Yangmei Wild Red Heart "Relic of the Sun" Oolong Tea - Winter 2021Taiwan Sourcing
This particular plantation gave us a strong impression last summer, so we could not resist the urge to come back again this winter. Since we had enough raw material to work with this time, it was possible for us to process a "traditional style" oolong instead of the Oriental Beauty we made this summer. The result is a completely different experience.
Our friend Mr. Chen has a way of finding all these abandoned plantations around the north-central part of Taiwan. This plantation grows another varietal that is nearly extinct in today's market. We are all very familiar with Qing Xin Oolong, which simply means "Green Heart Oolong." This varietal in this case is a cousin of the "Green Heart." Different not only due to its bud color, the Red Heart Oolong's sprouting time is also much earlier than the Green Heart. which indicates that it has a genetic makeup distinct from its sibling.
Once again, the processing method applied to "Aura Jade" was used on this newly made tea, resulting in a kind of oolong tea we had never tried before. It has the deep character of a rock tea (aka cliff tea), but bearing the delicacy of an elegant oolong. It might even be compared to the profile of a Tie Guanyin, though it is not quite the same. The flavor is very subtle, mostly felt in the aftertaste that floats up into the nose, a light and malty sweetness. The sweet liquor leaves a soft coat across the mouth, letting the flavor linger on long after your teapot has become cool.
To our surprise, the effect of this varietal is very similar to the Wu Yi "Overlord" when it comes to body interaction after being brewed, and that is not commonly observed in a oolong varietal. Rather than a stimulating or blissful effect, the "Relic of the Sun" is centering. A perfect companion when you need to have penetrating and steady focus for a task, whether at work or in morning meditation.
Harvest: Winter 2021 / 冬 貳零貳壹
Varietal: Red Heart Oolong / 紅心烏龍
Elevation: 300 M / 參佰 公尺
Region: Yangmei / 楊梅
Fermentation Level: 35% / 分之參拾伍
Roast Level: 0 / 無
Waiting for it!
Really enjoyable from the first sip. Smooth thick body and light flavor after a quick steep. Right away on the second steep you have the full effect of the variety and processing entwined. It keeps brewing dark and thick with boldness and and curiosity. I find myself enjoying it quite a bit more than I thought, as it steeps with increasing charm. Insight while brewing, walking the wet stone steps down an old alley in Taipei, a bit so obvious door beckons, leading to peaceful yet vital times in a tea room. Know what you’re looking for. Find it. Cherish it.
Yet another tea this old dog was afraid to even drink due to its scarce quantity. Like most of the plantations Mr. Chen is working with, this plantation (that revolutionized our entire tea processing this summer) also suffered from a significant reduction in yield. The price tag of this tea is a reflection of this condition. As the Red Heart Oolong varietal came back from the brink of extinction, every production from this plantation is a true blessing.