maandag 8 juli 2013

Origin tea's Shan Lin Xi Yang Zi Wan A&B

Origin tea offers 2 teas from the same area though processed by a different teamaster and roaster. The A-sample seems to be the lightest, creamiest and most refined while the B-sample hits you in the face with it's brutal fruity flavours.
Lets start with the A, it's always the side with the biggest hits!

When I threw in the dry leafs in my warm gaiwan, an intense scent of sweet&creamy cookies with honey came waving by. After the first rinse, they seemed to have faint hints of butter.

The broth had a nice mouthfeel and an excellent balance between fruity and flowery flavours with a nice creamy texture. It had some more oxidation than the previous DYL or Lishan, which really brings out those fruity aspects.  The taste was rather straight forward but still complex enough to keep me interested. Whilst the aftertaste in the DYL/Lishan was extremely intense, this one seemed to feel a bit more 'dried down' and less perfumy. In later infusions it became lighter with a hint zesty citrus aroma. The last 1-2 cups of the session had brandy like qualities which reminds me of Hojo's deep fermented Dong Ding.

Taste wise; I like this tea more than the DYL/Lishan but if we would leave my personal preferences behind, it is clearly in a different quality range. For it's price, merely 12 euros/75g, it is a great tea and one that would be suitable for every day drinking.

The B-side... that's where the gems are to be found! The dry balls - I should really find a more elegant way of describing these- are small, one of the smallest I've seen so far. It seems that most leafs are seperated from their stems.

Once rinsed, it had a similar smell than the A, only it had a more deep fruitiness with hints of caramel. The brew itself gave a sweet malty fragnance remindng me of fresh bread and pineapple.

This one seemed to be quick picky on its leaf/water ratio. If you use too much, the fruity flavours will start to turn bitter - as the flesh of a peach around the stone, if brewed too light it won't give you that intense, juicy, mouth watering fruitiness reminding me of candy pineapple and mango. The A sample seemed to have more focus on the aftertaste, this one has a more interesting flavour profile but lacks the pungent aftertaste, it gradually builds up but stays subtle.

The leafs are tiny and tender with a visable edge of oxidation. I wonder what the reason would be between the difference of the leaf: is it the orientation of the farm? Soil? Harvest date? Different age of teatree?

The verdict: Both teas are great and they are a great example of how a teamaster/roaster can create a different character with teas from the same area with minor proces changes.
A seems to deliver a more 'gaoshan' palate: refined flowery flavours with a long finish.
B is more robustic and a stronger pronounced flavour profile. Both are great teas, teas I'm glad to have in my teacabinet!

dinsdag 2 juli 2013

Lishan Hua gang from Origintea

This tea from Lishan, grown at an even higher elevation than the previous DYL, didn't manage to blow me away but it did deliver a great session that I enjoyed from the beginning till the end. There seem to be a few stems but not nearly as many as with the DYL, the ball shapes also seem to vary from rather tiny to medium-big.
It seems to have a light to almost medium oxidation with a light roast that really brings out the fruity character.

I like gaoshan teas with a medium oxidation, bringing out those sweet,juicy fruity flavours. This one seems to find a nice balance between sweet fruitiness and flowery notes.

The smell reminds me of sweet biscuits with peach and high citrus notes, when it is dried down in the aroma cup it leaves a wonderful sugary pineapple smell. It starts off tasting slightly bitter like the flesh around the stone of a peach. When swallowed it seems to evaporate into a cooling haze of flowers.

The leafs are small but strong and thick, lasting for many brews - making it an equal opponent of the DYL! While its performance was outstanding and there was no major flaw to be found, it's favoured position in my teacabinet is getting endangered by another tea that has been lurking in the shadows to take it's righteous thrown.
Perhaps it might show itself in the next review?