Friday, July 25, 2014

Mystery Aged Oolong

Hi everyone! First actual review. This time? An aged oolong from Taiwan.

    My friend gave it to me, he bought it on his last trip to Taiwan. The tea shop he bought it from is a Pu-erh wholesaler who made an exception and sold smaller quantities to my friend because he's a Westerner. According to the shopkeeper, it was fermented in a way similar to Pu-erh, whatever that means. Can anyone elaborate on that claim? Maybe it was aged in the same room as some Pu-erh cakes or something. I think he paid the equivalent of $60USD for about a half pound of it.

100ml Gaiwan, 6g of leaf, boiling water.

   The dry leaf is small and brown, not too tightly rolled, looks like a lot of other aged oolongs. It's earthy-smelling up front, but a slight toastiness can be detected as well. The dry leaf reminds me a lot of Red Blossom's 1980s Dong Ding visually. (THIS IS A GOOD THING)

     It seems to have been mildly roasted, possibly roasted once and never re-roasted. The wet leaves are small and uniform in size, I can't find any indication of blending (THIS IS A GOOD THING AS WELL). Many aged oolongs are actually leftovers of different lots of tea, mixed together and put away to age. It steeps out to a clear amber color.

     This tea tastes nice. It has a tiny bit of sourness, not too much though. It opens up with a tiny bit of roast, and a nice, clean, spicy aged taste comes through with some earthiness, spiciness, and some fruit. As the number of steeps increases the fruitiness becomes more pronounced. Sadly that doesn't last too long, maybe 7 good steeps.

     Sadly, gongfu brewing isn't a specialty of Mystery Aged Oolong. Grandpa brewing this tea (6g for about 450ml) brings out a much cleaner profile with more "aged taste".

     Hopefully I'll be able to review some aged oolongs that are more easily attainable in the west soon. I have a couple of samples coming next week that are from online vendors.

Thanks for reading, fam.


  1. That claim is interesting as oolong and pu'erh age differently and should be kept in very different conditions! I also love grandpa styling aged oolongs, it works very well.

    The can converge at some point, but they are definitely different in my opinion.

    Any idea on the age (claimed or otherwise)?

    1. I honestly have no idea about the age. If I had to guess I'd say around 10-15yrs. It's not super aged but I can taste a few years on it.

      I'm confused about the "fermented in a way similar to pu'erh" claim as well, all I know for sure is that it's an aged oolong and the rest is up for interpretation. I'm going to assume it was stored in natural Taiwanese storage, as that seems to be the case for most aged oolongs. I can't wait to compare it to some oolongs with clearer origins.

    2. That seems like a reasonable guess based off of the tea color and leaves. Sounds like it would probably benefit from another 10-15 years!

    3. it definitely would, but since 25-30yr old oolongs are pretty cheap anyways it's easier just to buy it.