Topic: 2008 Oolong lower quality?

I was surfing madly on the web yesterday and noticed a post somewhere (can't for the life of me remember where, maybe a weblog) that Taiwan oolong is not as good this year as it was last year. I have noticed others say this too. In Wuyi Shan a few people said 2007 tea was much better than 2008. My friend who just went to Anxi to buy TGY for his shop said the tea just wasn't as good this year. When a vendor came up to the same friend's shop in Wenzhou he told me lots of growers in Anxi lost money this year. I seem to recall someone in Wuyi telling me too much rain during the picking season, but I can't recall.

Has anyone noticed this in the course of their tea drinking?
I haven't. But, it might be hard to notice unless you are a farmer or vendor. Otherwise, good tea might just seem a little more expensive. Or a similar priced tea slightly lower quality.
Does anyone remember specific reasons for the tea being lower quality this year?

红焙浅瓯新火活,龙团小碾斗晴窗

Re: 2008 Oolong lower quality?

I drink quite a bit of Taiwan Oolong and I think it,s just as good this year as last year or the year before. Now as for the Anxi, I have to admit I dont drink much of this kind of tea but the ones I have had were not very good. The vendors I bought from also said that there was too much rain this year and thats pretty much what the tea tastes like, too herbacious and green, not a lot of floral aromas going on there.


Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/wby/teadrunk.org/include/parser.php on line 737

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/wby/teadrunk.org/include/parser.php on line 791

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/wby/teadrunk.org/include/parser.php on line 791

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/wby/teadrunk.org/include/parser.php on line 791

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/wby/teadrunk.org/include/parser.php on line 791

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/wby/teadrunk.org/include/parser.php on line 791

Re: 2008 Oolong lower quality?

LaoChaGui wrote:

I was surfing madly on the web yesterday and noticed a post somewhere (can't for the life of me remember where, maybe a weblog) that Taiwan oolong is not as good this year as it was last year. I have noticed others say this too.
[...]
Does anyone remember specific reasons for the tea being lower quality this year?

maybe this post?
http://teamasters.blogspot.com/2008/06/ … ntain.html

If it's bad enough that a vendor is trying to steer people towards other types of teas, I'd say it's probably pretty bad. He does say that the lower elevation teas don't seem to be affected.

I thought I remembered Guang @ Hou De saying something about the spring '08 on his site or web log, but I checked and didn't find anything. He also mentioned the typhoon while he was visiting, which I'd imagine might not be good for the fall harvest.

Some other vendors I've talked to who sell Taiwanese high mountain teas (like Josh @ J-Tea in Eugene, and Shiuwen at Floating Leaves in Seattle) didn't seem to think spring '08 was that bad.


Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/wby/teadrunk.org/include/parser.php on line 737

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/wby/teadrunk.org/include/parser.php on line 791

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/wby/teadrunk.org/include/parser.php on line 791

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/wby/teadrunk.org/include/parser.php on line 791

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/wby/teadrunk.org/include/parser.php on line 791

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/wby/teadrunk.org/include/parser.php on line 791

4 (edited by ABx 2008-11-09 19:17:39)

Re: 2008 Oolong lower quality?

I may have been one of the people that you saw talking about not liking 2008 teas. I just haven't been able to find anything that has any amount of aroma or taste, with exception to some of the expensive stuff. When I mentioned just that to Guang and asked for a recommendation, his [only] response was to recommend the Harbor tea, which is a mix of a couple teas and generally appears to be very different (it's on my "next paycheck" list). I had also asked Stephane and got a response that it was indeed overly rainy. His response was that the excess rain makes tea "watery," which struck me as too easy of an answer (but upon reflection I do like to leave some room for oversimplification by non-native English speakers that don't necessarily "owe" me a detailed response). However I got another response that does shed some light on this (I want to refrain from citing my source because the info was obtained through a misunderstanding, but suffice it to say that this person is in more of a position to know these things than any vendor) -

Rainy season teas are known to make poorer quality teas which, apart from the inherent quality of the tea leaf, is also the result of overstrained processing facilities due to a very large harvest.

Re: 2008 Oolong lower quality?

I tried high mountain and Baozhong teas from many vendors, including all of the ones noted above, and definitely think that the Spring 08 season was not as good as the Spring 07 season.  Rain and temperature are the two main reasons, although processing/picking conditions/oxidation condition would have an effect as well.  I was in Taiwan for the Spring harvest and the farmers said it was too wet that season - but not as bad as winter 07 - resulting in a weaker-bodied and less aromatic brew compared to past seasons. 

Regarding the greenness of oolongs, the trend for certain teas, like Tieguanyin (or guanyinwang) and Baozhong are getting less oxidized and greener.  Due to this occurence, I find that tasting the base of the tea vs the flavor/aroma characteristics yields a better understanding of the quality of the tea.  There was a low-oxidized and green Dong Ding that I came across, for example that some expert tea drinkers said was too green.  It had a fairly sturdy base though, and after refiring, the tea was good - just what you'd expect from a solid Dong Ding oolong.

This season's Baozhong is out and I know that many farmers are working on their high mountain teas. I tried an advance shipment of Alishan tea from the Dinghu region and it was lackluster compared to what I know that farmer can produce.  Reportedly, he said his tea was good this season, but after the reviews went out to him, he reportedly admitted that once the weather settles, his best products would be produced.  It's getting to the tail end of the harvest and I haven't heard anything spectacular yet.  I will confirm when I arrive in Taiwan in 3 weeks.

I have been looking for a good Shanlinxi for over a year and have yet to find one that has the roundness, body and mouth feel that I enjoy. Last good one I had was a gift from a tea friend about 3 seasons ago. 

Shiuwen at Floating Leaves interviewed her Baozhong farmer for her blog and told me that the picking and processing has to be done at a certain temperature, otherwise the taste will be off.  I've tried his good stuff and his "off" stuff this season and the difference is pretty dramatic.  A condensed, translated version of the interview is on her blog.

Much of the oolong produced in the past few seasons hasn't been quite right for me, which has prompted me to drink a lot of aged tea.  Good aged oolong that I like is hard to find in the US and online, but decent puerh isn't quite as tough to find.  Now that it's cold and wet here, I like a malty, dark cooked caked, but that is a post for another section!


Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/wby/teadrunk.org/include/parser.php on line 737

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/wby/teadrunk.org/include/parser.php on line 791

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/wby/teadrunk.org/include/parser.php on line 791

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/wby/teadrunk.org/include/parser.php on line 791

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/wby/teadrunk.org/include/parser.php on line 791

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/wby/teadrunk.org/include/parser.php on line 791

Re: 2008 Oolong lower quality?

RTea wrote:

Shiuwen at Floating Leaves interviewed her Baozhong farmer for her blog and told me that the picking and processing has to be done at a certain temperature, otherwise the taste will be off.  I've tried his good stuff and his "off" stuff this season and the difference is pretty dramatic.  A condensed, translated version of the interview is on her blog.

Rich - this one, right?
http://floatingleavestea.blogspot.com/2 … -chen.html

BTW, welcome to Rich, who I met on my last trip to Seattle. Really glad to see you posting here!

Re: 2008 Oolong lower quality?

Hey Will, thanks a lot, I'm glad you found me online.

Yup, that's the post.  The info on "stirring green" is informative.  Just when the farmer knows to mix, how hard, how much, etc is really an art.

Re: 2008 Oolong lower quality?

I was speaking to Melody of zen8tea (on eBay) in Taiwan, and she too said to wait for next season for jade wulong. Floating Leaves' baozhong is one of the few that I really like from this year, though I'm sure the winter and the upcoming spring will be better. In the meantime I'm discovering more of the roasted ones. I picked up a 50% roasted Shanlinxi and a traditional roast Dong Ding from melody; hopefully they'll turn out to be good. It will be fun to revisit jade wulong next year (hopefully) as I really haven't had anything this year except for the baozhong and some Chinese stuff like TGY and Huang Jin Gui.

I thought that 07 was good, but that's when I really discovered them. It will be interesting to see how I like them when/if we get a really good season.

Re: 2008 Oolong lower quality?

ABx, do you like greener Baozhongs or the older-style ones that are a bit more oxidized?  The second-place at Floating Leaves is pretty good this season, very similar to past seasons.  Here's the interesting thing about Baozhong that I just learned though:  there are many winners in all categories except the grand prize level, which we probably don't ever get to buy because it's all spoken for even before the competition.  So, second-place Baozhongs will likely vary from vendor to vendor.

Jade oolongs are nice, I think it's also called Cui Yu and is a different varietal than what's used to make TGY, Dong Ding or high-mtn teas.

Roasted teas are great, glad you are starting to discover them!  I'm also learning more about them and enjoy the adventure of going "treasure-hunting" for good aged, charcoal-roasted teas.

10

Re: 2008 Oolong lower quality?

I actually like both, though I don't know if I would be into the roasted ones as much right now if this year's jades have been so poor. I first opened up to them with Stephane's 2005 Anxi TGY that was roasted in Taiwan, which prompted me to get a couple more roasted ones. Then I had a light roast TGY at a local tea house and picked some up because it seemed a little unique - I just figured out how to brew that one right this weekend and am amazed with it. I also just recently figured out how to brew the "traditional" light/medium roast Dong Ding with the same response.

One of the Baozhong I mentioned having actually is Floating Leaves' second place :) That one did impress me with it's very ethereal and delicate aroma. The other I have is Hou De's "Premium." It's not quite as good as FL's second place, but it's still nice. I also just recently picked up a couple ounces of last year's high grade from my local vendor in vacuum packs. Those are very nice as well (he only carries one from Taiwan, which is the jade Dong Ding in a few grades, but it's better than any of the Dong Ding I've gotten online). I also have a Huang Jin Gui from the same shop that is far better quality than anything I've had before, although I recently got a sample from Jing that I have yet to try for comparison.

I have some of Shan Shui's Cuiyu from last year. It is a nice one, if a bit simple. My understanding of it is that it's a lower elevation tea. I tend to reach for a jade TGY or the HJG mentioned above before the Cuiyu.

I also recently discovered Hou De's "Harbor Tea" which is simply outstanding. Each steep is like a different tea, and seems to satisfy a need for either jade or light roast wulong. In a couple days I will have a total of 9oz of it, and I'm considering getting more to make sure I have some on hand for some time to come :)

Re: 2008 Oolong lower quality?

I've been thinking about this recently and tried to observe leaves of oolong I had. I personally don't believe climate is a major factor. I believe good tea of bad year is always than a mediocre tea of a good year. I've heard (from drinkers, not farmers) more about bad/unstable dong ding oolong and high mountain oolong than other Taiwan oolong. I wonder if there are many people had "bad" jin xuan or jade oolong. In my personal experience, jin xuan is never bad and jade oolong I had was all good too. The dong ding oolong and high mountain oolong, may contain any of the 4 Taiwan oolong varieties (qing xin oolong, jin xuan , cui yu, si ji qing). In the dong ding oolong I disliked, I did find very large proportion (or even entirely) si ji chun. There may be some other factors as well. But the composition of a dong ding or high mountain, is definitely an important factor.

I will post some photos I took of Taiwan oolong spent leaves after brewing, and please share yours if you have some leaf photos. The spent leaves may tell you why a tea doesn't please you. Of course by the time of looking at spent leaves, it's kind of late :-p  since you already known it from drinking. But still, the leaves can tell us something and then we may not blame nature for its climate :-p

門前塵土三千丈,不到薰爐茗碗旁