Tea Review: Nannuoshan Mei Zhan Black Tea

Nannuoshan Mei Zhan Hong Cha

This week’s tea, Nannuoshan Mei Zhan Hong Cha, is coming from Ya’an in Sichuan province and harvested in Spring 2016. It takes its name after its cultivar, Mei Zhan, which is mainly used to produce oolong tea until very recently.

The aromatic and floral smell of dry leaves is very promising. Dark black tea leaves are quite uniform in shape and slightly curly. They consist of both short and long leaves which are shiny in appearance.

I brewed it western style using about 3 grams of tea for a 150ml teapot. I let it sit in the water about 5 minutes which was a bit long considering the bitterness of the liquor. It cupped out between orange and yellow liquor with great clarity. The first thing that hit my palate was the smoky texture alongside with fruity tones. It’s sweet and smooth with some astringency. The aftertaste was short but it left a touch of smokiness in the mouth.

Because of the cultivar used to make this tea, Nannuoshan Mei Zhan Hong Cha has got characteristics of both a nice floral oolong and a strong/rich black tea. I’ve found it quite successful and it definitely satisfied my curiosity and palate.

Nannuoshan Mei Zhan Hong Cha Nannuoshan Mei Zhan Hong Cha Nannuoshan Mei Zhan Hong Cha

Tea Review: Eco Cha Teas Longan Charcoal Roasted Oolong Tea

Eco Cha Teas Longan Charcoal Roasted Oolong Tea

This week’s tea, Eco Cha Teas Longan Charcoal Roasted Oolong Tea, is coming from Shanlinxi, just above Lugu township which is located in Nantou county of Taiwan. Lugu is known for their Dong Ding oolongs and this week’s tea is a type of Dong Ding oolongs.

Dry leaves are composed of tightly-rolled ball shape tea leaves. They are uniform in shape and consist of mostly dark green whole tea leaves. Since it’s gone through an extensive roasting process (around 50 hours!), the smell of dry leaves is mostly associated with the prominent roasted character.

I used five grams of tea and brewed it Gongfu style. I went for 15 seconds for the first infusion following a quick rinse. The liquor was golden yellow with great clarity. The aroma is fantastic. The taste was quite smooth and sweet; no bitterness at all. It’s roasted masterfully which created very rich and complex taste profile. The aftertaste was very long and quite persistent.

I brewed it 30 seconds for the second infusion which produced much stronger tea alongside with darker liquor. The charcoal taste was much more dominant, both in the mouth and throat. There is also some smokiness, reminiscent of Lapsang Souchong tea. The smoky taste is very well-balanced. Although I’m not a great fan of smokiness in tea, I love it in this tea.

In total I’ve made five infusions; second and third being my favorite.  It’s a great tea particularly if you’re looking for traditional style highly roasted Taiwanese oolongs rather than more aromatic and greener oolongs. It’s really hard to find this kind of extensively roasted Taiwanese oolongs nowadays, so thanks to Eco Cha Teas for sourcing and sending this beautiful tea to us.

Eco Cha Teas Longan Charcoal Roasted Oolong Tea Eco Cha Teas Longan Charcoal Roasted Oolong Tea

 

Tea Review: White 2 Tea 2016 A&P Dianhong Black Tea

White 2 Tea Yunnan Dianhong Black Tea

 

This week’s tea, White 2 Tea Dianhong Black Tea,  is a very good representative of Dian Hong black teas. Dian Hong black tea (aka Yunnan Black Tea – Dian meaning Yunnan and Hong meaning red) is among top Chinese black teas.

It’s large leaf Puer material from Lincang area. This tea came with White 2 Tea Club June shipment and has been sitting in my tea cupboard since then. That’s because I just want to cling on to good things as long as possible. Since it’s pressed in 100-gram cakes, you’ll need a tea knife to uncompress the tea leaves.

Dry tea leaves are mostly dark black with some brown tones alongside with yellow tips. I brewed it western style using around 3 grams of tea. It cupped out beautiful red coppery liquor with great clarity. The taste is sweet, reminiscent of cacao and chocolate. There’s almost no astringency, yet just right amount of bitterness. It’s very forgiving as well, it does not feel bitter when over-steeped. The mouthfeel is quite smooth. The aftertaste is quite persistent and leaves a refreshing and sweet taste profile.

As someone who still drinks a lot of black tea, this tea is a definitely perfect match for my palate.  Recommended particularly for black tea lovers!

White 2 Tea Yunnan Dian Hong Black tea

White 2 Tea Yunnan Dian Hong Black tea White 2 Tea Yunnan Dian Hong Black tea White 2 Tea Yunnan Dian Hong Black tea

Tea Review: Yunnan Sourcing High Mountain ‘Gui Hua’ Osmanthus Dan Cong Oolong Tea

Yunnan Sourcing High Mountain 'Gui Hua' Osmanthus Dan Cong Oolong Tea

This week’s tea, Yunnan Sourcing High Mountain ‘Gui Hua’ Osmanthus Dan Cong Oolong Tea, was harvested in March 2016 from 100-year-old trees. Dry tea leaves are composed of mostly dark brown, slightly short and curly leaves. They are quite uniform in shape.

I brewed it Gongfu way using one of my Yixing teapots. Following a quick rinsing, I brewed it about 30 seconds for the first infusion. It cupped out golden yellow liquor with great clarity. It was quite soft and mellow considering its oxidation level. I was expecting much stronger liquor. It might be short infusion time, though. It’s quite sweet and creamy with almost no astringency. The second infusion is very strong and rich. It was much more astringent compared to the first one. It tasted quite fruity, particularly apricot, and floral. I liked it! The aftertaste was quite persistent and refreshing.

The second infusion is very strong and rich. It was much more astringent compared to the first one. It tasted quite fruity, particularly apricot, and floral. I liked it! The aftertaste was quite persistent and refreshing. The third infusion was quite similar to the second one. It’s still very strong and felt quite thick in the mouth, almost no sign of mellowness in the first infusion.

In the fourth infusion, it started to lose its touch but still quite enjoyable. I stopped in the fifth infusion before it got too watery.

Overall I quite enjoyed “Yunnan Sourcing High Mountain ‘Gui Hua’ Osmanthus Dan Cong Oolong Tea”, very good representation of high-quality Dan Cong Oolongs. Particularly recommended for Oolong aficionadas.

Yunnan Sourcing High Mountain 'Gui Hua' Osmanthus Dan Cong Oolong Tea Yunnan Sourcing High Mountain 'Gui Hua' Osmanthus Dan Cong Oolong Tea

Tea Time in Vienna: Cha No Ma Tea House

Since coffee and cafes serving coffee are so common and ingrained in the culture of Viennese people, it’s hard to find a dedicated tea house serving good quality tea in Vienna.  That’s said there are a handful of tea houses to quench your thirst for tea.

Cha No Ma is one of them, particularly if you’re looking for an authentic Japanese tea experience in Vienna. It’s located in the city center, just five minutes walk to Karlsplatz where you can visit magnificent Karlskirche.

The store is a bit small and it takes some time to be seated. It’s decorated really well, and we felt quite comfortable. They serve very good quality of all kinds of Japanese tea alongside with wide range of Japanese sweets including Matcha ice creams and Matcha tiramisu. While my wife tried their Matcha Latte, I went for Yame Gyokuro.

Matcha Latte
Matcha Latte
Yame Gyokuro
Yame Gyokuro

Yame Gyokuro was served in a gaiwan with a classic Japanese iron teapot for water. It was very sweet with almost no astringency. It’s very light and smooth tea. The aftertaste was not persistent but refreshing.

Since we liked the place so much, we paid another visit just before we left Vienna. This time we tried their traditional Matcha which was served in a gorgeous chawan.

In a nutshell, if you happen to be in Vienna, Cha No Ma is the right place to experience a true Japanese tea experience.


Matcha