2003 Aged Oolong

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Oolong Tea
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From Eco-Cha Artisan Teas

Notes of earth, old wood, warm stone, and raisin.

Crafted after expert medium-roasting, this decade oolong is an exemplar of aged tea. It has a profile that feels classic, sturdy, and diligent, as if the field work of harvesting were transferred as scent and taste into the leaves. When I drink this tea I’m reminded of the old exposed beam tea houses in Jiu Fen, Taiwan, built into the mountainside.

A tea that is rightfully selected to be aged is one that has a textured feel in the mouth. This oolong has a three-dimensional feel to it, while many aged oolongs I’ve sampled have a flat feeling that isn’t very interesting. It is usually the texture that is preserved in the aging process, while the flavor will most assuredly change dramatically.

When drinking an aged tea you can sometimes peer backwards in time to get a glimpse of the original harvest. With this tea, I think that the glimpse is first accessed through the notes raisin and old wood. The earthy tones are like bright warm soil, not like the dark loam of ripe pu-erh. This tea brews smoothly with no astringency.

Harvested in 2003 in Nantou County, Taiwan, this oolong was rolled and its oxidation was fixed with a medium roast. After 11 years of careful aging, the tea was made available in 2014.

The resulting tea brews with an reddish brown color, medium body, and round texture. I recommend brewing with 200 degree water for the first infusion which should be 60 seconds. Subsequent infusions can be shorter or longer in time. As always, experiment with brewing this very forgiving tea that has no astringency.

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