zaterdag 24 november 2012

Wild Red Tea from Alishan

At first my apologies for not writing for such a long time, it's not that I haven't had time for tea but just no time/energy for writing reviews. The first time I tried this tea at Mei Lan's place I was astonished by it thick and sweet liquor. Today I decided to review this tea and even though I wasn't able to achieve the same level of sweetness- perhaps because my water isn't boiled in a tetsubin- I still enjoyed this tea thoroughly. One of the main reasons why I like these red teas so much is because of the looks. These twirled black leafs have this mysterious attraction on me for some reason and the last thing you would expect is that these burned looking leafs produce such sweet and lovely brews. The only problem I've found with these teas is that they are so sensitive to teaware, water and quantity. If you use a bit too much they might turn a bit bitter and if you use too less they fade quickly.

The dry smell is more floral than one could expect and it feels dry. This profile will change completely once this tea is heated up. My face was smacked with big dark flavors - this would be the stout of the teas with no doubt! There were raisins, malts and brown sugar. The first thing I said after sipping this tea was: dark sugar!
This time the flavors were less big than I remembered but still pleasant. I didn't get the same body thickness as at Mei Lan's place but received some more fruity flavors instead with just a bit of bitterness. The 4th steep was a long one and it turned out a bit more agressive and floral with now and then a hint of green grapes.

The leafs are of average size but they are tough and thick which is I assume one of the typical descriptions of a wild tea plant.
While my passion for these kind of teas is big, I still tend to struggle with the brewing proces. I'm not able to get consistent brews and lack the knowledge of steeping them in specific direction as I'm more capable of with rolled Taiwanese oolongs.
I still have a few red teas left to be reviewed so next posts will probably talk about these and make a nice comparison between different Taiwanese reds!
EDIT: Today (23/02/'13) I tried this tea again in my Mumyoi teapot and it turned out terrific! It was sweet and thick as in my memories at Mei Lan's place.

Wish you all a good weekend and see you next time. Underneath you can find a song of a Belgian band perfectly suited to drink with a cup of red tea.

1 opmerking:

  1. Each tea has it unique feature and characters, you need to practice and enjoy more. Learning how to tangle with each tea is really fun.
    Of course experience could make a difference, how to find a good balance between volume vs. termperature vs. time is pretty tricky. Additionally I believe the microorganism and PH level in water play an important role to the taste of tea.
    Mei Lan Hsiao
    Belgium Chinese Tea Arts Centre