In a couple of recent posts I’ve shared my thoughts on different wulong teas, because I haven’t spent much time discussing them on the blog. This has inspired me to sample a wider variety of wulong teas in order to continue learning about the feelings and flavors of different styles.
Just at the time I was feeling this way, there was a stroke of good fortune. Someone named Phil, the owner of a small tea shop that sources wuyi wulong teas called Old Ways Tea read my blog, and decided to send me along some free samples. I was thankful for his generosity, and therefore thought it would be fun to sample some of his family’s tea and discuss it on the blog.
The kind of tea that I first sampled is a newer varietal of tea called Huang Guan Yin (黄观音). It was developed by the Fujian Tea Research Center sometime during the mid – late 1990’s, and was created by crossing Tieguanyin and Huang Jin Gui varietal plants. Despite not being a varietal traditionally grown in Fujian’s Wuyi Mountain area, it is now processed using the same methods and in the same region.
The dry leaves of the Huang Guan Yin are very aromatic, and had a roasted charcoal aroma with slightly sweet and fruity components. My impression after drinking the first few infusions was that this tea had a higher degree of roasting. Unlike the Qilan Wuyi Wulong from my last post, this tea had more of a rich and fiery charcoal flavor rather than a subdued and woody flavor. It was interesting however, because there was a lingering floral fragrance that lasted throughout the first 5 infusions or so. This floral quality was somewhat similar to the floral flavor in the Qilan. The mouthfeel of the tea had a very strong, gritty, and dry mineral texture. I’m writing this review roughly half an hour after finishing the session, and my mouth still feels slightly dry from that classic ‘rock taste’ (岩味 or yan wei in Chinese).
After the first 5 or so infusions the rich soup changed and faded into having mellower and sweeter mineral like qualities. Although the strong flavor had faded out, the mouthfeel and aftertaste still lingered after the session was complete.
Overall this tea was rich, complex, left no bad feelings in the body, and was generally enjoyable. I’ve never tried Huang Guan Yin wulong before, but my impression is that this particular sample is of decent quality and I would drink it again. Because I have no other sources of Huang Guan Yin at the moment, I can’t evaluate this teas quality compared to other productions of the same varietal.
Phil did send me additional samples of Da Hong Pao and Rou Gui wulongs. I have other productions of teas that are of these same varietals, so I may write some blog posts comparing these teas at some point in the future.