Roast: Medium-heavy charcoal roast
Source: Fujian province, Wuyi (supposedly the Zhengyan district)
This is a charcoal-roasted Wuyi oolong tea of the Rou Gui varietal, picked in April 2020 and roasted thereafter. Sold to us as being from the Zheng Yan ("Original Cliff") part of Wuyi Mountain, and although its traditional slow charcoal roast, thick flavor and aroma are impressive, given the affordable price, we remain skeptical.
We rested this tea for two years waiting for the roast to calm and the flavors to mature, and we are happy to say it's ready to release.
The traditional low-and-slow charcoal roasting process gives this tea a bright and deep orange color and a sweet toasted flavor that remains present across all infusions.
It has heady aromas of toasted grain, dried fruit, carob and kombu. Similar flavors of toasted cereals and tart dried fruit and carob and cassia as it cools, moving to mineral, grain and floral notes and more astringency in later steeps.
Long aftertaste that hits the back of the tongue, and it made this roasted oolong junkie's mouth water.
This Rou Gui was purchased by us in 2021 and aged in Seattle in sealed foil-lined bags.
Spring water brought out the best of the sweet aromas and flavors of this tea when brewed gongfu style at 7g to 120ml (1:17 ratio).
More about this tea
The name of the varietal of Camellia sinensis this tea is harvested from is called "Rou Gui", meaning "cassia" or "cinnamon", named for its aroma.
The Rou Gui mother bush was originally found near Shuilian Cave on Wuyi Mountain in the 1960s by the Tea Research Institute of Wuyi, who cloned the bush and helped place it into production. It has since become one of the most popular and common oolong varietals, with more than 30,000 acres in production.