I recently received the 2018 Spring harvest of this tea. I wonder if in previous years it was roasted slightly more than this year. This was a very light roast and the tea liquor produced during my sessions was far more on the honey color spectrum than the darker orangey-red shown here and on Yunnan Sourcing’s website. Oolongs remain my favorite tea, and the Zheng Yan 105 hybrid has been one of my all time favorites. This tea shares some similarities in that it is floral and fruity, but not to the degree of Zheng Yan 105. This Rou Gui had a very light roasted aroma with a heady honeysuckle scent. Comparing this to Zheng Yan 105, it had a brighter aroma but shared a lot of the same darker fruit cake notes. Comparing this to Anxi or Tie Guan Yin, it’s definitely darker and more roasted and has none of the vegetal notes. However, it is no where near the level of roast of Da Hong Pao. The light roasting and oxidation kill off the green tea notes and gives the first couple of steeps a little chocolate note and bit of that roasted marshmallow and malt taste, but that is soon gone, and it begins to deliver that classic Wuyi oolong mineral yan yun. I never experienced any bitterness nor astringency. I drank this with a meal, and went 10 rounds with it in a little 50ml gaiwan. That was pushing it a bit too far, but it still delivered a little mineral taste till the end. I found this tea was more enjoyable with faster steeps of only 5-10 seconds and then slowly building to over a minute toward the very end. I enjoyed this Rou Gui quite a bit. I have some far more expensive Rou Gui coming in, so it will be fun to compare them in the near future.
Flavors: Brown Sugar, Caramel, Cinnamon, Dried Fruit, Honeysuckle, Mineral, Roasted, Sweet