First Taste: Yan Ru

Today in the teahouse we tried another of the new yan cha, Yan Ru. As with our oolong tasting yesterday, Roy wasn't around, so we're winging it and want to emphasize that disclaimer!

Yan Ru is an interesting, ancient yan cha variety; the name translates (a bit awkwardly) as "cliff milk." Roy was excited to find this tea at a farm in Wu Yi Shan and blogged about it from China, noting its distinctive floral character. He's promised to share his impressions in the near future.

Meanwhile, we brewed Yan Ru in a gaiwan and found the aroma strikingly sweet and fruity, almost plum-like. It infuses to a rich amber color in the cup, with the orange tone that indicates a moderate level of oxidization and firing. On the palate you immediately notice sweetness and the creamy, mouth-coating vicosity that gives the tea its name. There's a distinct floral undernote, held in check by yan cha's signature mineral element. The steeped leaves are a deep olive green with pronounced red edges. In all, it's a complex and multidimensional oolong that offers much to be discovered through multiple infusions in an extended tasting session. Add Yan Ru to the list of uncommon 2009 oolongs that enhance your understanding of this fascinating category of tea.