Oolong Update

Roy promises to have four of the new yan cha (oolongs from Wu Yi Shan) in the teahouse this month: Fo Shou (Buddha Palm), Bai Ji Guan (White Cock's Comb), Old Bush Shui Xian (Water Sprite), and Da Hong Pao (Big Red Robe). This is the first year we've offered Fo Shou and Da Hong Pao, and it's been several years since we've had Bai Ji Guan. Old Bush Shui Xian is a familiar favorite.

Roy's quick initial impressions:
  • Da Hong Pao: A "pretty fantastic" tea with a pleasing floral undertone
  • Bai Ji Guan: This uncommonly pale tea (both the leaf and in the cup) can sometimes have pale flavor as well, but this year outstanding growing conditions created a tea that's deliciously floral
  • Shui Xian: Seems very promising but requires further firing to reach its potential
  • Fo Shou: A very interesting, rather floral tea that also needs more firing to refine the taste and highlight its attributes

As you can tell, especially with oolongs, firing is a rare art that can make or break a good leaf. That's why Teamaster Roy Fong's personal touch makes all the difference with our tea. Other shops may sell teas with similar names, but often they were simply fired at the factory, assembly-line style - a process that generally guarantees mediocrity.

We'll keep you posted with further tasting notes and a heads-up when these teas go on sale. They'll also be in the spotlight in our next newsletter. A bit more long-term, the 2009 Monkey-Picked Tie Guan Yin will arrive in our warehouse in late July. Roy will fire it after he returns from China next month. 2009 is looking like a great year for oolong, and Roy will cover all of these outstanding new teas in his August 23 Oolong Tea Class. So get your yi xing teapots ready, oolong season is just around the corner!

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