What's the best tea you've ever tasted? This is one of the finest teas I've ever tasted, for my own palate.
来源：Austin Yoder 2013/12/28 发表于 The News Lens 关键评论网
Photo Credit: 陈镜 CHEN-CHING 翻译／红凯利
Today, we're going to go a little bit crazy.
We're going to go a little bit off the wall, and dive as deeply as we possibly can into reviewing, breaking down, and analyzing one single tea. This post is going to get very detailed – with maybe more information & tasting notes than you'd usually read through.
Who this post is for:
serious tea drinkers and tea enthusiasts who are interested in learning a process to taste teas deeply and systematically. It's for hardcore tea fans & wine appreciators who love getting into the nitty gritty of what they're drinking.
This is an in-depth tea review of Master Oolong Tea, from the Pure Hearts Seeking Tea Teahouse in Muzha, Taiwan. Every time we taste a tea seriously at Tearroir, we go through a systematic tasting process, breaking down each individual component of the tea.
Scoring Breakdown: Oolong Tea
Click here to read more about how we score our teas on a 100 point scale, the same way that people in the wine world score their wines.
Flavor / Mid Palate: 9
Mouthfeel / Finish: 10
Overall Effect: 9
Overall Score: 98
Master family has been making tea for three full generations, a fact which clearly shines through in all of his teas. He takes extreme pride in producing teas of only the highest quality, and keeping his prices relatively low by selling teas out of the first floor of his own home, the home he was born and raised in, to avoid fees for commercial real estate. He has been making teas for the past 15 years, and regularly judges at local tea competitions.
Master ran a printing shop for several years after graduating from college in Taiwan. One day he decided that he had had enough of the rat race, that the chemicals from his printing work were too harsh for his body, and that he wanted a simpler lifestyle. After he decided he wanted a change, he closed his business down inside of 24 hours, and moved back to the house he grew up in to start a business.
Gao Que is not only gifted in teamaking, he also produces a full range of artisanal drinking vinegars (the five-leaf pine vinegar almost made a local friend of mine cry from joy), and a fermented yellow bean tofu preserved in 100% pure alcohol, with the recipe fashioned after his own mother's tofu recipe.
Gao Que buys his leaves from plantations throughout Taiwan based on the product he wants to make. He has established relationships with tea plantations all over the island. After carefully choosing the best quality tea leaves from his plantation suppliers, he handles the rest of the process himself, occasionally employing the aid of his wife and two daughters.
Master Oolong tea is roasted quite heavily, because as Master says, that is precisely what the tea calls for. While examining the balled tea leaves pre-brew, you get a real sense for how much care went into his tea. It's color, size, spread, are all remarkably uniform.
The dark roasting prevents Oolong from appearing freshly picked like the more delicate Oolong teas from Lishan, Fushou Shan, Da Yu Ling, though it is both vibrant and pleasing to the eye.
The nose has hints of light honey, warm melon, tobacco, and spices. You can tell from a deep whiff that this is a serious, bold tea which won't apologize for its long roasting. The nose hints at multiple levels of flavor and depth, beginning to unfurl through the nostrils and into the sinus cavities. The heaviness you see in the leaves pre-brew definitely comes through on the nose, though you also begin to sense that this heavy tea is well balanced by the lighter flavor tones I mentioned above: light honey, and warm melon. It's truly a delight to smell, and when you smell from the underside of the lid instead of from your glass, you also pick up sweet tones of milky, sugary candy. I have not tasted many teas with a more interesting and complex nose than this, which prompted me to give it a full 10 / 10.
Flavor (Mid Palate)
Mid palate, this tea is extremely true to its nose. I initially tasted honey and spices, and was overtaken by heavier tones of sweet tobacco and smokiness. While roasted extensively, this darker Oolong manages to retain much of the delicacy you'd only traditionally get from an extremely green high mountain Oolong like a Lishan or Fushou Shan. Master informs that this heavier flavor is quite suited to coffee drinkers, and those tasters who prefer big, bold flavors. It's a tea that will be in your face without knocking on your arse. The Oolong, though it can (and ought to be) tasted in a concentrated, focused environment without any distraction, could equally be consumed while hard at work during the day. Writers, designers, and those with a job that involves a desk can all take respite in bold styling.
Mouthfeel & Finish
Mouthfeel and finish are where Oolong truly exceeded my expectations, standing as a testament to his upbringing in tea. This tea is an extremely full bodied tea, though it begins lightly on your tongue. It starts off small, concentrated, and expands like a balloon being slowly blown up inside of your mouth. It reaches its fingers out, and curls them slowly around the edges of your tongue, pushing up gently on the roof of your mouth, and crawling down the back of your throat like crawling under silk sheets on a hot summer day.
The finish is like a mellow energizer bunny – it kept going and going, but in a calming manner. As I was discussing the tea with David, I got multiple waves of beautiful finish. We would be talking
And suddenly out of nowhere, bam, the second, third, and fourth wave of mouthfeel would Surface up.
This tea stayed with me up to an hour after I finished the tasting, through errands and part of a Chinese class. Only skillfully produced teas prepared with good, soft, mineral water will stay with you for so long. I love it when teas do this, because I get to feel like I'm drinking the tea for twice as long as I sit down to taste it. If I taste for an hour, and the mouthfeel stays with me for an hour after I finish tasting the tea, that's two hours of beautiful Oolong-ness. Almost like a buy-one-get-one-free deal on mouthfeel.
Quality & Conclusion
The overall impression Master Oolong tea left on me was deep, long lasting, and overwhelmingly positive. I scored this tea 98 points, and have no trouble standing by that figure because of the tea's complex nose, mouthfeel, and finish. The leaves post brew were exceptionally springy, and uniformly complete. Very little stem-matter in the mix, so the vast majority of what you're drinking is pure tea. No broken leaves – they were all still fully formed, no particulate mixed in from unknown external sources, and it had an extremely clear finish on the aroma.
This is one of the finest teas I've ever tasted, for my own palate.
Question of the Day
What's the best tea you've ever tasted?
Sourse：Austin Yoder 2013/12/28 The News Lens
Photo Credit: CHEN-CHING 陈镜