vrijdag 19 oktober 2012

Sun Moon Lake Black Tea nr.18 (mr.Wang)

Me at Sun Moon Lake

I promised you all a review of the tea I drank in my last post so here it finaly is. Sunday evening I was hit by a campylobacter infection with a 40°C fever so I was taken to the hospital and stayed there till yesterday. I'm happy to be back in a good condition and to write this review. The tea I'm going to talk about was grown in the Sun Moon Lake area. I've been there once before - too bad my interest in tea still had to be lit that time.
I bought this tea at Mei Lan's and she told me it was grown by Mr. Wang. He works on a fairly small scale and uses a secret proces thaught from generation on generation. When I heard the word 'secret' my curiosity was striken! I like mysteries and secrets, who doesn't? I just love that little bit of romance in things, dreaming about what that mystery factor could be. When I told this to my mom she laughed and responded with: 'Maybe he just pees on it!'. Now hopefully he didn't (and I'm pretty sure!).
The cultivar this tea is made from is 'nr.18'. It is a hybrid between a native Taiwanese tea plant crossed with a Burma big leave cultivar. They also name this nr.18 as Brandy Oolong.

The dry smell of these leafs remind me of dried orange peel with some hints of chocolate on a base of dry aromatic wood. When they were heated up, the orange chocolate became really noticeable. The first brew was quite woody and smelled like a perfume. There were some hints of spices to be found. While making the second brew the scent of honey and parfum filled the air and found their way into my nostrills. Oh, heavenly! Smelling the brew it reminded me of lemoncake and in my mouth some funky (earthy) tastes revealed themselves with citrus notes bouncing around in my mouth. This tea is a little bit like jazz music!

Cooled down I could notice some malt sugar going on and in a later, long steeped brew the flavors suddenly changes into cauliflower! This might sound quite strange but it is rather pleasant actually - perhaps because I'm a big cauliflower lover. For me the only let down was the fairly short aftertaste that I really like in teas. The aftertaste was there but refused to linger for a long time - it seems this tea is fairly sensitive to which water is used because I remember last time when I used another water the tea felt more sweet and had a noticeable after taste. On the otherside, this tea was very well balanced and had lots of complexity.

The tea has a mixture of leaves varying from very tender, young buds to slightly older and rugger ones. All of them are slim and fully oxidized. I don't know when these leaves are harvested but I guess end of spring/beginning of the summer. My conclusion of this tea is that I need more experience with these red teas because I'm still unsure how to brew them correctly and as I don't use a scale it's difficult to estimate the amount I have to put in my gaiwan - with oolong tea I just cover the bottom. I refuse to use thermometers, scales etc... because tea is an escape of all those measurements and is all about feeling.

It's a lovely tea and I would love to drink it again, idealy with some teafriends in the evening with some jazz music! I'm curious to try more teas from Mr.Wang if I have the chance because he also has some different cultivars. My advice to you readers: buy some SML tea, invite some good friends and have a nice evening!

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