Thursday, September 25, 2014

1978 or 1967 oolong

Okay, so I ended up getting a new oolong from the same shop that the Gukeng is from (supposedly 1950's) so the Gukeng is delayed until next week or the week after. Good thing this week's tea is interesting enough to have a whole blog post dedicated to :).

This week we are drinking an oolong from 1978 (or 1967) that my friend picked up in Taiwan. It's from the same shop as Mystery Aged Oolong, so it's going to be interesting how they progressed in terms of aged oolong selection (three years have passed!). I believe it was $.50/g, so it's not cheap by any means, but it has quite a bit of age on it so time will tell. My friend said it's 1978, but the bag says 67 on it, along with some Chinese characters (roughly translated as aged oolong by my other friend).

The dry leaves are small, unrolled, and brown/red. They smell sweet and fruity but not plum fruity (a hint of things to come). The wet leaves are also small, but not broken, and have the typical aged oolong wet leaf aroma (sweet/earthy). It steeps out to a nice reddish-brown color and is not very aromatic (you know, the usual).
note that the year of the quarter is the same year as this tea potentially is!

Where this tea really discerns itself from others is the taste. It is quite sour/tart, but not at all like other aged oolongs. Other sour aged oolongs seem to present their sourness in a very harsh/unpleasant (for some, I don't mind it) way. Usually paired with some plummy sweetness. This one is tart, but in a different way. The tartness is definitely smooth and refined, and seems to have some cantaloupe/honeydew flavor along with it, which is very nice. The tartness reminds me of a good African (maybe a Burundian or Kenyan?) wet processed coffee, a balanced fruity tartness. Underneath that nice tartness is some of that nice earthy, leathery flavor that is characteristic of good quality aged oolongs. This was probably never re-roasted, which is a pleasant surprise as I blindly bought this tea without trying it and a good amount of aged oolongs are tainted with heavy re-roastings throughout their lifetime. This tea puts out for a while, giving nice, flavorful, full-bodied steeps for 3+ hours of brewing (probably 14-16 steeps). I'm also noticing a positive body response from this one, I'm feeling focused, but relaxed, although I also just took Allegra and Ibuprofen as well. Of course, this Cha Qi suddenly disappeared when I started playing some DOPE MUSIC.

one of the later steeps, was much darker earlier on.

Overall, this tea is both interesting AND really good, which is something that is rarely accomplished by teas. I'm heavily considering getting more of it when the opportunity arises (probably can get some in like a month). I'm going to get some clarification of the origin of this tea as well, for you guys. I find it quite interesting to compare teas available in the U.S. to ones only available in Taiwan, quality differences and such.

Next week: The Gukeng and the 50's from the SAME SHOP.
Week after: Two Teamasters oolongs - young and old, from the same farm.

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