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March 30, 2008 · 5 Comments

As I said yesterday, I was going to use the bigger tea caddy for a tieguanyin that I’ve been meaning to open for a while. Well, the day is today. This tea is something I bought maybe three or four years ago in Hong Kong. It’s been in its bag ever since I got it.

I bought it at the time having tried it at the store and knowing it was already aged for about 10 years. I checked again today, and the tea is actually 13 years old this year. The bag doesn’t look too good, although the leaves are still surprisingly intact.

(sorry, shaky hands today for some reason, maybe too excited)

The 150g bag of tea fit just right into the tea caddy with just a little room to spare. I then put it back in the box and left it. I don’t think I’ll want to drink this tea much — I’d rather let it age a little more. I do, however, intend on tasting it now that my ability to judge a tea has, I think, improved a little over the past three or four years.

This tea is not highly roasted. In fact, I’d say that when it was young, it was probably quite lightly roasted. The leaves are still green, even when dry (the lighting was a bit funny today too). When tasted, it yields a very orthodox tieguanyin flavour, with a strong yinyun (tieguanyin aftertaste, basically) and a very strong qi. I don’t think I’ve had tea with this strong a qi for a while, but it was a pleasant qi, not something that is particularly overpowering or uncomfortable. Rather, it was the sort that kept you buzzing a little, with a definite sensation of energy moving around your body that leaves you sweating a bit. If anybody ever asks me what a tea with qi feels like, I might just have to pull this one out.

The tea is definitely still youngish, but shows signs of aging in that there’s a hint of fruitiness showing through that is different from the floral fragrance of a young tieguanyin. Bitterness has also receeded, but it’s still there. I don’t think the tea is quite ready to drink yet, in the sense that it is a bit neither here nor there. If it were reroasted over time, it would taste older, but I think it would have also lost some of that power. It does taste a bit similar to the tea that Toki sent me, at least in its very core. That makes sense, because both these teas are tieguanyin, although their level of roast make them very different on the surface. The aftertaste, however, are quite similar, which I find to be a fairly remarkable thing.

The spent leaves are thick and solid, yet soft. I think I now have at least a little idea of how to properly identify a good tieguanyin, versus stuff that are mixed with all sorts of lower grade teas.

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5 responses so far ↓

  • HobbesOxon // March 30, 2008 at 7:40 am | Reply

    Dear MarshalN,

    I like the new cup set-up.

    Do you have any recommendations for aged wulong from Internet-available vendors? Understandably, I would not expect the quality to compare with the fine examples you have from Taiwan and Hong Kong, but it would be good to try some near alternatives, if they exist.



  • MarshalN // March 30, 2008 at 9:00 pm | Reply

    Hello there,

    No, I actually don’t have any recommendations. My expeirence with aged oolongs that are available on the web is extremely limited. The few that I did try are already documented on this blog.

    I have put together a few samples for you to try though, so perhaps you can at least have some idea of what I’m drinking…

  • behhl // March 31, 2008 at 1:11 am | Reply

    ooo … aged tie guan yin … looks interesting – it is as you say common to find such teas re-roasted every two three years. Not many Oolong Sifu will admit such ‘left-alone’ old Oolongs to have the right taste. A little bird has said that if you find any Oolong Sifu in Taiwan he probaby has lots of such left-alone teas in his attic which he does not think worth drinking unless it is re-roasted.

  • HobbesOxon // March 31, 2008 at 4:49 am | Reply

    Dear MarshalN,

    Thanks for the reply, and for the samples – very much appreciated.



  • MANDARINstea // March 31, 2008 at 5:49 pm | Reply

    May I invite myself to your Taiwanese samples too (Shameless) : P
    Very Jealous of Mr. Hobbes there…. Will trade for mine, if you wish – Tokaloop

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