Thursday, November 05, 2009

Top Wenshan Qizhong and small zisha teapot

Spring 2006 hand harvest.
Wenshan area, northern Taiwan.
Top grade Luanze Oolong with medium to strong roast.

The dry leaves smell like light brandy, a very intoxicating fragrance. The smell under the lid is very different. It's the sweet and pleasing smell of a certain type of wood, maybe pine. In the cup, the fragrances are very different again. We are in a deep, dark forest at the end of winter, early spring. Mysterious scents of orchid, mushrooms and lush vegetation play around in my mouth and nose.

The color of the brew is yellow/brown. Very good clarity.

The taste is remarkably light and sweet at first. Then comes a nice thick feeling with some tickling of the salivary glands. A slight roughness, not enough to be qualified as astringent, can be felt like in a raw vegetable. Several layers of sweetness keep on being released in the mouth. There's also a sense of freshness in the mouth in the end.

This tea shares many similarities with good WuYi Yan Cha. Shape and good roasting to begin with. Also, like with Hung Shui Oolong, the freshness has been preserved despite even stronger roasting.

The spent leaves (on the left on the plate) open up, but are a little more hardened than my Hung Shui Oolong. Since their shape isn't rolled, the heat more easily penetrates to the core.

I'm using this 9 cl (87 grams) small Yixing zisha teapot. Its flat shape is a good fit for roasted Wenshan Baozhong, Wu Yi Yan Cha or puerh.

It has no inside filter, but this isn't a problem if the leaves aren't too broken in pieces. The small size of the pot also means it's possible to use a high leaf to water ratio at low cost. Roasted Oolongs often need a certain level of concentration, of strength to taste right. This is easier to attain in a such small teapot.

When the weather is cool, such a sweet and warm Oolong brings much comfort and pleasure...


Laura Schaefer said...

Thank you for this wonderfully descriptive review and the helpful photos.

Anonymous said...

Salut Stéphane,

Excellente chronique.

Ce oolong vieilli est quand même jeune (2006) ce qui se remarque par la couleur de sa liqueur. Cependant, il semble assez rôti. Selon ton expérience, quelles sont les qualités d'un oolong vieilli jeune par rapport à un oolong vieilli plus âgé? Aussi, toujours en prenant la considération de l'âge du oolong, quelles seront les différences entre un oolong très rôti et un moins rôti après la maturation (en considérant aussi les cuissons périodiques)?


Alexis LAfleur

TeaMasters said...

Thanks for your comment.

Je ne considère pas cet Oolong comme vieilli. D'ailleurs, je ne l'ai pas mis dans ma liste de vieux thés. Il est simplement torréfié et a eu le temps de se reposer un peu depuis 3 ans. Sa vivacité et force sont plus présentes. Ses odeurs n'ont pas encore changé au-delà de la torrefaction.

Difficile de répondre à ta seconde question. Le risque de trop torrefier est de tuer la vitalité des feuilles, la fraicheur du thé. Le risque de ne pas assez torréfier est d'entrainer trop d'oxydation des feuilles encore trop humides. Le thé perd aussi sa fraicheur et devient acide avant de tout perdre.

Pile said...

GREAT blog!!!!

Anonymous said...

The wood and pine, mushrooms and vegetation could describe a Puerh. And being again like a Wuyi dark-roasted Oolong, this is a tea I would like.