Coming Soon: Four New Yan Cha

Roy brought four new Wu Yi yan cha by the teahouse for a taste this afternoon. He'll fire them this week, then they'll be available in our teahouses and online store. In a year when many favorite teas have disappointed due to terrible weather in the spring, 2010 yan cha stand out as unusual but delicious specimens, packed with great flavor and texture plus an uncommon honey-like sweetness that unexpectedly recalls their kinship with the renowned oolongs of Guangdong's Feng Huang Shan.

According to Roy, the pronounced differences between the 2010 and 2009 harvests are the result of the cold spring, which froze the plants' earliest leaves. The bushes essentially got off to a late start, yielding leaves that, at harvest time, are less mature and therefore have more youthful intensity than a typical yan cha crop.  

The selection includes a rich da hong pao with pronounced honey tones that lighten up this often weighty variety; a sweet and fruity bai ji guan; a prize-winning old bush shui xian with creamy texture and lush notes of honey, fruit, and flowers; and a yan ru that Roy thinks exceeds last year's popular edition. The unfired samples we tasted were tantalizing; Roy's firing will improve them by concentrating and refining flavor and aroma. Oolong lovers stay tuned: some of the best tea of 2010 is coming soon. We'll let you know as soon as these intriguing teas go on sale.