China Fujian Cinnamon ‘Rou Gui’ Wuyi Rock Oolong from What-Cha

FujianCinnamon1Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  What-Cha

Tea Description:

Rou Gui has a great cinnamon taste combined with a thick texture and sweet taste.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I love Rou Gui and the reviews I’ve read for What-Chas have all be positive so I thought it was about time I bought some to try for myself. Usually, I like to do Gong Fu sessions with Rou Gui and I’m sure I’ll try this that way eventually, but when I showed this to my mom what she said was that it smelled like it’d be good cold; and since she so rarely weighs in on how I prepare the teas I share with her I decided to honor her suggestion and make my inaugural tasting a cold brew.

I have to say, this was definitely an interesting blend to me. One of the things I most like about drinking Rou Gui Gong Fu is the progression of flavours and drinking a cold brew with an extended six or seven hour steep time really makes that progression of flavour blur together. So, I tasted qualities I think I normally would have in the first few steeps of a Gong Fu session as well as ones I probably only would have noticed in the last few infusions.

FujianCinnamon2The most obvious taste was, of course, the sweet flavour of cinnamon. I find ‘cinnamon’ has such a varied flavour; it can be spicy like you’d find in Chai or very drying (have you ever done the cinnamon challenge?) or it can have this lovely pastry/baking sweetness. Of all the ways cinnamon can express itself, I definitely get the latter example here.

Other dominant flavours are honey, wood, leather, and floral notes. Maybe just a hint of cream as well. It’s a weird contrast between bold flavour notes and delicate ones too; the overall affect is a medium bodied, smooth tea with a very rich, thick mouthfeel and clean taste with a pleasant, lingering finish. One of the nice things about cold brewing this is that I got to skip the more ashy/char notes and biting astringency that usually accompany the first few infusions of a Rou Gui; but I still got leathery, wood notes! No additives are necessary. In fact, they’d probably detract from the taste more than anything else.

If there’s one thing I’d have liked to see which I didn’t it’s more of a fruity note – but maybe that’ll come out more when I inevitably Gong Fu this.

Hua Xiang Rougui Oolong Tea from Nan Nuo Shan

HuaXiangTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Nan Nuo Shan

Tea Description:

Mineral, slightly roasted, with clear floral hints. Hua Xiang Rougui is a well-balanced tea with a brisk, full and clean flavor.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Mmm … this Hua Xiang Rougui Oolong Tea from Nan Nuo Shan is so nice!  It’s one of those Oolong teas that I just want to curl up to and enjoy.  It’s one of those types of teas that make you feel all warm and fuzzy and cozy when you drink it.

I brewed this the way I’d brew most Oolongs:  in my gaiwan.  I heat the kettle to 180°F and let the tea steep for 15 seconds.  Then I strained the liquid and discarded it – this is called the rinse.  Need to awaken those leaves!  I resteeped the leaves, this time for 45 seconds and strained the liquid into my teacup.  For each subsequent infusion, I added 15 seconds.  My first cup is the combination of infusions 1 and 2, while my second cup is infusions 3 and 4 … you get the idea, right?

This first cup is warm and wonderful.  I taste notes of mineral and a sweet, roasted fruit note, reminiscent of what a roasted peach might taste like.  Notes of flower weave their way throughout the sip.  I taste a very subtle note of what I want to call cinnamon, although it’s not as warm/spicy as a cinnamon note would be.  This is a subdued cinnamon flavor that i’m tasting.

The second cup was even nicer than the first – with intense, sweet fruit notes that taste like the aforementioned roasted peach along with the sweetness of dried fruit.  Like the sweetness of a dried apricot and raisins.  The spice notes are still there – still warm yet subdued.  The mineral notes have softened somewhat.  This cup seems more intently focused on the delectable sweetness of the fruit.  The flavors were more intense but the overall cup was smoother.

With my third cup, I noticed the flavors starting to wane a little bit so I decided that I’d make this my last cup.  I’m tasting the mineral notes again, almost to the same level that I tasted them in the first cup.  It was kind of odd to me that I barely noticed them at all with the second cup but now they seem to be as pronounced as they were in the first cup.  Still sweet, still fruity, but with a little less of the dried fruit notes.  This time, I’m picking up on more floral flavors, notes of what I want to describe as gardenia with hints of orchid.  I’m even picking up on notes of honey!

A truly remarkable tea – this is one that you definitely want to take through the different infusions – because there are so many layers of flavor to be discovered.

Rougui Oolong Tea from White Two Tea

Rougui_OolongTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  White Two Tea

Tea Description:  

Rougui [cinnamon] yancha [rock tea] is an oolong tea from the Fujian province of China.

Our Rougui is fragrant and smoky with a mineral finish. It is considered a medium roast.

Learn more about this tea here.

Learn more about White Two Tea’s Tea Club Subscription here.

Taster’s Review:

I’ll admit that I have less experience with Rougui Oolong teas than I do with other Oolongs like TieGuanYin and AliShan.  But I still enjoy them!

And this Rougui Oolong from White Two Tea is lovely!

I brewed it the same way I brew other Oolongs – in my gaiwan!  I measured a bamboo scoop of leaf into the bowl of the gaiwan, and then I poured in water heated to 180°F.  I did a 15 second rinse, and then infused the leaves for 45 seconds.  With each subsequent infusion, I added 15 seconds.  My first cup is the combination of the first two infusions.

And the first cup is delightfully fragrant.  It’s pleasantly sweet with notes of fruit and flower.  It’s very flavorful.  Usually, the first cup tends to be the lightest flavored cup that I enjoy of an Oolong experience, and that may be true of this tea as well, but I like that there’s still plenty of flavor to be experienced!

Sweet!  Hints of smoke in the distance.  The wording of the description lead me to believe that this would be smokier than it is – but the smoke notes are faint – I like that!  Woodsy tones marry with notes of stone fruit.  I taste sweet notes of peach and plum with hints of sour at mid-sip.  I also taste hints of mineral and light spice notes in the background.  It’s a wonderfully complex cuppa!

And that was just the first cup!  The second cup is even more delightful!  The flavors have become smoother now.  The sip is smooth from start to finish with a mild astringency at the tail – a slightly dry note.  I also pick up on a slight citrus-y note toward the finish.

While I experienced a slight ‘sour’ note from the fruit tones in that first cup, I find that those notes seem to be tapering.  The fruit is still an abundant taste, but this cup focuses on the sweetness of the fruit and there is very little noticeable sour note.

This tea just seems to get lovelier and lovelier the more you infuse it!

The third cup was sweeter and smoother than the first two.  I can really taste peach notes now.  I am still tasting hints (wisps!) of smoke.  The spice notes seem to stand out for me in this cup, so it’s like I’m tasting peach and spice.  Nice!

A really lovely Oolong!  This is the first Oolong that I’ve tried from White Two Tea, and it’s been a wonderful experience!