Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Spring 2011 Zhu Shan Si Ji Chun and Jinxuan Oolongs

Rainy and cold days had me in a gloomy mood. I longed exclusively for warming, roasted teas. I was going to write about the need of finding faith in the coming spring. Warmer days are ahead of us. This is winter's last stand. Maybe we can even start dreaming about how fresh spring teas will taste like and prepare ourselves for the seasons' change...

Yesterday, a bright and warm sun changed everything. The sun beams turn the cold into fresh air. People's faces are joyous. My mind is elated and I solved several big tasks that had been a drag for weeks.

And, after a long time, I feel like brewing a fresh and light Oolong again! This gives me the opportunity to introduce 2 spring 2011 Zhu Shan Oolongs I have selected last week.

Competition style brewing: 3 grams for 6 minutes with boiling water.

1. Left: Si Ji Chun Oolong, 2. Right: Jinxuan Oolong
1. Cultivar: Si Ji Chun Oolong (4 seasons spring Oolong)
Harvested by hand on March 15, 2011.

The dry leaves are dark green. The brew is clear and yellow. The smells are fresh flowers, light fruits and a sunny day. The taste is bold and sweet with hints of bitterness. The aftertaste is light.

Compared to the Jinxuan, this light and fresh Oolong has a more powerful and fragrant nose and taste.

2. Cultivar: Jinxuan Oolong
Hand harvested on March 7, 2011

(See here the description of the winter 2009 version)
(En français, la version du printemps 2010)

The fresh green color of the leaves is nicely underlined by the yellow stems. Good clarity in the brew. It has a lighter and slightly greener color than the Si Ji Chun. The oxidation level is a little bit lower (but not too much). The fragrances are also lighter and more flowery and herbaceous.

The taste is light and fresh. It feels more feminine and refined than the bold Si Ji Chun.

(Were it a wine, it would be a Chardonnay white wine!)

These two cultivars are more for beginners or casual tea. Their drawback, a lack of taste and aftertaste, becomes a strength: they are quite easy to brew. Fresh, they are very fragrant and their price is very reasonable. But these are not mass produced teas. First, they are harvested by hand ; this reduces astringency and improves their sweetness. Second, they come from the hilly region of Zhu Shan (bamboo mountain) in Central Taiwan, home to a nice habitat for family owned plantations. Third, the early spring harvest is the one that best displays a naturally fragrant character.

4 comments:

Kim Christian said...

You should change the headline...
it says Spring 2010 :)...

Tempus fugit :)

Stephane said...

Thanks so much Kim!
It really seems I like living in the past!

Note to self: also proofread the title!

nadia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sébastien (Marseille) said...

Hello,

Stéphane says : "These two cultivars are more for beginners or casual tea".

OK, that's probably a casual tea, but when you compare them with the kind of casual teas you can find elsewhere, honestly at this price, you can go blinfolded with those ones.

They are very good teas to begin with and to drink every days.

Hard to say which one is better, it could probably be a good idea to test them at the same time, but choosing one or the other will be fine, especially if you want to begin by a traditionnal tea from Taiwan.

When you taste the quality of those ones, you can then imagine the quality of other selected teas from Stephane.