June 30, 2010

Da Guan Taiwan Oolong Tea's

Times are tough for everyone these days and trying to find affordable yet good quality tea's can be a challenge. The "Da Guan" brand I had never tried before, or seen on the shelves anywhere previously. I bought a selection of these Da Guan Oolongs from a local Asian Market. All of the tea's in the Da Guan product line are from Taiwan. Besides what's shown in the photo above they also offer a Bai Hao Oolong and a Green Jasmine Tea. Ive also got the Bai Hao but Jasmine tea has never appealed to me.

These are all fairly good quality tea's that accurately represent their given category. Mind you they are not the cream of the crop (and the price reflects that) but....they are darned good tea's that I have been enjoying for some time now. So, sometimes it pays to do a little browsing at the local markets. Granted the majority of tea's at these markets are not very good, and some are just garbage. I don't always have to have the new Wuyi, Dan Cong or whatever from the elite online vendors to be happy, sometimes a darned good cup is just around the corner.

Those leaves don't look bad, do they? A nice, vibrant healthy green color. They come packaged in vacuum sealed bags inside the canister. I think most of them are 150 gm.s  This particular tea is the King Hsuan Oolong, which is very aromatic. Candy sweet with a touch of spice residing in the background. The Mt. A Li Oolong is also quite tasty. Rich with the veggie protein flavor and aroma and a touch of the floral and spice thing that you would expect from an A Li Oolong. The Bai Hao is also a good representation, not bud heavy but just enough in there to sweeten the cup.

You can see in the picture that this tea has viscosity, to me that's what Taiwan Oolong's are supposed to be, almost thick and slightly sticky. The price range on these tea's range from about $10.00 up to $30.00 for a 150 gm. tin. All four tins of the Da Guan tea's that I bought cost about $70.00 or so. And Ive got enough tea to last a while. Hou De's, Seven Cups, etc. Nope! Not this time.

June 10, 2010

Unknown Soldiers

Ive never had an unknown soldier that so intrigued me before. This tea was a gift from Petr Novak. If I remember correctly he had got this from a friend who had this tea specially made for his tea shop. What is really interesting about this tea is that it's the richest, most buttery sheng Ive ever had before. Tastes kinda like a very fruity (pears) and rich.Yiwu tea? It's very nice. Now, what is making me suspicious of this "sheng" is that there is not a trace of bitterness, not much in the way of aftertaste. There is a slight astringency in the aftertaste though. In both the flavor and the aroma there is a delicate woodsy aspect, the faintest hint of leather. Mostly, it's butter and fruit. Is this actually a puerh? I haven't the faintest idea. Whatever it is it's very enjoyable, and if it were possible, I'd buy some. The dry leaf is a little flat and thin, when infused the leaf is rather limp. I'd like to know what it could be. Petr, Thank you very much for this tea, it is delicious.

Note: Well, I found out what this tea is. It's a 2009 Ai Lao Shan Sheng and the maocha was gathered from trees that ranged between 100-140 years old. It really is the most buttery and syrup like sheng Ive ever had. Thanks Petr! The Shiboridashi & Cup Set in this post has become my favorite. I decided to keep this one for myself. It's particularly well suited to brewing Puerh or Roasted Oolongs because it's very thick and sturdy. It holds heat very well.