Leaf Type: Oolong
Where to Buy: What-Cha
Rou Gui has a great cinnamon taste combined with a thick texture and sweet taste.
Learn more about this tea here.
I love Rou Gui and the reviews I’ve read for What-Chas have all be positive so I thought it was about time I bought some to try for myself. Usually, I like to do Gong Fu sessions with Rou Gui and I’m sure I’ll try this that way eventually, but when I showed this to my mom what she said was that it smelled like it’d be good cold; and since she so rarely weighs in on how I prepare the teas I share with her I decided to honor her suggestion and make my inaugural tasting a cold brew.
I have to say, this was definitely an interesting blend to me. One of the things I most like about drinking Rou Gui Gong Fu is the progression of flavours and drinking a cold brew with an extended six or seven hour steep time really makes that progression of flavour blur together. So, I tasted qualities I think I normally would have in the first few steeps of a Gong Fu session as well as ones I probably only would have noticed in the last few infusions.
The most obvious taste was, of course, the sweet flavour of cinnamon. I find ‘cinnamon’ has such a varied flavour; it can be spicy like you’d find in Chai or very drying (have you ever done the cinnamon challenge?) or it can have this lovely pastry/baking sweetness. Of all the ways cinnamon can express itself, I definitely get the latter example here.
Other dominant flavours are honey, wood, leather, and floral notes. Maybe just a hint of cream as well. It’s a weird contrast between bold flavour notes and delicate ones too; the overall affect is a medium bodied, smooth tea with a very rich, thick mouthfeel and clean taste with a pleasant, lingering finish. One of the nice things about cold brewing this is that I got to skip the more ashy/char notes and biting astringency that usually accompany the first few infusions of a Rou Gui; but I still got leathery, wood notes! No additives are necessary. In fact, they’d probably detract from the taste more than anything else.
If there’s one thing I’d have liked to see which I didn’t it’s more of a fruity note – but maybe that’ll come out more when I inevitably Gong Fu this.
Leaf Type: Oolong
Where to Buy: Arbor Teas
Our organic Shui Xian Oolong hails from the Wuyi mountains in China’s Fujian province. This exquisite oolong is produced using the top three to four leaves on the branch. After wilting and bruising the leaves, they are hand-rolled into their final shape. When brewed, these dark green-brown leaves create an amber infusion with an exquisite floral fragrance that complements the tea’s sweetness (in fact, Shui Xian translates directly into “narcissus”). The taste is smooth and lightly sweet, with a subtle dryness reminding of pear skin, followed by a lightly baked aftertaste. As with most oolongs of this type it is moderately oxidized, ranging from 40% to 60%. Like other fine oolong teas, our Shui Xian Oolong may be infused a number of times, with each infusion revealing a new nuance of this tea’s complex flavor.
Learn more about this tea here.
This tea offers a very fruity flavor and is quite juicy. The roasted woody flavor is one of my favorite notes in oolong but it is so well complimented by the lighter plum flavors. I get far more plum in this cup than peach but regardless I do enjoy the juiciness of this tea. I actually almost choked on my first sip because the juiciness exploded like biting into a ripe plum! I was not expecting this out of such a darkly roasted oolong.
The aroma is lovely with nutty and earth notes working their way up to my senses. There is something in this aroma of must notes and forest floor.
The after taste lends toward the drier notes but it never quite gets so dry that it leaves your throat parched – the juiciness of the tea keeps that from happening.
I love roasty toasty oolong teas especially when they have that backed good flavor in them. The light and subtle sweetness does bring about a bakery essence to the taste.
Of course you have your rock mineral notes in here that are lovely and I do love mineral notes in tea. It comes over as quite refreshing along with the juicy plum flavors and reminds me of sitting along side a fresh running steam watching the water run over the rocks and pebbles within it.
A pleasing tea and from a company that also cares about the environment – can’t get better than that!
Where To Buy: Shanti Tea
One of the purest teas available on the world market.
Organic Wuyi Rock Oolong is one of the purest teas available on the world market. This rare oolong hails from Mount Wuyi in Nanping Prefecture, Fujian, up along the border of Jiangxi Province. In 1999, UNESCO listed the mountain as a World Heritage Site in part owing to its outstanding biodiversity. According to the UN, Mount Wuyi is one of the world’s finest, intact, subtropical forests. Further complimenting the region’s reputation, Mount Wuyi is registered with the Chinese government as a biodiversity conservation zone. The climate of the region is relatively humid due to the fact that the mountain prevents cool air from entering the valley, and the presence of the 9 Bend River meandering through its valleys. Living with this subtropical paradise is an almost unaccountable number of species of flora and fauna. Many of the plan species living on the mountain are considered relics of a bygone age, no longer found anywhere else on the planet. In amongst this jewel of biodiversity grows the world famous organic rock tea. The tea bushes, like many other plant species, are ancient, having grown amongst the mountain’s rocky outcroppings for generations. Cultivation of the plants is almost impossible given the topography, so exceptional care is taken when handling and plucking the fresh tea shoots. The harvesters typically wear light cotton gloves when handling the leaves, which are harvested in small quantities so as not to tire the bushes. The fresh leaf is then allowed to naturally semi-ferment. The resulting flavor is at once rich, delicate, and laden with floral nuance.
Right out of the envelop this smells nutty to me…much like almond, actually! As if infuses it starts smelling more woodsy almost like a damp twig.
As for the taste…this is a hearty brew! It’s quite masculine, woodsy, slightly peppery, and a little like roasted or toasted nuts! It has a gentle-semi-sweet after taste to it too!
This is interesting, different, and pretty good! Certainly a conversation piece – no matter which way you look at it. As for me…I look at it with a smiling face! This Oolong is very nice!