Old Ways TeaEdit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
(2022 harvest) Light, greenish amber cast. Notes of oatmeal porridge, steamed wild herb, persimmon leaf, accompaning some expected yancha notes. Then quite a bit of floral quality in the mouth- magnolia flowers. Enveloping texture. Quite nice, and different.
This one tastes greener than most of Old Ways’ teas, with some interesting vegetable funkiness. Nice and thick and warming, with plenty of yan yun. Unlike some yancha, this is good in a thermos – when brewed for a long time it becomes very strong without being bitter. I recommend a snack first or it’s tough on the stomach, though.
Flavors: Eggplant, Gardenias, Mineral
I don’t remember much about this. A lighter, fruitier Rou Gui.
Roswell Strange’s note has more to offer than my impressions which have slipped into oblivion.
Flavors: Cacao, Charcoal, Drying, Fruit Tree Flowers, Marzipan, Mineral, Nuts, Oak, Peach, Pear, White Grapes
2021 harvest so 2 years rested.
Sharing a pot on an overcast, cold and breezy morning. Like a glass of heathery, smokey scotch for breakfast. It takes me places but also grounds me right here. This is an expertly smoked tea made with high quality leaf.
Flavors: Apple, Campfire, Cedar, Chamomile, Floral, Leather, Orchid, Peat, Pine, Scotch, Smoked, Wet Rocks
This past week, I had 4 different 2020 Old Ways Tea Rou Gui over 4 days and this was by far the standout!
My notes are an absolute mess probably because I was more with the tea than concerned about writing legibly.
Complex sweet aromatics, soft in the mouth, blooming vaporous aftertaste. Cooling mineral sweetness.
Warming and drying. Slowed breathing.
Refined, ethereal, silky.
Flavors: Cacao, Cannabis, Caramel, Charcoal, Cinnamon, Cream, Dark Bittersweet, Drying, Leather, Malt, Mineral, Osmanthus, Peach, Peppermint, Roasted Barley, Silky, Soft, Wet Wood, Wood
Spring 2020 harvest.
Dark, damp earthy aroma mixed with a darker milk chocolate.
Malty and juicy, bitter flowers like lavender. Catches in the throat on the way down and leaves a sweet mineral finish. Salivary glands tingle – salty. Peach and orchid bloom from the throat while a vaguely minty and fruity wild blueberry persists in the mouth. Floral bittersweet and woody bite is ubiquitous from 4th steep on.
It was nice but… but what? Maybe the throat catch turned me off a little? Am I sad that the spice notes of the rinsed leaf don’t come through in taste?
Flavors: Biting, Bittersweet, Blueberry, Charcoal, Cinnamon, Coffee, Compost, Dark Chocolate, Fennel, Forest Floor, Juicy, Lavender, Malt, Malty, Milk Chocolate, Mineral, Mint, Orchid, Peach, Salty, Spices, Stonefruit, Woody
2020 harvest freshly opened is smooth but for someone who likes to be shown strength in one or more facets, it is ultimately nothing memorable. I was hoping for more of a caffeinated yancha before heading into a mandatory work meeting tonight that starts in 12 minutes…
Flavors: Charcoal, Cream, Floral, Honeysuckle, Mineral, Peach, Plum, Roasted, Smooth, Spices, Sweet, Tangy, Wet Wood
Spring 2020 harvest.
So very green for an Wuyi oolong. The verdant leaf is visually cloaked by the roast and makes for a soft and deep floral bouquet aroma of gardenia a hint musty mixed with less pronounced darker notes of chocolate and cinnamon. I get the same in the mouth along with acidic forest floor, salty wet rocks, smooth malty suede, slight bitterness. Squash-like finish and bitter cacao aftertaste. The texture is somehow light yet full.
It all melds together pretty well but this tea’s energy was absolutely not jiving with my own. Initially the tea was very warming and relaxing but left me feeling cold over the course of the session. The sleep paralysis/lucid dream I experienced that night I attribute to the tea. The few times I’ve experienced sleep paralysis, it has started with a cold wind rushing over the ears with hurricane force and a complete lack of awareness of occupying an earthly vessel… It’s a very chilling and desolate experience.
Flavorwise, this was one of the better greenish yancha I’ve had. Ignoring the energetic effects, this tea is not inspiring for me; I tend to appreciate more oxidation and higher roast for yancha. Especially Qi Dan. I want warm woodiness with that lovely cinnamon note, not gardenias.
Flavors: Acidic, Biting, Cacao, Chocolate, Cinnamon, Compost, Dark Bittersweet, Drying, Floral, Forest Floor, Gardenias, Leather, Malt, Mineral, Nutty, Salt, Squash, Wet Rocks, Wet Wood
Meh tea. I got this tea from my OWT order a while back, and it’s not really that great in my opinion. Decent full leaves with a pretty black-brown colour, with a decent aroma in the dry and wet leaf. Liquor is decent as well, clear and vibrant-maroon. Flavour is not too bad, weak in some areas but does stand out quite a bit compared to other yanchas. Complexity is average, with little steep variability. Texture is average, smooth but nothing special. Finish & aftertaste is nothing special as well, with a slight yan yun expected from yanchas. Steep longevity is mediocre, lasting up to steep 7-8 despite brewing Wuyi style, and cha-qi is weak, almost unnoticeable.
Flavors: Acidic, Alkaline, Charcoal, Cinnamon, Nutty, Roasty, Spices, Toast
can’t find this on the OWT site anymore. Was $15.50 for the pack of apparently 10g? I didn’t measure the rest after the 6g, but it seemed more like an 8g pack.
6:90, 212. From 2019, but seems to retain a lot of roastiness? Not too happy with this one. Did 4 steeps and mugged it after. Started out sharp and almost bitter that moved into some sweetness on side of tongue. Not sure if my nose was desensitized from burning incense, but it didn’t seem too aromatic at all. subtly sweet and slight celery/mineral notes for rest. Didn’t sit well with my body for whatever reason today and felt some anxiety after.
remainder in yeti mug. 212. some sweetness, fruit, and mineral/celery taste. still didn’t sit well with my body again for whatever reason. Some anxious feeling, despite being noticeably more drinkable.
WOW this is sooo good. Free sample included in my recent order from OWT and I am very impressed. This is also referred to as “unsmoked LS” as it is using the same cultivar, but is not smoked as in the traditional LS (called “Li Shan Xiao Zhong”). I think I prefer this better than the LS I’ve tried before! Like drinking dark chocolate and citrus mmmmm.
The ONLY thing keeping this tea from a >95 rating is that the flavor seemed to drop off a good bit after 6th infusion. Still there, but definitely weakened faster than I would like.
Low astringency, no bitterness.
Harvest: Spring 2022.
Dry leaf: Fruity.
Wet leaf: Chocolate, malt.
Flavor: Chocolate, caramel, citrus.
Flavors: Caramel, Citrus, Dark Chocolate, Fruity, Malt, Sweet
This is my first time trying Shui Jin Gui, or Golden Water Turtle. However, to me, this tea is best described as “weak.” The smell of the dry leaf is wonderful, but the flavor of the liquor is a bit of a let down. It is certainly smooth, but with no mouthfeel, low astringency, and a very very mild flavor, even when brewed with boiling water and longer times.
Harvest: Spring 2021.
Dry leaf: Chocolate.
Wet leaf: Malt.
Flavor: Sweet, spice, smoke.
Flavors: Chocolate, Malt, Smoke, Spices, Sweet
Shui Xian, or Water Sprite, has surprised me with how flavorful and balanced it was. I was expecting it to be fairly intense and not to my liking, but I was proven wrong! Quite an enjoyable and relaxing drinking experience.
Full mouthfeel with medium astringency. Brewed lighter than other Wuyi from the start. Temps 190-200 F; times: flash – 25 sec. About 6-7 infusions.
I can definitely see repurchasing this tea come next autumn/winter.
Harvest: Spring 2021.
Dry leaf: Charcoal, fruity.
Wet leaf: Mushrooms, autumn leaf pile.
Flavor: Nuts, sugar, bitter, vanilla.
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Bittersweet, Charcoal, Fruity, Mushrooms, Nuts, Sugar, Vanilla
As part of my quest to better understand Wuyi oolongs, I am attempting to sample each of the Si Da Ming Cong. Bai Jiguan, or White Cockscomb, is the most uncommon and perhaps most unique of these cultivars, so I am glad that OWT stocks this tea.
Given that it is less oxidized than most other Wuyi, it has quite a distinct appearance, smell, and flavor profile. This tea also has undergone a lighter roast than most Wuyi. Mouthfeel is fairly full and astringency is medium low.
Harvest: Spring 2022.
Dry leaf: floral.
Wet leaf: nut, wet wood.
Flavor: nuts, cream, honey.
Flavors: Cream, Floral, Honey, Nuts, Wet Wood
A bit let down by this tea. I have heard that OWT is pretty good with Rou Gui. As this is my first time trying Rou Gui, I have nothing to compare to. However, it does not have the “classic” flavor profile for RG that I read about online. Furthermore, the tea is fairly bitter to my taste. Not much complexity to most of the infusions for me either. I might try brewing the other half of the 8g sample at a lower temperature. Perhaps this tea needs to breathe a bit? Might try the second half of the sample after 3-4 weeks of opening the pack.
For me, the smell is the best part of the tea.
Harvest: Spring 2020.
Dry leaf: Charcoal, fruity.
Wet leaf: Malt
Taste: Bitter, spice, woody.
Flavors: Bitter, Charcoal, Fruity, Malt, Spices, Woody
So after trying a DHP from TeaVivre and hating it, I thought there had to be something I was missing. I decided to give a DHP from a specialty shop a try and I can say that I think I now understand why people like it (and Wuyi oolongs in general) so much. It is very complex indeed, but perhaps not my style at the moment. I can see my tastes evolving to where I like this tea quite a bit at some point in the future. It is also seems well suited to colder temperatures of fall and winter. Definitely not over-roasted like the one from TeaVivre. High astringency. Mouthfeel is as if the tea is “blooming” with flavors while in your mouth. The flavors develop and leave a spicy, dry aftertaste that lasts quite a while. Very complex tea!
Harvest: Spring 2020
Dry leaf: Charcoal.
Wet leaf: Malt, wet earth.
Taste: Bitter → sweet, cacao, nutty, spice.
Flavors: Bittersweet, Cacao, Charcoal, Malt, Nutty, Spices, Wet Earth
Sipdown! (26 | 62)
The second Old Ways sample from my Tea Thoughts Galentine’s box! I really like how she included very small-sized tea this time around, that way I can easily sip them down in one or two cups, but still get to try fun new teas.
I admit, I was a bit worried about this one, as Old Ways’s description says “classic floral yancha”, and me and floral don’t always get along. However, to me, the floral presence here is very subtle, and not one of the main flavor notes. Mostly I taste a deliciously toasty yet mellow tea with those characteristic mineral notes I would expect from a yancha. Nothing about it is too strong or too weak, it’s so smooth and cozy but not overly roasted. I do pick up a touch of floral, but it’s not too much for me, and helps adds some lighter top notes. The end of the sip turns quite sweet, with a bit of honey, and almost reminds me a bit of a Taiwanese oxidized tea. And then the finish is actually a bit refreshing somehow, like green apple skins, leaving a clean taste on my tongue.
Tasty, tasty tea! Definitely looking forward to exploring some samplers from Old Ways sometime. :)
Flavors: Apple Skins, Autumn Leaf Pile, Clean, Clear, Dried Fruit, Floral, Honey, Mineral, Nutty, Roasted, Smooth, Spring Water, Sweet, Thick, Toasty, Woody
Sipdown! (23 | 59)
A small sample of this tea was included in the Tea Thoughts Galentine’s Day box I purchased. The foil package actually said “Zheng Shan” and the cultivar is listed on the website as Xiao Zhong, but they don’t refer to this tea as a Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong, and in fact they have a different tea with that name. Maybe someone better versed in Wuyi hongcha can explain the difference to me, ha ha.
Regardless, this does in fact taste similar to an unsmoked lapsang to me. It has a nice malty backbone, yet it’s not heavy and in fact tastes quite clear and clean. Then there are the somewhat tart fruity notes, perhaps plum or dried cherry. And to complete the trifecta, the finish is quite floral. I’m not good at identifying floral notes, I should really practice it. Orchid, maybe…? It’s the type of floral note that isn’t my favorite because it tastes a bit soapy to me. There’s a tiny bit of dark, unsweetened cocoa along with some burnt sugar notes in the background.
It’s a lovely tea, but not destined to be a favorite for me, just because of those floral notes that aren’t to my personal preference. Still fun to try though, and I enjoyed my cuppa! :)
Also, Old Ways has some fun-looking samplers at good prices, I might have to pick some up one of these days! :)
Flavors: Burnt Sugar, Caramelized Sugar, Cherry, Cocoa, Floral, Fruity, Grain, Hay, Malty, Musty, Orchid, Plum, Savory, Smooth, Spring Water, Stonefruit, Sweet, Tart