Adventures in the court of Camellia Sinensis
1480 words

Oriental Beauty

Original description: https://www.caolytea.tw/products/東方美人茶1
Description on Teapedia: http://teapedia.org/en/Oriental_Beauty
Cultivar: Qing Xin Da Mao
Terroir: Beipu, Hsinchu County, Taiwan
Price per kg: NT$16000 (2100 PLN)

General info

Dongfang meiren (Chinese: 東方美人; literally: 'eastern beauty'), also known as "oriental beauty", "white-tip oolong" and "champagne oolong" is a heavily oxidized, non-roasted, tip-type oolong tea originating in Hsinchu County, Taiwan. It is an insect tea produced from leaves bitten by the tea jassid (Jacobiasca formosana), an insect that feeds on the tea plant. Terpenes (such as linalool and geraniol) are released in the bitten leaves, which creates a floral, fruity and honey-like taste.

The name Oriental Beauty is said to have originated in England. Legend has it that a British tea merchant presented this very tea to Queen Victoria, she highly praised this tea for its vivid golden red colored liquor and the mellow, sweet flavor. Only knowing that the tea was from the far East, she began calling this tea “Oriental Beauty”, which has been its common name ever since.

Preparation

Yixing teapot, traditional Gongfu Cha ceremony.
Temperature: 185°F (85°C)
Amount of tea: 3g
Time: 90/60/60s

Personal notes

This velvety tea transfers the lucky taster to the most beautiful Indian summer promenade one can imagine. White-brown-green-yellow leaves bring memories of an autumn park, sourdough and muscatel, only to open up and splash a rich palette of aromas, such as geranium, ripe fruits, honey, cherry jam, as well as woody and mineral notes. Long sweet finish will leave this pleasant sensation and be a comfort for the rest of the day.


Certified Organic "Emperor's Yellow" Yunnan Yellow Tea

Original description: https://yunnansourcing.com/products/certified-organic-emperors-yellow-yunnan-yellow-tea-spring-2017
Description on Steepster: https://steepster.com/teas/yunnan-sourcing/82608-certified-organic-emperors-yellow-yunnan-yellow-tea-star-spring-2017
Cultivar: 50% Yunkang #10, 50% Xue Ya #100
Terroir: Ma Wei Mountain, Yunnan, China
Price per kg: 260 USD (1000 PLN)

General info

Yellow tea is an increasingly rare and expensive variety of tea. The process for making yellow tea is similar to that of green but with an added step of encasing and steaming the tea. This allows the tea to oxidize at a slow rate for a brief period before the tea is heated fully to denature the oxidizing enzymes, producing a far more mellow taste than is found in most green teas; this also gives the leaves a slightly yellow coloring during the drying process. Yellow tea is often placed in the same category with green tea due to its light oxidation. One of the primary aims of making yellow tea is to remove the characteristic grassy smell of green tea.

Our Emperor's Yellow Tea is incredibly sweet and complex, with notes of flowers and sugarcane, with a oolong-like mouth-feel.

Preparation

Gongfu style, gaiwan
Temperature: 170°F (77°C)
Amount of tea: 3g
Time: 2/1.5/2 min

Personal notes

Gorgeous golden hairy buds with a delicate sweet aroma yields amber liquor of mild viscosity with a complex taste of slightly acid white flowers, biscuits and pollen, which reminds of both green and white tea. If you are offered a cup of this tea, consider it to be a sign of respect from your host.


Gyokuro Asahi

Original description: https://www.czajnikowy.com.pl/sklep-czajnikowy/herbata-czysta/herbata-zielona-herbata-czysta/herbata-zielona-japan-gyokuro-asahi/
Description on Teapedia: http://teapedia.org/en/Gyokuro ("Jade Dew")
Cultivar: Asahi
Terroir: Uji, Kyoto, Japan
Price per kg: 230 EUR (980 PLN)

General info

Although some sources claim that shaded growing was practiced as early as the beginning of the 17th century, the first Gyokuro tea was officially produced during Edo period (1603-1868) in 1835 in Uji, by Kahei Yamamoto. Gyokuro is the most precious tea produced in Japan processed entirely by hand, and meticulous care is taken at every stage of its production. The distinctive characteristic of this process is that the fields in which it is grown are shaded for three weeks before harvesting, so 80-95% of the sun's rays are blocked.

The purpose of shading is to filter the light, so that the tea tree, unable to fully carry out photosynthesis, releases more chlorophyll and amino acids and fewer tannins, into the leaves. In particular, L-theanine was discovered and isolated in 1949 in a gyokuro leaf, and is responsible for its unique savory (umami) flavor. While the exact effects of a combination of theanine with other constituents of gyokuro is still under research, it is believed to potentially reduce mental and physical stress, improve memory and boost mood and cognitive performance, so it's sometimes used as a nootropic.

Preparation

Kyusu teapot, "modern Kyusu" tasting
Temperature: 130°F (54°C)
Amount of tea: 1/3 of the teapot
Time: 50/40/40s

Personal notes

Remarkable dark green needles produce pale yellow-green smooth liquor with fresh umami flavor, grassy and slightly seaweed notes and sweet aftertaste with little to no astringency. Pro tip: after subsequent brews, eat the gyokuro leaves with ponzu sauce and a bit of toasted sesame seeds - delicious.


Phoenix Honey Orchid

Original description: https://jingtea.com/shop/phoenix-honey-orchid
Cultivar on Teapedia: http://teapedia.org/en/Mi_Lan_Xiang ("Honey Orchid Aroma")
Terroir: Phoenix Mountain, Guangdong, China
Price per kg: 260 GBP (1300 PLN)

General info

Originating from one of the main four tea growing regions of China, the southern province of Guangdong is renowned for its mountain terrain, mineral-rich rocky soil composition, hot climatic conditions and most importantly the unique 600-year-old cultivars. All of these factors contribute to this tea’s naturally honey like sweetness and velvety smooth floral notes of orchid.

The legend of Phoenix Mountain comes from the end of the Song Dynasty (960-1279). In this legend, a young Song Dynasty emperor and his officers were being chased by Mongolians attacking from the north. They were forced to travel for a long time and pass by this mountain range. The emperor was very thirsty, but had no water to drink. A phoenix flew over the emperor and dropped tea leaves and seeds in his hands. His servant instructed him to chew the leaves to stop his dehydration. The emperor ate the leaves and was refreshed. Believing that the eat leaves were a treasure from the gods sent by a legendary phoenix bird, they decided to name the region Phoenix Mountain in honor of the story involving this legendary bird.

"Our Phoenix Honey Orchid oolong tea from China's Guangdong Province is a seductive shade of orange blossom; with complex notes of orange, vanilla and honey. This oolong tea's fruity, honeyed flavour produced from elegantly long, twisted leaves is accentuated when pairing with savoury asian dishes like fried dim sum or fish with chilli and herbs. One of our most complex oolongs and yet wonderfully accessible - sure to convert all to the darker side of oolong teas"

Preparation

Yixing teapot, traditional Gongfu Cha ceremony.
Temperature: 190°F (88°C)
Amount of tea: 1/3 of the teapot
Time: 30/30/40/50/50s

Personal notes

Generous amber color, mercurial taste developing from floral and fruity/citrusy aromas to slightly honey and caramel, dark chocolate and finally walnut with long and pleasant finish and a touch of astringency.


Ali Shan Jin Xuan

Original description: https://www.czajownia.pl/pl/p/Ali-Shan-Jin-Xuan-Formosa-High-Grown-50g/467
Cultivar on Teapedia: http://teapedia.org/en/Jin_Xuan ("Golden Daylily")
Terroir: Alishan mountains, Taiwan
Price per kg: 400 EUR (1700 PLN)

General info

The leaves of Alishan Jin Xuan Oolong Tea are grown in the famous Ah-Li Mountains in Taiwan. At the elevation of 950 to 1000 meters, the mountainsides are covered with fog or clouds which are ideal for growing Oolong.

Jin Xuan (Chinese: 金萱; literally: 'Golden Daylily') is a variety of oolong tea developed in 1980. The tea is also known as #12 or as "Milk Oolong" (Nai Xiang). It originates from Taiwan. The taste is light, creamy, and flowery and sometimes compared to milk. This tea variety can be grown at higher altitudes, and the yield is about 20% higher compared to traditional tea varieties. These circumstances made it become one of the most popular varieties among tea farmers in Taiwan and Thailand. Contrary to myth, the flavoring of the leaves to accentuate their characteristic buttery taste is not obtained through steeping or steaming them in milk before roasting. Given that this quality is varietally endemic to the tea, the taste enhancement is simply produced by extra oxidization.

Jin Xuan cultivar is sometimes overlooked because most oolong tea drinkers are partial to Qing Xin varietal Alishan teas. Perhaps this is because Jin Xuan varietal teas are more rarely grown at high altitude environments (like Alishan). This Jin Xuan does not only came from a higher altitude part of Alishan, but also has a sense of "refinement" in its fruit bomb like aroma.

"Amazingly thick and soupy sweetness with a strong floral cream aroma and taste"
"It has a subtle natural milky aroma, mouthfeel and taste. Clean and fresh tasting, with sweet notes of wild flowers and vanilla"

Preparation

Yixing teapot, traditional Gongfu Cha ceremony.
Temperature: 190°F (88°C)
Amount of tea: 1/3 of the teapot
Time: 45/60/60s

Personal notes

Pale yellow-green color, creamy texture, amazing floral and sweet notes, sensation of a summer meadow, pleasant astringency. Second infusion yielded more green vegetal (green pea) and herbal (fennel) fragrance. Infused leaves surprise with a tomato cream aroma.