Topic: What do you look for in a Wuyi?

I'm just curious as to what people think makes a good Wuyi tea?  And How does the new style heading towards less and less of a roast increase or decrease your like for Wuyi Yancha's?

I personally like a decent roast on the tea, as I find the less roasted they are the more harsh they become when brewed strongly.  And While I do like some of the floral notes that can be more prominent in the less roasted ones, I feel as though when I choose to brew a wuyi, I want a strong flavor, sometimes slightly sweet like a caramelized vegetable.  I must say probably the best wuyi I have ever had was from Hou De, though I am anxious to try many other places.


Also feel free to turn this into information on Wuyi Yancha's, as I searched for quite some time today and found relatively little information.

Re: What do you look for in a Wuyi?

I like more roasted generally, but I think balance is important (and maybe the type / method of roasting). Even after resting, some types of roasted teas just don't taste good - the burned rubber taste is too strong. It is hard (for me, at least) to tell the difference between a good roast and a bad one when the tea has been roasted fairly recently.

Oxidation is important too... that's where a lot of those sweet and / or fruit flavors come from.

I have a shui xian that I think is really phenomenal, but it's not a really aggressive roast. At the same time, it's enough of a roast. I haven't found too many teas that are like that, though.

Maybe it's time to organize some sort of Teadrunk yancha tasting... thoughts? I will be happy to contribute some samples of a few teas I think are interesting. I don't know what's the easiest way (logistically) to organize something like that. I was thinking about something like a box pass, only more centralized - people send in a certain # of grams of a particular tea, along with a prepaid label for the box's return, and get back samples of everyone's teas.

I swear this isn't a scam to steal everyone's good tea. :>

3 (edited by chrl42 2009-08-15 06:09:14)

Re: What do you look for in a Wuyi?

I am kinda skeptical about DHP, how does being grown on a rock make a better tea?

Won't it be the reason DHP is said to have a weak flavor, because rock lacks nuitrient compared to soil?

Otherwise, good Yancha really does seem to be good Yancha,

they are able to be brewed more, brewed leaf shows evenly green/brown, powerful but smooth, gravity with a lingering aroma

I personally like Yancha with a sweet finish. Some has, some doesn't,

I've seen in many asian tea communities, says sweetness of tea is due to amino acid, it appears as whiteness of leaf - such as An Ji Bai Cha, Bai Ji Guan and some mutant Puerh, opposite is polyphenol that appears to be blackness when being oxidated, bitter/astringent.

Also, I am kinda skeptical about Yan Yun (rock feel), of what procedure of producing makes Yanyun, and what doesn't?

I am also skeptical about good Yancha being too expensive :)

一杯一杯復一杯

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Re: What do you look for in a Wuyi?

chrl42 wrote:

I am kinda skeptical about DHP, how does being grown on a rock make a better tea?

Won't it be the reason DHP is said to have a weak flavor, because rock lacks nuitrient compared to soil?

Unless you're being sarcastic, I'm not sure I follow all of that. Yancha in general is famous for growing in the rocky soil in that area (and yes, the soil does, to some extent, affect the taste of the final tea), but if you're talking about the "original" Da Hong Pao bushes, since none of us can even hope to get access to tea from those bushes, it's kind of irrelevant to this discussion.  And even those bushes aren't growing literally in the rock, but rather in rocky soil. The other famous bushes also grow in the same area in the same types of soil, so I'm not quite understanding what you mean about DHP specifically.

[click for a really large version]
http://veggiechinese.net/teadrunk/TN_dhp_bushes.jpg

Of course plenty of yancha that's available (and sold as authentic) is plantation grown and isn't from the protected area. I do think that the processing of the tea affects the final taste as much or maybe more than whether or not it's grown in rocky soil, so if that's what you mean, then we are sort of in agreement.

As far as the cost, of course some of that is due to marketing and what not, but the fact of the matter is that there's only so much land and quite a bit of demand. Yes, a lot of what's for sale at high prices may not be worth it, but that doesn't mean you are likely to get good tasting, hand-produced tea that is from the scenic area at a low price. I have had good tasting yancha that's cheap, but I'm usually pretty sure it doesn't meet those other two criteria.


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Re: What do you look for in a Wuyi?

william wrote:

Unless you're being sarcastic, I'm not sure I follow all of that. Yancha in

No, I am not being sarcastic at all, just my problem of English.

No one believes a tea plant can grow on a rock, but those DHP mother bush, or what's called 2nd generation, 3rd generation, high price tends towards when soil contains more of rock component,

but my question is, how does rock components are on behalf of making tea taste better? :D or somethin like that..

一杯一杯復一杯

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Re: What do you look for in a Wuyi?

but my question is, how does rock components are on behalf of making tea taste better? :D or somethin like that..

Yeah - I definitely don't claim to be able to answer exactly how it changes the taste of the tea, but I do believe the soil has an effect. Think of it this way - let's say the rocky soil has fewer nutrients than normal dirt. It's possible that the tea will develop at a different pace than that grown in more fertile soil, and that may actually make the tea taste better rather than worse. I don't know that that's exactly what's happening with these teas -- it's just an example. I think you'd have to ask a farmer to find someone who really knows the effects different soils will have on the final tea - the tea merchants who claim to know are probably all just trying to sell tea.

This reminds me of the discussion on teachat about terroir recently - I am not saying that you can literally taste the minerals from the soil in the tea, but the type of soil does have an effect on how the plant grows, and it's not always true that more fertile soil is better. In France, there are quite famous grapes that grow in rocky soil that's mostly limestone. Whether or not you believe that you can actually taste the minerals from the limestone (and signs point to that being impossible), the rocky soil does change the way the grapes grow.

http://www.franceonyourown.com/2005CahorsVines.jpg


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Re: What do you look for in a Wuyi?

chrl42 wrote:

I am kinda skeptical about DHP, how does being grown on a rock make a better tea?

Also, I am kinda skeptical about Yan Yun (rock feel), of what procedure of producing makes Yanyun, and what doesn't?

I am also skeptical about good Yancha being too expensive :)

I concur :D
Or maybe I am not skeptical about Yan Yun, but wonder if different people talk about the same thing when they describe the Yan Yun they felt. After all tea tasting is very subjective. Besides, same thing could taste very much differently by different people, although this doesn't always happen.

There is even a saying that the da hong pao original trees (the 6 trees in above photo) are not the "authentic" trees, but were offered as "substitutes" by local people, with intention to protect the "authentic" dhp trees. I am very curious if this is true.

門前塵土三千丈,不到薰爐茗碗旁

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Re: What do you look for in a Wuyi?

william wrote:

Maybe it's time to organize some sort of Teadrunk yancha tasting... thoughts? I will be happy to contribute some samples of a few teas I think are interesting. I don't know what's the easiest way (logistically) to organize something like that. I was thinking about something like a box pass, only more centralized - people send in a certain # of grams of a particular tea, along with a prepaid label for the box's return, and get back samples of everyone's teas.

I swear this isn't a scam to steal everyone's good tea. :>

That's a good idea! Maybe a bit complicate to operate, but worth trying :D

I am using a extremely slow computer with dial up internet now. Teadrunk is one of the few webpages that still run almost normally on my computer. It's time to appreciate the simple style of this forum :D

門前塵土三千丈,不到薰爐茗碗旁

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Re: What do you look for in a Wuyi?

biloba wrote:

There is even a saying that the da hong pao original trees (the 6 trees in above photo) are not the "authentic" trees, but were offered as "substitutes" by local people, with intention to protect the "authentic" dhp trees. I am very curious if this is true.

Yes, I've read that too, and wouldn't be entirely surprised if they aren't the original bushes. But ultimately, there is a lot of tea grown in the rocky soil in that general area.

Re: What do you look for in a Wuyi?

How the difference the rocky soil always was explained to me is there are many more minerals leaching into the soil from the Rocks in the soil.  So these leaves have an extraordinarily high amount of minerals soaked up into their leaves, which we then get some out in the brewing process.

And as for Yan Yun,  I'm not entirely sure I've ever heard a good description or what that is, I have heard it translates into "Rock Feel"  in other places too, perhaps it is the effect of the minerals on the palate?

I only say this cause I've had water with very high Mineral contents, this one mostly calcium, with a bit of fluoride and it actually tasted like toothpaste.  So it definitely is possible to taste minerals.


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Re: What do you look for in a Wuyi?

AdamYusko wrote:

How the difference the rocky soil always was explained to me is there are many more minerals leaching into the soil from the Rocks in the soil.  So these leaves have an extraordinarily high amount of minerals soaked up into their leaves, which we then get some out in the brewing process.

I don't think it works exactly like that -- see the article I posted in that teachat thread:
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/06/style … ref=slogin

In other words, the type of soil definitely affects the way the tea tastes, but you are not actually directly getting more than trace amounts of the minerals in the soil.

Re: What do you look for in a Wuyi?

This is just speculation here, but as I was reading the article, it occurred to me that possibly rocky soil could change other things in how the tea develops.  The obvious possible more of a fight to live, but yet perhaps the rocks have a cooling effect on the area keeping the bushes at a lower temperature, or maybe the rocks reflect more light meaning the leaves absorb light from more angles.

Though that is purely speculation, surely those might have more of an effect on the taste than just some extra minerals in the leaves.


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Re: What do you look for in a Wuyi?

AdamYusko wrote:

This is just speculation here, but as I was reading the article, it occurred to me that possibly rocky soil could change other things in how the tea develops.  The obvious possible more of a fight to live, but yet perhaps the rocks have a cooling effect on the area keeping the bushes at a lower temperature, or maybe the rocks reflect more light meaning the leaves absorb light from more angles.

Though that is purely speculation, surely those might have more of an effect on the taste than just some extra minerals in the leaves.

Right... that's what I was trying to suggest (and what I think the authors of the NYT article were trying to suggest as well).

Re: What do you look for in a Wuyi?

Few days ago, I sat in Maliandao, sampling High Level Agricultural-Art Master, Chen Ying Lin's hand-made Yanchas..

One of them was pure DHP (2800rmb/500g), tasted like a stale Yancha, funny thing is aroma left on pitch and cup, 10-time brewing, never faded out

She was saying, mother DHP trees, species are different, I think I was drinking was Beidou of some sort..and said very few vendors offer pure DHP, collecting my memories, so-called pure DHP all seemed stale, weak aroma

I blame it on harsh rocky environment, I mean, everyone knows plant survive better on soil, then rock (I'm joking), anyway it's irony of tea industry, quoting ones who have drunk Jin Gua Gong Cha (oldest Puerh in history) when it was found in Forbidden City, it was like there hadn't any aroma left out, plus leaves were all young (mainly Yiwu)....

一杯一杯復一杯