Monday, November 5, 2007

'05 Laocong Shuixian

I think I found that I can handle writing tasting notes for oolong, but absolutely hate writing them for puerh. So I guess I'll try to post more by writing tasting notes for the oolongs I just recently got.

First one on the list is laocong shuixian from Jing Teashop. When I first decided I wanted to explore the world of high fire oolong, this was one of the first ones I've tried. Back then I didn't have much luck with these kinds of oolongs because I didn't feel too good after drinking them. Because of oolongs like this, I had a hard time getting into yancha.

Now that I got into yancha and understand the style a bit better than I used to, I wanted to try this one again and see if there was anything to this one that I missed the first time.

Trying it again, I think I found out the first problem; I used too much leaf. Being so heavily roasted, the flavor easily gets overpowered by the roast when using 3/4 leaves. So now I'm trying it with 1/2 and a moderately long infusion time. Counting the 15 second pour in, I brewed it for 30s, 30s, 45s, 75s, ~180s.

Dry leaf:

The lighting didn't really show the true colors. They are very dark leaves.

Even though this tea is only 2 years old, the leaves have a light aroma that I've found in older oolong. Maybe I'm just so used to the young dahongpao that anything over a year old smells aged.

First infusion: The tea has a light mouthfeel, but it has an effervescent feeling. The charcoal flavor is still present, but isn't overwhelming this time. I think the charcoal diminished into more of a spice flavor. After several seconds, a light plum flavor starts showing up, and becomes a very light lingering sweetness. A menthol cooling effect is also left.

Second infusion: I forgot to take a pic of this infusion. Oh well, this infusion wasn't much different than the first infusion anyway. It just had more plum flavor, and left a stronger lingering sweetness.

Third infusion: Judging by the color and taste, this one could have been brewed slightly longer. Instead of having the light and effervescent feeling, this started with a creamier, sweeter flavor. Spice and plum aren't as strong, and the aftertaste is more of cream this time.

Fourth infusion: This one was really underbrewed. Strangely, this one seemed more acidic that the other infusions. Plum became even stronger, and the light aftertaste was mixed with some astringency.

Fifth infusion: I brewed this one longer than normal, and it became very rough, and almost undrinkable.

Wet leaves:

I tried to take a pic with the leaves spread out outside the pot, but none turned out as clear as that one. The leaves went through so much roasting that there isn't much green left in them.

Overall, using less leaves has brought more flavors out of this tea, but I still didn't find it to be the most enjoyable. The strong roasting still seemed to cover up the tea flavor. The strong roast and age creates a character that I'm sure some really enjoy, but it's just not my cup of tea (literally).


Salsero said...

That pot has a gorgeous luster! Did it start out that nice, or has it changed with use?

Very interesting post. I enjoyed the way you compare a tea you drank in your innocent and ignorant days to the same tea now with some experience under your belt. You're not really comparing teas, but rather stages of personal growth and development. I guess it turns out that your initial impressions were not so bad after all! What you've added, however, is confidence in your judgement.

Thanks for sharing.

Warden said...

Heh, I never really thought of it like that. It's nice to know that the tea isn't much different than I originally thought. I've been wondering if I just didn't notice those flavors in some of my first yanchas, but maybe I can now trust my initial judgment a bit more. Kinda helps when the tea in question isn't available anymore. :p

That pot came with that luster. The sun light coming through the window brought it out even more.

Jason Fasi said...

*agrees*, though I didn't get rough infusions, I did get some unpleasant acidity. But, consider the tea is from GZ, and it's humid there...

Also, I didn't taste what made this tea lao cong. What do you look for in a lao cong shui xian that you wouldn't find in a young bush shui xian?

Warden said...

To be honest, I thought that all laocong needed to be laocong is a stronger roast than normal. If these are leaves from older trees, I just don't notice any other difference.

Maybe leaves from older trees can survive that kind of roasting without being over-roasted? Just a guess.