Friday, November 10, 2017

Hung Shui Oolong class

 Yesterday I gave another tea class to Antonio. Thanks to the cooler weather, we felt like brewing roasting Oolong! So, I set up 2 dark Chaxi for him and for me to match the mood of the teas.
 We're using porcelain gaiwans to brew all our tea(ching materials)! It's affordable, neutral to the aromas, stylish, easy to clean, requires skill to handle... In short, it's a great tool!
Hung Shui Dong Pian
 We start the lesson with some historical and technical background on Hung Shui Oolong. They are inspired by Wuyi Yan Cha and made popular thanks to the Dong Ding Oolong competition... And we start with my Hung Shui Dong Pian Oolong using SiJiChun leaves from Mingjian (January 2017 harvest). -By the way, this is now the 25 gr sample that I give FREE OF CHARGE for any 60 USD or more order on, excl. shipping -. 
 Antonio is facing me and we're brewing the same tea. I start and he tries to do it in a similar way as me. My brew opened up a little better than his, but he's making a lot of progress compared to our first lesson! We see below that the leaves are still green when they open up. The Hung Shui roasting is not supposed to be too strong. The lower the oxidation of the leaves, the finer their fragrances, the lighter the roast usually is. This one shows a nice balance of freshness and roast.
Hung Shui Dong Pian
 We then move to a roasted Wenshan Baozhong. The shape is very similar to that of a roasted Wuyi Yancha, the grandfather of all Oolong teas.
Roasted Wenshan Baozhong
 The color of the brew is an orange that looks slightly lighter, but the open leaves are still very green and unfolding well (see below). This shows that the roasting was lighter than for the SiJiChun. In this case, the roasting was done to preserve the freshness of the leaves for a longer time. And indeed, this tea is approximately 4 years old and doesn't feel old or not fresh at all, just a little bit more mellow due to its initial roasting. It also feels very different from the first tea, because it's made from qingxin oolong cultivar and comes from the Wenshan area.
Roasted Wenshan Baozhong
 We continued with my top Hung Shui Oolong from Alishan (spring 2016). Here we have an example of a Hung Shui Oolong with a more powerful roast. The duality of the dark, sweet malty roatsing notes and the fresh high mountain feel is simply amazing! It's no wonder that high mountain Oolongs win the Dong Ding Oolong competition these days... They are rich, complex, full of energy and feel like a warm scotch!
Top Hung Shui Oolong from Alishan
 We finished the class with an 18 years old aged Hung Shui Oolong. This time we discovered aromas that are only generated by time. The roasting is both gone and still there. The leaves haven't been re-roasted. It doesn't feel old, but aged. Puerh isn't the only tea that can be kept for a long time. Oolong may be more fragile (it's afraid of air and moisture), but its transformation is just as delicious!

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