Saturday, October 27, 2007

Organic Wuyi Qi Lan

I don't know much about Wuyi tea, or oolong tea in general. I am more of a green tea drinker. It's the scenario of needing a darker tea in the morning that leads me down the path to wuyi. Put simply, oolong tea is a halfway tea between black and green. It is more oxidized than green, but the oxidation process is stopped before it becomes black tea. Other processes that make oolong what it is could be brought on by a roasting process. Wuyi oolong is tea from the Wuyi Mountains of China.

Wuyi tea's individuality is said to be caused by the rocky soil and microclimate of these mountains. This is of course in addition to the tea varietal that grows there.

Wuyi tea is good in the morning because it carries a bigger kick of caffeine, has a more complex flavor variety, and is shrouded in sweetness. It is also very easy on the stomach, allowing me to drink it before any kind of breakfast, like today. I also have black teas in the morning sometimes, but the reason I like to have wuyi is because of it's complexity of flavor, and the lower amount of caffeine. For me, I seem to drink black tea mostly for the caffeine, while wuyi gives me both the caffeine, and the flavor.

I have only tried 3 different Wuyi teas. One from Adagio, which was a good introduction, another I got in a tasting pack from puerhshop, which was heavily fired, and thus a little intense. The third is Rishi's Organ Wuyi Qi Lan.

Rishi's Qi Lan is my favorite of the three. It is more complex than Adagio's, and less intense then Puerhshop's. On to the tea:

The aroma of the dry leaves is very pleasing. Getting the dry smell from the leaves is hard. What I do is take a small amount of leaves, and place them in the palm of my hand, the moisture from my hand releases the aroma of the leaves. The aroma given off is a deep, roasted-sugar sweetness, along with some roasted raisin-like complexity.

I put enough leaves to cover the whole bottom of the small yixing pot.

The brewing parameters I've been using are roughly 208°f for 3.5 - 4 minutes. But I have been told that wuyis are normally prepared with short steeps. For now, my methods are working wonderfully.

My camera is still having a hard time focusing on the tea. :(


Roasted sugar, sweet, complex. A nice dry wood fragrance, perhaps slightly barky, and accompanied a bit by the raisin-sweetness.

1st Steep
Strong and sweet, and just as the description on the bag says, a dry kick of roasted sugar. The sweetness seems to be coming from a raisin-like presence. The woody flavors, and roasted flavors are a bit intense, sharp.
2nd Steep
The tea becomes better rounded, with a less "complex" feel. Woodsy flavors are more present, and the roasted sugar flavor has blended into the rasin-sweetness. Perhaps the taste also becomes a bit lighter in the second steeping. As tea cools to a warm temperature, it becomes predominantly sweet, but the sweetness seems to be somehow "complex."
3rd Steeo
Third steeping is still very nice. Reaching a state that perhaps can not be any more rounded. Deep sweet flavors of raising and sugar have blended. The tea has become slightly lighter as well. Less woodsy flavor.

And the remnants:

As you can see in these pictures, some of the leaves are green, some brown. All the wuyis I've had have been like this. But I have been told that not all wuyis show this characteristic. This leads me to believe that all the wuyis I've had are a blend of some kind.

This is my favorite Wuyi. Absolutely wonderful. It is very satisfying as a morning tea. A good pick-me-up and an awesome complexion of flavors. It is this tea that may lead me to experiment more with wuyis. I recommend this tea to anyone who hasn't yet had the pleasure of trying a Wuy oolong tea. Rishi's Organic Wuyi Qi Lan is one of the most complex teas I've had the pleasure of drinking.


ann said...
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Bamboo Forest said...

Black tea for the caffeine but oolong for the flavor?

You need to try a darjeeling, the flavor of it is absolutely haunting.

Eventually I will explore the world of Wuyi's, They sound so enticing, not to mention delicious.

hfm said...

The Wuyi Oolong is a wonderful everyday tea. A delightful drink.