This tasting flight includes: 1. Gao Cong ShuiXian (高枞水仙) 2. Tiger Whistling Rock Rou Gui(虎啸岩肉桂) 3. Peach Fragrance Da Hong Pao(桃香大红袍) 4. Huang Jin Gui(黄金桂) 5. Golden Water Turtle (Shui Jin Gui)/水金龟 6. Iron Arhat (Tie Luo Han)/铁罗汉 7. Huang Guan Yin/黄观音 8. Heaven’s Waist (Ban Tian Yao)/半天腰 9. Yue Ming Xiang (悦茗香) 10. Shui Lian Dong Qi Lan (水帘洞奇兰) 11. Yellow rose (Huang Mei Gui)/黄玫瑰 12. Bai Rui Xiang /百瑞香
I’m not going to do detailed writeups of each tea this year, but will say that it appears 2021 was a very good year for rock oolong from Tong Xin She Teahouse, especially the traditional varietals in the selection. Here’s hoping that 2022 is just as spectacular!
The last of the seven Wuyi Yancha samples from the white2tea January tea club.
“The name rougui literally translates as cinnamon, one of the most famous varieties of yancha [rock oolong]. From early May 2018, this tea had four roasts, but the flavors of the flame have receded by the time of its release to reveal the flavors and aromas of dark fruits and deep mineral character within the tea.”
Punching slightly above my weight class with this Oolong.
As I’ve only tried these seven Wuyi Oolong in my life, I’m at a bit of a loss as where to start with this exceptional tea.
Also, I’m a bit emotionally traumatized by listening to Scott Walker’s album “The Drift” on the way home from work.
It’s a tea that does reward careful drinking and preparation, turning over the different aspects of the flavor and scent in your mind as you savor it, and as it evolves through the course of a gong fu session. The roast character, the mineral character, the fruit, and the long lasting sweet aftertaste.
“Spice Flower is an oolong tea from the Fujian province of China. Roasted to a medium light level, the floral sweetness and spicy character of this tea shines through the roasted character.”
Some times when I taste a tea, I kind of wonder if I have the right one.
In the case of white2tea’s spice flower, I am totally wondering if the bag was mis-labelled or if my taste is just off today.
To me, the roast is totally dominant, especially in the early steeps. I get the creamy/milky character described in the tasting notes, and in later steeps, it does seem quite sweet in character, with a lingering floral, light character. It does seem less oxidized than some of the other white2tea Wuyi Yancha.
The lingering scent in the share cup reminds me a bit of watermelon and soft berries.
I gave a cup to my coworker and he described its primary character and flavor as “ash”.
So, I dunno. The problem with single dose samples is you only get one chance to brew and if you screw it up, there are no second chances.
The buzz is on the zippy side and it is a very tasty tea. It just doesn’t seem to match the description.
“OBSX…Yancha [rock oolong] made from older bush material, this tea is often called laocong shuixian which literally translates as old bush narcissus; shuixian being the varietal of tea.”
Shuixian or “Shui Hsien” is actually one of the more common varieties of Oolong. It is suitable to growing in regions of China other than Fujian, and that lower quality Oolong, from outside of Fujian, is what you may get if you order Oolong tea in a Chinese restaurant or order “Oolong” flavored Bubble Tea.
This “laocong shuixian” from white2tea, however, is quite interesting. It lacks a bit in scent, but what it lacks in scent, it makes up for in flavor of the tea. Uh, and in its potent buzz.
There is a light narcissus scent, but the flavors are on the dark side. Tobacco leaf, especially, and a bit of leather. I especially understood, with this tea, the mineral character that is often used to describe “Rock” Oolong. Those mineral briney flavors are very prominent, along with those other dark flavors. The downside to the light scent is that OBSX doesn’t have a lot of staying power or aftertaste. Once the flavor is gone from your mouth, there isn’t much that lingers in your palate or mind.
I think I would best describe this burly, dark OBSX Oolong as an Oolong for Pu-Erh drinkers, especially those that appreciate a potent kick from their tea.
“Originally used to describe the tea from a small group of bushes in Fujian, the name Dahongpao in a modern context is more commonly used to describe blends of yancha [rock oolong] instead of denoting a varietal or processing distinction.”
Originally, the term Da Hong Pao was used to describe a tea made from a few bushes in Fujian. Or to quote the wikipedia.
According to legend, the mother of a Ming dynasty emperor was cured of an illness by a certain tea, and that emperor sent great red robes to clothe the four bushes from which that batch of tea originated. Famously expensive, Da Hong Pao can sell for up to US$1,025,000 per kilogram or US $35,436 per ounce (20z of Da Hong Pao tea from one of the mother plants was sold for ¥156,800 in 1998).
So, this, obviously, isn’t that Da Hong Pao, in fact it is one of the more reasonable Wuyi Oolongs on the White2Tea site, and they describe it as being a good introduction to “quality” Stone Oolong.
I would agree. While some of the other Oolongs went long on fragrance or oxidation, their dahongpao charts a nice middle path. Good complexity, yet not daunting. Pleasant fragrance, but not overly perfumed. A little grip, but sweet enough to be balanced. I do like the finish, though. It’s not super strong while you are drinking it, but it came back to me at various times during the day, haunting me a bit (in a good way).
Stone milk wuyi yancha, aka rock oolong, from @white2tea.
I have to admit I’ve always been a little curious about “Stone Milk” Oolong.
It’s such a curious name for a tea.
The smell of the wet leaves is just fantastic, caramel smells with a mild sweet perfume.
Early impressions of the flavor tell me this has more tannic grip than either of the previous Wuyi Yancha. It has a thick feel in the mouth, as the tannins cause you to produce saliva. There is an almost lactic acid like late taste which combines with a subtle roasty-ness. Great long lasting aftertastes which primarily remind me of red berries with a touch of mint.
Nice buzz, but not too overwhelming.
Overall, an outstanding tea, and probably a good one to introduce English style black tea drinkers to Wuyi Oolong.
The name “baisuixiang” translates to “100 Year Fragrance”, which, while perhaps a slight exaggeration, is certainly an apt description for this incredibly fragrant Oolong tea.
I really need to attend some tasting seminars for Oolong tea, as my palate vocabulary is sorely lacking when it comes to describing some of these incredible teas. There are fragrance and taste memories that they evoke for me, (childhood candies, visiting markets in foreign countries…) which I can’t quite place.
This is definitely the most perfume-ish (or probably more accurately incense-ish) Oolong I have tried so far, yet the perfume/incense scents are not overwhelming and backed with a pleasant tannic backbone and slight bitterness. Very mild roast flavor. Long, long aftertaste, at different times reminding me of perfume and fruits.
Very different from the previous Iron Arhat Wuyi, perhaps less accessible, but no less compelling.
Using this tea for the maiden voyage of my @mudandleaves Zhuni Gaopan.
I was looking to try some different sorts of tea and I liked white2tea’s philosophy:
“we conduct business with a simple philosophy: if we would not drink it, we will not sell it.
“our approach to sales is minimalist.
“no flowery descriptions of flavors. no fairytale stories about monks and tea masters. no bullshit.
“we provide the tea. the experience is up to you.”
So, I joined their tea club to get an idea about the teas they sell.
The first shipment I got was January, and it was a selection of seven Wuyi yancha, or “Rock Oolong”. Wuyi yancha are among the most highly prized, and highly priced, of Oolong teas. They are grown in the Wuyi mountains of Norther Fujian, China. As with wine, the struggle of the tea bush to survive on these rocky slopes and tough conditions concentrates the flavor in the few leaves they do produce.
On the white2tea website these sell for between $10 and $25 dollars for 25g.
Each sample is around 8g, which is a bit heavy for a single dose, or very light for more than one.
Iron Arhat, known in Chinese as tiěluóhàn, or literally, “Iron Warrior Monk”, is one of the the “Four Great Oolongs”.
I used the full sample for one batch, around 8g, brewed with water just off the boil, in a 140ml porcelain Gaiwan.
The flavors are wonderfully integrated, with none dominating. Some sweetness and minerality, with a touch of creaminess and roast flavors. Amazing length and complexity, with an aftertaste that just doesn’t quit. Great re-steepability, as well, surviving and thriving well past nearly 4 cups of water, with only a bit of grip and tannin showing up in the later, longer steeps. An amazing tea to savor as its tastes evolve over the course of the steeps.