, 20 minutes, and 30 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaf and melon piece blend emitted aromas of raisin, dried blueberry, pine, plum, cedar, and malt. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of fig, butter, cream, black raspberry, and black currant. The first infusion introduced aromas of black cherry and roasted almond. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of raisin, dried blueberry, cedar, pine, malt, butter, cream, and fig that were complimented by hints of black raspberry, black currant, roasted almond, black cherry, and earth. The following infusions introduced aromas of vanilla, brown sugar, roasted barley, baked bread, roasted hazelnut, cinnamon, and straw. Stronger and more immediately noticeable impressions of black cherry, earth, and roasted almond appeared in the mouth along with belatedly emerging notes of plum and butter. Impressions of baked bread, minerals, vanilla, roasted barley, roasted hazelnut, orange zest, and straw also appeared alongside hints of brown sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, cattail shoots, and peat. As the tea faded, the liquor emphasized notes of minerals, malt, earth, baked bread, roasted barley, pine, butter, and cream that were balanced by a late popcorn note and hints of raisin, plum, straw, cattail shoots, orange zest, and vanilla.

This was a very nice aged oolong. Though I often find that aged oolongs, especially aged Tie Guan Yin, can develop something of a musty, papery profile, this one was very smooth and balanced with a nice, complimentary blend of aromas and flavors. Nothing seemed out of place. My only complaints with this tea were that it started to fade a little sooner than anticipated, and some of its more intriguing aromas and flavors faded a little too soon. Otherwise, this was a very enjoyable offering.

Flavors: Almond, Baked Bread, Black Currant, Brown Sugar, Butter, Cedar, Cherry, Cinnamon, Cream, Dried Fruit, Earth, Fig, Hazelnut, Malt, Mineral, Nutmeg, Orange Zest, Peat, Pine, Plums, Popcorn, Raisins, Raspberry, Roasted, Roasted Barley, Straw, Vanilla, Vegetal

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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85
8 tasting notes

I got this tea only as a sample because it was very intriguing to me. The smell of the dry leaves is really hard to describe. It’s kind of sour but you get a hint of roast. The leaves themselves are pitch black (being heavily roasted).
The first steep (rinse) didn’t have a lot of roasted flavour and I got a lot of the bitter melon flavour, a bit sour. The second steep and the ones that followed the second steep were quite different. They were very smooth, surprisingly, but had quite a very thick roasted aroma to them that was coupled with a rather nice sour-ish aroma.

Flavors: Plums, Roasted, Sour, Thick

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 10 g 6 OZ / 180 ML

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356 tasting notes

Got this to see how we like it, as we love the one from YS but it’s out of stock on US site. Threw the whole sample into the gaiwan, which includes a 2g piece of bitter melon. Interesting, the aroma kind of reminds me of the bug bitten oolongs we’ve had. Did a quick wash to get rid of some of the fannings and dust.

The flavor also reminds me of some of those oolongs, and it has a distinctly roasted flavor. I like it more than I’ve liked some other heavy roasted oolongs, which are not usually my thing. Has a thick sweet aroma that clings to the cup once emptied. Definitely getting some plummy notes. The longer I steep this, it starts to become a bit reminiscent of some of the heicha I’ve had.

Third steep I think was done too cool at 90C, but had a returning, syrupy sweetness. The longer I drink this, the more I realize that its age is increasingly apparent to me and that along with the heavy roast certainly set it apart from what I’m more accustomed to.

A couple more steeps, really start to get that fruity sweet and sourness really starts to come through and the liquor gets thick and viscous. I do feel like I can feel this tea coursing through my body in a sense.

Got a good few steeps out of this one but the flavor died down pretty quickly. This was good. I would drink it again, for sure, but it probably wouldn’t be my number one go to.

Flavors: Pleasantly Sour, Plums, Roasted, Sweet, Thick

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 10 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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88
334 tasting notes

Revisiting this because my last note on it was along the lines of “I liked it, but I don’t remember specifically why”. So, taking it nice and slow! This is a complex but not overwhelming tea. The initial impression from sipping is a roastiness that floats off the top, then a good, substantial dark-oolong feel. And then there’s a lingering sweetness that has a surprisingly fresh quality. For a while as I tried my first few What-Cha teas, I’d feared my palette was just very different from Alistair’s, as I rarely got what was in the written description of the tea, even though I found them all enjoyable. This time I’m happy to say I do get a plum note from this tea, and it’s a fresh juicy one. When I think of plum notes in conjunction with tea, I usually mean Chinese dried/candied plums (hua mei) or green plums, but in this case it reminds me of something entirely different!

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921 tasting notes

Ben bought me a small present that is on its way, a triple pack of flash diffusers for my camera, woo! I know, you are thinking (like I did about a year ago actually, before the flash on my old camera proved itself weak and sad) ‘why not just make one yourself like you did last time?’ Well, mainly it is laziness (totally copping to it) the other is the triple pack comes in colors and I am curious, yellow light, blue light, and white light flash diffusers, how will they compare to the handmade one I have stuffed in my desk? Plus, these are made of plastic that clips on, meaning it is less likely to break in my purse or get turned into an impromptu cat toy (so many handmade diffusers were lost that way) and conveniently they were cheaper than a loaf of my fancy gluten free bread, though less nourishing I imagine.

Oolong week continues! If you were like me and plastered to the blogs, Instagrams, and Twitters of those lucky Tea Bloggers at the World Tea Expo this year, you might have heard the collective excitement over aged Oolong in a certain fruit, granted theirs came from a different year and vendor, but when I saw that What-Cha had China Fujian Anxi 2008 Heavy Roasted Tie Guan Yin Oolong Tea in Bitter Melon I knew I had to give it a go. That was a couple of months ago, my sample languished in the sample box, waiting for the right time to be tasted…and it was the persistence of this tea popping up everywhere that finally made me break down and try it. It kept showing up on tea groups I am in, on IG, the Lazy Literatus himself covered it…I gave into the siren’s call and tried my best to keep my expectations and excitement at bay, nothing ruins a tea quite like it not living up to the self create hype from researching it. First off, what the heck is a bitter melon? Ok I do know what these are, but in the joy of sharing knowledge, allow me to explain what they are. Momodorica charantia, or as I am more familiar with them as, Ku Gua, see I know them from Traditional Chinese Medicine, it is a cooling herb and I drank a particularly nasty brew of cooling herbs with this fruit (and root) in it, specifically to help cool down my lungs and skin. Though fun side fact, cooked melon slices in a soup were given to children to help combat malaria, yay for medicinal stuff! Of course it is also a food, though you have to use it in moderation because it can land you on the toilet for a not so fun adventure.

Now that I have the gourd out of the way, time for the tea! I admit I spent a bit of time just admiring the leaves, very tightly curled and seriously stuffed into that gourd slice, kinda glad I only got the sample this time because I imagine it is a pain to get the tea out of a whole melon! The aroma is all sorts of funky fun, sour pickled plums, loam, old wet coals, dry wood, smoke, and a medicinal pungency. It takes the familiar smoky earthiness of an aged roasted Tie Guan Yin and gives it a serious sourness from the melon, I can say that sniffing this tea is a real wake up to the nose.

Into the gaiwan it goes! I was going to use my roasted Yixing pot, but decided to go gaiwan for mysterious me reasons. The aroma of the ever so slightly unfurled leaves hilariously to me smells like sweet and sour plum sauce, as a kid I kinda had an addiction to that stuff and would get a jar of it and binge on wontons dipped in it while simultaneously binging on Super Mario or Zelda. Under the plum sauce is prunes adding sweetness, loam, and smoke…it is really weird but not unpleasant at all. The liquid is sweet, roasted plums, stewed prunes, and smoldering coals. Not too potent, mellow and sweet.

The tea starts out pretty mild, very smooth and…wait…I take it back, it is not mild at all! It really does start mild like prunes and plums, and then build in intensity. Adding notes of loam and coals with a strong honey drenched prune note that lingers well into the aftertaste. I don’t really notice the bitter melon yet, more the mellow sweetness of a roasted, aged TGY.

The second steep’s aroma brings the sweet roasted plums and sour pickled plums (mmm umeboshi) with strong notes of roast and loam. The taste is a great deal more intense this time, starting with strong plums and prunes with a nice burst of loam. At the middle there is a slightly sour, pungent medicinal taste that signals the arrival of the bitter melon’s contribution to the tea. Towards the end it goes to honey sweet and it lingers for so very long.

I went on for quite a few more steeps, the taste didn’t really change much after the second steep, until around steep seven, then it was just loam and mineral. Even though it does not change much, and it is not too terribly nuanced, it really shines in the Qi department. I found myself getting a bit tea stoned off this brew, I was relaxed, giggly and floaty…and next thing I knew I had spent hours playing Minecraft, oblivious to the passage of time. I have enough of my sample left for one more session, and I am saving that beasty for a day when I need to get lost in a powerful Qi.

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2015/10/what-cha-china-fujian-anxi-2008-heavy.html

Rasseru

Ah well done for the diffusers (i actually wrote infusers first Haha)

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85
107 tasting notes

This is an interesting tea. I tried it three times before putting up a review. I’ve never had a TGY quite this dark before, so it was definitely an experience! The first time I brewed it gongfu, followed the brewing instructions (194 degree water, 45 second infusions), but the flavor was lacking for me. Increased the time and still, not much. Second time I did western style in my cast iron teapot, and boosted the temp to 200 for 3 minutes. I thought that because the leaves weren’t unfurling much, that the temp was too low. That didn’t improve the flavor much either. So this morning, I tried again, western style, boiling water, 5 minutes. Tasted after five and added another 2-3 minutes, and perfect.

So I learned a few things: You apparently cannot oversteep this tea, and the leaves are not going to open up or unfurl like a traditional oolong because they are roasted all to heaven and back. Also, it’s delicious.

Flavor is lovely, no astringency, lightly smoky – surprising actually, I thought it would be more so b/c the leaves are charred black. Sweet flavors of roasted plum and dried figs. The charcoal finish is there but again, not overbearing. I’m not sure what the piece of bitter melon adds to the flavor party, but I did that because the tasting notes recommend it. I also ordered 100 grams for a chance at getting a whole bitter melon, which Alistair generously sent.

In sum, this is a lovely tea for anyone who loves a dark roasted TGY.

EDIT: Decided to see if the leaves had anything left, so I steeped it again for 10 minutes and had a nice second cuppa.

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