I received this from the 2017 Regional Oolong Group Buy Put Together by LiquidProust.
I woke up early to finish proofing my sourdough cinnamon buns, and wanted a nice savory roasted oolong as a breakfast replacement, this seemed perfect.
The dry brick smells very pleasantly roasty, like roasted malt used in brewing beer. It weighs in at 11 grams so I cut it in half, though I wish I cut it into a thin “top and bottom” instead of just chopping it in two, I think that will leave more leaves intact next time. I brewed up the 5g half brick in my 200ml glass teapot with 190F water for 30 second infusions. Due to the compressed nature of this tea I gave it a 10 second rinse and left it to steam in the teapot for 10 minutes or so. The rinse had a great roasted peat moss aroma, and was a bit too weak to drink but carried the same lovely scotch like notes.
After steaming and resting the brick started to break apart nicely with a bit of a high pour from the kettle. The liquor from this infusion is a nice transparent copper with an aroma of squash blossoms, roasted edamame, and maybe a hint of miso. The Chinese origin of this oolong becomes clear upon the first sip with a bracing rock oolong flavor balanced masterfully by the smooth roast that brings both sweetness and umami. The tea is very clean with not much lingering flavor besides some roasty smoothness, it has the mouth-feel of a heavily clarified broth, this makes it quite refreshing despite its savory taste.
The second infusion steeps a shade redder than the copper first steep and the aroma picks up a notable mineral quality (I keep thinking copper but is it just the color?). The roast dies down slightly as the umami flavor takes center stage, it reminds me so much of roasted edamame I can almost taste the salt, and the rock oolong flavor is still there accented by the increased mineral note in the taste.
The third infusion is a similar color with the roast aroma dying off further and again increased mineral notes. This is the most balanced tasting infusion yet, I still get all the flavors from previous brews yet no individual flavor stands out over the others. I would say this is the “natural state” of the tea as it is now fully opened up and infusions 4-7 (~1.5L H2O) were very similar, getting weaker as the tea gives out more and more of itself in later brews.
This flavors in this tea remind me of Verdant’s DHP, but with a clarity and cleanness that is unique to this tea. You can tell it’s a rock oolong, but the bracing flavor does not overpower; it’s well roasted but maintains delicacy. It has a good bit of finer tea pieces but it does not brew up too strong or tannin heavy. This and the Gold Rose from YS are both wonderful examples of oolongs, while showcasing the flavors unique to Chinese oolongs in particular.
Flavors: Mineral, Peat Moss, Roasted, Salt, Scotch, Soybean, Squash Blossom