I dug through my quickly growing selection of samples and picked out this neat OBSX oolong from White2Tea. I received this as a sample from the ever-knowledgeable TwoDog, of http://www.twodogteablog.com/ and http://www.white2tea.com/.
TwoDog is quite the mysterious person, according to the other tea blogs I’ve read. He has appeared on a few blogs out there, but his face is covered in all of the photos I’ve seen. Suspicious! Perhaps he is secretly a famous actor or something. My bet is that TwoDog is actually Brad Pitt or Johnny Depp. Or perhaps this explains what actually happened to 2Pac. He gave up the life of being a rap musician in order to write about tea and help people on reddit. 2Pac, 2Dog…it all makes sense.
Anyways, on to the tea.
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I was quite puzzled by the name “OBSX,” until I looked on White2Tea’s website and discovered that it was an acronym for Old Bush Shui Xian. That was good news, since I’m a big fan of shui xian style oolongs. I drink a lot of shui xian oolong, but this is the first time I’ve ever tried the “fancy stuff.”
Shui xian meats “narcissus,” referring to the flower that is often used in Greek mythology. I’m not sure what the connection is between narcissus and Chinese culture, but perhaps a reader out there can inform us.
This shui xian, like almost all shui xian style oolongs, comes from the Wuyi Mountains in northern Fujian Province, China.
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Here is Fujian Province, in case you were wondering. I bet you weren’t expecting a Chinese geography lesson.
This was quite a generous sample. The bag was packed full of leaves. It was actually 14g, so it looks like TwoDog was a bit heavy handed on the samples. I appreciate that! I used just shy of 9g for this taste test. I kept the rest for some grandpa style brewing later in the week.
Whoa, these leaves are huge! They were long and thin, and super light. The 8.9g of dry leaves filled my rather large gaiwan all the way to the top. These leaves are very dark brown, perhaps even black.
Once I smelled these leaves, I knew I was in for a treat. The most notable smell is probably the roasted aroma that the leaves give off. They do not smell overly roasted at all. I would call this a medium roasted yancha, which is also how TwoDog describes this tea on his site. There is a very nice fruity aroma present, perhaps more on the dried fruit side of things. It’s very woody and sweet smelling as well.
I used a standard gaiwan for this sample. Kinda boring, yet again. I should definitely switch up my teaware selections a bit more.
I gave this tea a quick one second rinse, and then moved on to the first steep.
This first steep came out a lovely orange-red copper color.
This tastes so complex and interesting that I honestly don’t know how to describe it. This shui xian is on a whole other level compared to other shui xians I have tasted. The sweet mineral taste that most yanchas have is certainly present, but the flavor is a lot more complex with this tea. There is a very strong floral note that I have never tasted in a shui xian yancha before. The fruity, woody taste is very strong and pleasant as well. I also taste a sort of roasted grain or bread kind of thing going on. I notice that flavor in a lot of yanchas, so maybe that is just how my palate works.
I also got the sense that this tea is a lot less roasted than most shui xians I’ve had. Although this shui xian is definitely roasted, it is not overly so. Many shui xians are very heavily roasted, presumably to cover up the taste of cheaper teas. These shui xian style teas are still enjoyable, but definitely more one-note that White2Tea’s offering.
The aroma was even more intriguing. This tea smells so much like cinnamon. This tea seriously smells like Big Red chewing gum. I haven’t seen any other reviews mention this aroma, so perhaps it is just the way this tea interacts with my particular senses. But for me, the cinnamon smell was so strong and obvious!
By the third and fourth steep, the tea calmed down a bit. The strong spice flavors have died down and tea has settled into a pleasant fruity and mineral taste. The sweetness is definitely more present, and the tea leaves a very sweet aftertaste with no dryness.
The spicy flavors returned for a bit of an encore in the sixth steep, completely out of nowhere.
To be honest, I kind of forgot to get a good finished leaf photo for this tea. Oh well, at least here you can see the leaves inside of my gaiwan. This was towards the end of the session, so the leaves were pretty finished by this point. The leaves were very large and leathery, and did not really expand much from their dried state.
This tea is without a doubt the best shui xian yancha I have tasted. I enjoyed this sample a lot. However, tea like this certainly comes at a price. At $35 for 50 grams, I don’t think tea will become a regular fixture for me. But I really could not say anything bad about this tea. It is definitely worth a shot if you are into this style of teas.
In short, this is a really superb oolong. If you are a bit less price sensitive than I am (college student!), I would highly recommend purchasing this tea.