Thursday, April 28, 2011

2011 Spring Jade Oolong from Yi Guang Shan

Yi Guang Shan is a small intermediate mountain between Zhu Shan and Shan Lin Shi. The elevation is around 700-800 meters. (That's also where my winter 'honey' Luanze Oolong comes from). After selecting a Jinxuan and a Si Ji Chun Oolong this spring, I thought it would be interesting to add the third popular cultivar for 'fragrant' Taiwan Oolong: Jade (翠玉, Cuìyù) Oolong. Like Jinxuan, this cultivar was developed in Taiwan's Tea Research and Extension Station in the 80s (and known also as Taiwan tea No. 13).
Cultivar: Jade Oolong
Handharvested on April 8, 2011
Rolled Oolong with a very light roasting.

Competition style brewing: 3 grams for 6 minutes in a white porcelain set.

The dry leaves are dark green and not that small in size, which is a sign of high altitude (relatively speaking, because jade Oolong is usually grown in lower elevations). The dry scent is buttery and lightly caramel with hints of fruitiness.

The brew's smell is fresh, oscillating between apple and raw peach.
The leaves show signs of oxidation on the edges. It's not one of those extremely 'green' Oolongs. That's also why I could ask the farmer to dry it a little bit more at low temperature to make it smoother and more tasteful.

What I like most about it (as I was comparing it to other jade Oolongs from Zhu Shan) is its aftertaste "zestiness".

It has this characteristic that high mountain Oolongs have: a kind of sparkle and energy in the mouth that lingers on. This makes the pleasure last longer and is worth paying extra.

After their long rest, the leaves are quite thick this spring.

And the transparency and clarity of the brew is wonderful. The strong yellow color shows that this tea has a good concentration of aromas and that its oxidation level is not too low.

We also see the presence of buds between leaves. That's where the finest aromas come from.

The Chinese love for nature and its green color is the reason why vivid green jade (and celadon) are so popular here. That's the reason why I used this green Cha Xi to brew this tea!
Woodfired celadon bowl by David Louveau. Here the colors remind us more of ancient jade, with orange and brown colors mixed with an earthy green. There are even hints of pink!

2 comments:

Wojciech Bońkowski (aka Nerval) said...

Une tasse David Louveau d'une grande beaute. Merci pour nous la faire decouvrir.
Je remarque que le Cuiyu a des feuilles d'une forme totalement differente par rapport au Luanze: moins elongees, comme une amande.
Je ne sais pas si c'est le cas pour le the, mais dans le vin, la seule methode de distinguer les differents cepages (cultivars) de la vigne est par la forme de leurs feuilles... Elles sont tres differentes et impossible de confondre, par exemple, Chardonnay avec Pinot Noir.

Stephane said...

Nerval,
(C'est un bol de David Louveau). Mais tu as raison quant aux cultivars. Leurs feuilles ont des formes différentes. Mais encore faut-il comparer des feuilles d'une certaine maturité pour que cela soit évident.