Friday, January 14, 2011
2010 Winter Luanze Oolong 'Honey' roast from Zhu Shan
Cultivar: Luanze Oolong
Origin: Zhu Shan, Taiwan (on the way to Shan Lin Shi)
Elevation: 700 meters
Harvested by hand on November 10, 2010
Light to medium 16 hours continuous electric roast in a bamboo basket.
Below, I compare it to a slightly my spring 2010 'honey' Zhu Shan Oolong. Competition style brewing: 3 gr and 6 minutes in white porcelain.
The winter version is on the left and the spring version on the right.
Both cups show good clarity and few particles. The darker colour of the winter brew shows a little bit more concentration and roast.
The darker winter leaves come from a higher Zhu Shan plantation than this spring. The dry leaves look a little bit smaller because the stems have been removed. This has made the tea a little bit more fragrant, but, being a winter Oolong, this fragrance is less than in the flowery spring. It's more a sweet honey, fruity and very natural kind of scent.
However, what makes its winter character stand out is its mild and mellow 'honey' taste. It has a nice light balance between sweetness and freshness.
It's actually easy to brew. Very few defects appeared despite the long infusion time. And it has more durability than the spring version.
The spring leaves are lighter and a more yellow in color.
The scent is stronger, but the taste is lighter. There is some fruity sourness when the brew becomes cold.
These 2 Oolongs are at the middle of the road between fresh, unroasted Oolongs and Hung Shui Oolongs. Handpicked from small plantations in the natural setting of Zhu Shan, they are a good value for beginners and everyday Oolong drinkers.