Vintage Gao Feng High Mountain Oolong Tea - 1990sTaiwan Sourcing
At Taiwan Sourcing, finding teas that could be both affordable and worthwhile has always been our main mission. To adhere to our mission statement it means we must reject the majority of teas while keeping only the most special teas to offer our customers. This aged Gao Feng is special because it's incredibly tasty, aged, and quite affordable as well!
After the official advent of High Mountain Oolong in the early part of the 1980s, which is just after the collapse of the export market for mass produced Taiwan oolongs, standard processing technique for oolong tea incorporated heavy/tight rolling (much like a Dong Ding Oolong). As a result, vintage oolong teas under 35 years old are almost universally heavily/tightly rolled, unlike what we observe in our "1976 oolong" (which is not tightly rolled).
Also, due to a much lighter oxidation processing practice that began in the 1980s, rolled vintage oolongs are typically re-roasted in order to get rid of the "sourness" caused by moisture present within the dry tea. Re-roasting is often a double-edged sword - if roasted too heavily, the tea will transform into an unpleasant burnt-like "fire taste" (火味), which was mistaken by a lot of people as the character of an old oolong. Whereas re-roasting too heavily is intrinsically not correct. A proper roast of old oolong should be able to maintain and sustain its original character without the appearance of "fire taste." On the other hand, if stored long-term without re-roasting the moisture content in the tightly rolled tea will cause further sourness and mustiness (and eventually spoilage).
This vintage "Gao Feng High Mountain Oolong" is the perfect balance of that roast and age. It should also be a very representative example of a correctly re-roasted aged oolong and and serves as a perfect introduction to the world of vintage tea. Taiwan Sourcing invites you to not just savor, but also to happily enjoy the wonder of time through this wonderful unique aged oolong!
Harvest: 1990s / 壹玖玖零年代
Varietal: Qing Xin Oolong / 青心烏龍
Elevation: 1700 M
Region: Gao Feng / 高峰
Oxidation Level: 35%
Roast Level: 5
Aging Potential: High
This is such a deeply aromatic tea. Dry leaf and wet. I sat with it for my afternoon delight (gongfucha). This is the kind of tea I love serving to people because of its unique profile. Most people I come across haven't heard of aging tea at all, let alone aging oolong. The first steep was nice and subtle with hints of flavors to come. As the tea steeped I noticed more potency than I expected, which was very welcome alongside the lovely roasted nuttiness. This is a special tea to share with fellow tea lovers. Definitely take your time and enjoy.
As an old dog that had numerous aged tea before, this tea could be the "threshold" of all the old tea. Due to its already extraordinary quality thanks to its high mountain environment and management, you are able to tell that this was an very good tea while it is still "fresh." Now thanks to the time and perfect roast that was just enough to get rid of the humidity, this aged tea is rich and clean for every tea lovers' palate. You may find a very tiny bit of sourness in it at the very first steep, but soon it will all transform into a special old tea character that is hard to find on other old tea. An old dog will make this old tea a special collection for himself!