Yep, we're tasting some Origin Teas again today. Origin Tea is a now-defunct vendor of premium Taiwanese Oolongs, aged pu'erh, and high-end Yancha. We previously tasted some of his off-the-shelf aged oolongs (1, 2, 3), which we found to be pretty great in general. Today we're tasting two more teas that Origin sold - a CNNP Red Mark from the 1990s and a 30 year old oolong teabag.
First up, the Ba-Zhong Red Mark. This is a traditionally-stored pu'erh from the mid 90's, it cost about $100 on Origin Tea's site, which is a pretty low price for 90s pu'erh. One of the factors behind its low price is the fact that it is missing its original wrapper, which was replaced by a blank wrapper by the vendor.
The dry leaf is typical of a traditionally stored pu'erh, dark with some frost on it. Not much aroma either, but again, that's pretty typical. I rinsed it once, and the first two steeps were AWFUL. I took Jakub and Hobbes' advice to use more leaf than usual, so I used 5g/60ml, which must have been too much. I took out some leaf and it transformed into a good quality traditional pu'erh. Nothing special, but that should be expected at the price. It had that cocoa flavor (which I happen to be in LOVE with...) that seems to be common in some traditonally stored sheng. I kind of regret not picking up a cake, but I kind of regret not picking up a lot of things (tenet 3 guys/gals!!!). Longevity isn't great, but that's okay considering the price ($100!). Overall I think this tea is pretty good, but nothing special.
Next up - 30 year old oolong TEABAG. Yep, I'm drinking a 30 year old teabag. Apparently meant to be exported to Japan, but got left behind for 30 years. If I was sane I would rip open the bag and brew the tea normally, however I'm not sane. I picked up my mommiest mug possible and threw the teabag in with some boiling water. How long am I going to steep this for? I'm not going to stop steeping this, in fact we're drinking this with the teabag left in. I'm sure that isn't healthy at all, but that's none of my business. It was about 15 minutes until it was cool enough to drink - which actually reminds me of something I saw on TV, Two and a Half Men to be exact (I'm so sorry...). Alan was asserting his manhood, which led to Charlie making a snappy remark to imply that Alan wasn't manly. Alan, while steeping his tea rebuts Charlie and then sips tea - burning his tongue in the process. Charlie then asks if Alan burnt his tongue on Chamomile tea again. Alan, with a half-frustrated/half-defeated look on his face, responds with this:
This tea was described to me as being the ultimate old man tea. And it is. Roasty, herbal, earthy, but slightly sweet as well. Minimally sour. As Alan would say, It's (aged) Oolong. Not much to say about it actually, it's pretty standard. Again, I wish I picked some of this up for travel, but oh well.
We'll miss you, Origin Tea. Thank you to James of TeaDB for sending me these samples.
Music: Both of these teas were mellow, but potent as well.