2017 Winter High Infrared Roasted Hung Shui Oolong
Cultivar: Qingxin (ruanzhi) Oolong
Harvested by hand in November 2017
Origin: Shen Mu (1500 m), central Taiwan
Process: Rolled Oolong with a strong infrared roast
The dry leaves are dark and midsize. The dark orange brew has an excellent transparency. The wet leaves are hard, but they open up.
The dry smells are very fruity and ripe. They resemble Oriental Beauty or red tea more than roasted Oolong! The brew has a scent of guava paired with red fruits like cherries. The empty cup of the last brews smells of brown sugar.
In competition mode (3 grams for 6 minutes), the sweetness is so overwhelming that any bitter or astringent note there might be go unnoticed! The aftertaste is deep and long. And these leaves are very enduring. It's possible to brew them more often than regular Oolongs.
The infrared oven is a fairly recent innovation that aims to mimic the way charcoal roasts tea. The advantage for the producer is that it's easier to operate such an oven than real charcoal. This is examplified with this tea: it has been roasted pretty strongly, to the edge, but without any burnt flavors. This is what produces these very sweet, dark fruity flavors on very good high mountain Oolong leaves.
This tea is excellent now, and a very good candidate for aging in a porcelain jar.