Friday, August 22, 2008

Red Blossom Yancha, Rougui

Red Blossom Rougui

I got this Rougui along with the other wuyi oolongs from Red Blossom. I already blogged the Huang Kuan Yin, and the Jin Fo "Golden Buddha." Neither of which I liked very much. I also got a few others I didn't blog: Wuyi Amber, which is very low quality, not very pleasant, but still drinkable. Organic Qi Zhong which is just around as bad as the Amber, not surprising. Good organic teas are few and far between. I also got the Tie Luo Han, "Iron Warrior Monk," which was delicious. I'm holding off on finishing the sample until I can blog it.

The large, twisty leaf puts off a smell that is clean, but bold and roasty. Sadly, the brew comes out a golden amber, denoting a less-oxidized tea, making this closer to a green oolong, which I don't enjoy.

Suprisingly, the aroma is mostly roast, but with some underlying floral. So perhaps a more roasted lighter oolong? And that is exactly what it tastes like. The oxidation seems to be a little more than that of the Jin Fo and the Huang Kuan Yin, but lighter than I like, making the tea floral. In the first steep, the roast masks much of the floral, which is quite nice. In fact, the floral seems to add a nice amount of complexity to the first brew. But this didn't turn out bold, how I like my yancha to be.

As I expected, the roast rinses off and the tea becomes rather boring. It's too bad I find less-oxidized oolong to be boring, because there is a whole lot of it out there. It does have a nice, tranquilizing qi to it, so I'll continue to finish it off and enjoy that aspect.

What's odd about this tea is that it isn't what I would call a green oolong. It is less oxidized, and that shows through the floralness, and the "boring" attribution. But it is also something more, which means it's most likely between the two oxidation levels of what I would call green and dark. The poor side of this is that it has the boring characteristic of a green oolong. But on the other hand, this odd level of oxidation leaves one analyzing cup after cup to see what's really going on.

The evolution of this tea is very intriguing. While it starts with a roasty steep, then followed by two floral steeps, which are then followed by what tastes like a darker oolong, but lacking in roast. An even odder aspect is that the taste can shift somewhat from sip to sip between the two. I'm probably just crazy, but this is how I tasted it.

So who knows about this tea. It's quite odd, which makes it interesting. It has light-oolong characteristics, and dark-oolong characteristics. This makes me think it's at an uncommon level of oxidation, in between the common greener and darker thresholds. For now, I can't say that I like it or that I dislike it. So, while I'm unsure of this tea, I find it quite interesting. If anyone has, or knows of anyones notes on it, I'd love to read them. I'll revisit the sample again, and leave a note on any changes.


Brent said...

To be honest, I'm not sure that in-between oxidation is all that uncommon. Most yancha, even some I would consider to be dark, that I've come across tends to be pretty green in color when unfurled after a few infusions.

"Darkness" in an oolong is a pretty complicated thing, resulting from the combined effects of pre-production oxidation, roasting, age, storage, etc. So this tea may be between the vague "light/green" and "dark" categories (though I haven't tried it myself), but I'm not sure it is only related to oxidation.

Anyway, just my two cents. I'll have to check out that Tie Luo Han, thanks for the suggestion!


Salsero said...

I remember DethChef was quite partial to this one. Your thoughts make it sound like something that could grow on you once you stop analyzing it and take it on its own terms ... or not. I see I have a tiny free sample they sent me with my Golden Buddha order a few months ago. I will give it a go later today and report back to you in Live Chat.

That Tie Luo Han sounds like a keeper, and I still need to get one of those cool Korean infusers like Brandon has.

Thanks again for sharing your thoughts.

Ecclenser said...

Sounds like you want it to be boring, but in fact, defies you.

I find higher grade Wuyi's to be interesting for the reasons you also stated, that the intriguing qualities continue to be expressed from cup to cup.

Indeed, these are lower oxidized, high roasted wulongs. I am new to oolongs, and found teas like Big red robe to be a great "middle of the road" wulong.

The roasted flavor also rung a bell with my taste for Hojicha.

Thanks for the review!