A Tea Addict's Journal

Different aging for different oolongs

May 6, 2008 · 6 Comments

What I’m about to say I have no basis other than my own drinking experience — a mere conjecture, more than anything else.

I think Taiwanese oolong age faster than mainland ones.

To clarify, I should say that Taiwanese oolongs age more markedly than mainland ones.

What I mean is that I think there’s a larger discernable difference between an older and a younger Taiwanese oolong. The difference is not only more obvious, but more qualitative. Mainland oolongs, by comparison, age slower — they retain more of their original character despite long age. I have yet to taste an aged Taiwanese oolong that really remind me of their original taste, but with mainland oolongs (and here I mostly have tieguanyin in mind) I find that I can easily tell it was not only an original tieguanyin, but have some basic idea of how the tea was, back in the day.

I have a feeling this might have to do with processing. I currently have no idea if this is indeed true, or if it’s just my small sample size playing tricks on me. I also don’t know if it’s because of the type of tea that I have found so far leading me down this road, but things like storage condition and such have large parts to play in this process.

Anyway, food for thought. Meanwhile, I take one last sip from my aged tieguanyin (mainland) before I go to bed 🙂

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6 responses so far ↓

  • Anonymous // May 6, 2008 at 1:30 pm | Reply

    lz, With all the variables, and permutations of variables, when you talk about aged teas, ONLY personal experience matters. You know with every tea producer and tea seller there will any number of “Facts” and opinions that are opposing. I’d go with personal empirical tasting every time … john

  • lewperin // May 6, 2008 at 1:35 pm | Reply

    Maybe the mainland oolongs you drink tend to be more oxidized than the Taiwan teas? And maybe greener teas age faster?

  • MarshalN // May 6, 2008 at 2:10 pm | Reply

    John: You’re most likely correct there. Vendors will pretty much tell you anything to get you to buy their tea.

    Lew: I did think about that, but I have no way of really telling whether or not the stuff I drank was indeed more or less oxidized to start off with, so I really have no basis for that claim at all.

  • Anonymous // May 6, 2008 at 8:16 pm | Reply

    Interesting. I have never thought about this before. Most likely due to the fact that I have only had the pleasure of drinking one oolong. Thus nothing for comparison.

    I look forward to hearing additional insight about your oolong experience. From where do you purchase your oolongs?

  • mote // May 7, 2008 at 3:25 am | Reply

    L, to clarify, do you mean mainland and taiwanese oolongs that have been aged in the same environment? The island is certainly more humid than many areas in China, and that should contribute to the aging considerably. Naturally wet-stored, as it were.

  • imenstudio // May 7, 2008 at 9:59 pm | Reply

    It has a lot to do with processing. Especially electric heat dried teas. Taiwan teas are mostly electric heat dried, and fermentation is done in air conditioned environment. China converted to electric heating much later than Taiwan, AC rooms are adopted ALOT later as well. Some farmers/processing factories don’t use AC rooms and electric roasters still.

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