Wednesday, September 24, 2014

2014 Spring Hung Shui Oolong from Yong Lung (Dong Ding)

Cultivar: Qingxin (ruanzhi) Oolong
Harvested by hand in spring 2014
Origin: Yong Lung village, Dong Ding area, Nantou county
Process: Rolled, low to medium oxidation, then slow and long roast.

The autumn season has begun and I'm very glad to have this spring Hung Shui Oolong to bring warmth and energy to the grey turning days.

The scent of the dry leaves is absolutely exhilarating. Through the deep hungbei, the leaves have developed a new scent closer to whiskey than to fresh tea! There's oak and malts and sweetness...
The fragrances in the brew are also heavy, dark, ripe and rich. As for the taste, it's very rich and full body. There's a light sour note that turns mostly sweet with a little bitterness that carries the aftertaste very long. There's also a very powerful tingling on the tongue. It's a tea with great cha qi.

The choice of the brewing vessel has a big impact on how this energy is expressed. With a zhuni, the energy from the roasting (and the leaves) is felt very strongly and almost overshadows the fragrances. With a zhuni, I would recommend to pour the water very slowly. At this stage, even after half a year of rest, the better choice is to use a zisha or duanni teapot. The taste and fragrances get a much smoother mix and balance. And the aftertaste is fantastic: it has legs and seems to dance on the palate! Very long and energizing. The scents continue to emerge from this aftertaste as the boundary between scents and taste is blurred. 
This Dong Ding Hung Shui Oolong is a wonderful example of the original Dong Ding Oolong taste. Traditionally, in Taiwan, this type of tea is more guys, brewed very strong, especially in the south of the island. But I see that it appeals also to many female brewers in Taipei. They would brew such tea much lighter, though. Not all roasted Oolongs stay good when brewed 'light' (with fewer leaves and longer brewing times). Only those that have elegance and finesse perform well then. This is one of those!
Enjoy autumn with great Hung Shui Oolongs!


Steph said...

Now that's an interesting thing to consider - female vs male brewing. It's certainly a factor in my chanoyu classes but I hadn't considered otherwise. I must spend time thinking about this.

Unknown said...

Initially, I commented on this tea based on the brew with a porcelain gaiwan. Subsequently. I tried it in a zhuni teapot (just to compare with Stephane's comments), and I was very satisfied with the taste. In fact, the taste of the roast and fire although is there but it is not overwhelming like some of the others I have bought from local vendors. Personally, I felt that the brew with the zhuni taste better than my previous brew with the porcelain gaiwan although I must comfess my brewing parameters are not exactly the same and I used fewer leaves this time around.
A wonderfully made hung shui (and refreshing even)which I will definitely order again in the future!

TeaMasters said...

Thanks for your comment Steph and OJ.

I am glad that you could appreciate the difference in quality with other Hung Shui Oolongs. You're ready to upgrade your tea experience!