Yesterday I spent part of my day tasting various teas with two other people (one left early).
I arrived a bit late to the party (sorry!) but they decided to wait for me to get started :). Everything was all set up when I got there, a full gongfu setup was sitting on the table, tea table and everything. I should have brought a gaiwan, my friend bought his Yixing pot, a classic Zhu Ni Shui Ping, a bit less than 100ml (high quality stuff), but he's a traditionalist and uses a Yixing for Pu'erh and a Yixing for oolongs. He also brought a Yixing pitcher made of Duan Ni clay. I should have brought a gaiwan and porcelain pitcher, but it doesn't matter that much, especially since I was already low on time. However, I was able to predict his fear of technology, so I brought a scale with me, drug dealer style.
There were already about 5 teas laid out when I got there, scattered around the table. I slapped two more samples on to the table. We were ready to begin.
1954 aged oolong sent to me by Beautiful Taiwan Tea - Pleasant, mellow, slightly roasty. Was a very smooth and pleasant drink, but it didn't have the aged flavor I was looking for. Excellent as a roasted oolong, disappointing as an aged oolong. This was a favorite of my friend, but not a favorite of mine. I think it would have been nicer with longer steeps, but my friend steeped it and insisted on short ones.
1972 Baozhong sent to me by Everlasting Teas. Wow. This is super-flavorful and has a ton of aged taste. I could sense that it was humid-stored early in its lifetime, but that faded. I wasn't supposed to review this until Sammy from Everlasting got his website up, but I've been waiting for weeks. This is a wonderful tea and a great example of a clean, aged taste. Very herbal and not musty at all. I would/probably will buy this as a special occasion tea. I don't think it's going to be easy to find aged teas with that clean of a taste in the future.
1983 Oolong from Gukeng Township - I was originally told that this was a 1980 oolong, but I posted pics of the packaging online and the origin of this tea is now clear. It's a 1983 oolong from a place called Gukeng Township in Yunlin County, apparently known for farming something called "Rabies Coffee". This was bought in Taiwan by a friend of my friend. It's really interesting because it doesn't have an aged taste at all, but it doesn't have a young taste either. It has a golden liquor with a super buttery flavor profile. I've never had a tea this buttery, the body was very thick as well. It was $20 USD ($600TWD) for 130g as well, very good price. Thankfully the label had the address for the shop on it and that friend is going to Taiwan in less than a week :). Going to get more of this I hope. Meanwhile I have a serving of it to myself, which will be featured in a future post.
Roasted Oolong from Taiwan - This isn't a Dong Ding or a TGY, it had a very pleasant profile, easy to drink as well. This was also bought in Taiwan by my friend's friend, who I have on Facebook. I reached out to him to clarify the origins of this tea. I have a couple of servings of this :)
Finally we tasted the Mystery Oolong - The dry leaf smelled exactly like a fresh baguette. Seriously, it didn't have a hint of baguette, it smelled exactly like a baguette. The liquor smelled of fruit, and it tasted like fruit. Quite sour, in fact. Very confusing flavor profile, it was bought at Sun's Organic Tea in NYC. I have some of this as well.
However, we had to go our seperate ways. I was given two teas from Sun's Organic Teas - some sort of rolled Phoenix oolong (couldn't read what it said other than Phoenix, neither could my friend) and a delicious Oriental Beauty that's cheaper and better than anything I've bought online. I'm not going to see this guy for 3 weeks, but when I do see him he'll be back from Taiwan. Hopefully he brings back some goodies!
Thanks for reading!