Those of you who are familiar with oolong teas would know how precious Wuyi oolongs are. There are four famous Wuyi oolong teas: 1) Big Red Robe, 2) Iron Arahant, 3) Golden Water Tortoise and 4) White Cockscomb. I have been great fan of Big Red Robe so far, and always kept a box of it available at my cupboard all the time. Yet unfortunately I haven’t had the chance to try other three oolongs so far. This month Global Tea Hut have sent its subscribers a box of White Cockscomb Oolong Tea alongside with its magazine. So finally I’ve had the pleasure to sip this rare cliff tea from Wuyi.
White Cockscomb (aka Bai Ji Guan) is one of the Wuyi Shan strip style oolong teas. It consists of highly oxidized dark brown/black colored tea leaves. They are not roasted as much as Da Hong Pao. Dry tea leaves are comprised of long and intact leaves which is a good omen of a well produced oolong tea. They smell fruity and citrusy, more like lychee.
I brewed it gongfu style using one of my yixing teapots. Before making my first steep I rinsed tea leaves for a few seconds in order to get them ready for the first infusion. The liquor was dark orange in the first infusion. It’s definitely very complex tea, hard to get all the details. Taste is rounded in the mouth alongside with chocolate-like sweetness. It has a mild finish with sweet aftertaste. In total I’ve made five infusions starting with a minute and adding 15 seconds for each following infusion. If you like you can go for another one or two infusions easily.
- Region: Ming Jian, Nantou, Taiwan
- Year: Winter 2014
- Dry tea leaves: Tightly rolled tea balls
- Liquor: Golden yellow and crystal clear
- Brewing: Gongfu style using gaiwan
This is not first time I’m reviewing milky oolong (aka Jing Shuan) tea. I’ve tried one from Eco Cha Teas earlier and I’ve loved it. Generally I’m great fan of Taiwanese oolong teas and milky oolongs are among my favorites. Last month’s tea by Global Tea Hut is another great example of milky oolongs. It’s organically grown and unlike some milky oolongs it’s inherently milky, not artificially scented with steamed milk. It was produced by Mr. Xie Yuan Zhai who is a third generation farmer in Ming Jian, Nantou.
Jing Shuan oolong is a hybrid varietal (Tai Cha No. 12) that’s mainly grown at Mt. Zhu in central Taiwan. This cultivar is also referred as Golden Lily which is relatively new varietal developed in the 1980s. The leaves of this varietal are naturally sweet and milky which makes this tea stand out among other oolong teas.
Dry tea leaves are both light and dark green. They are semiball-rolled with attached stems. The aroma is very rich, mainly buttery and milky. The flavor is so sweet and milky as well, you’ll get enough of it. I used five grams of tea and it’s brewed more than five times easily.
To recap, it’s another great tea from Global Tea Hut particularly for those who really like lowly oxidized, greener and light oolong teas. It’s a very delicate tea with no astringency at all.
Country : Pinglin, Taiwan
Dry tea leaves: Ball-shaped tea leaves with nutty and floral aroma.
Liquor: Crystal clear, golden yellow liquor with floral and fruity aroma.
Another good oolong tea from Global Tea Hut. This month’s tea, Buddha’s Palm (aka Fo Shou), coming from Pinglin, Taiwan. It’s a ball-shaped, highly roasted oolong tea. It’s roasted and donated to Global Tea Hut by a tea master named Master Lü Li Zhen who is also featured in this month’s magazine by Global Tea Hut.
When you smell dry tea leaves you get the feeling that it’s gonna be a bitter tea due to aroma of tea leaves, however it’s quite contrary. The liquor is very sweet and floral alongside with its crystal clear appearance.
What is GABA tea ?
GABA tea is semi-oxidized tea which is mostly categorized as oolong tea because of varietals used to make it. However it can be easily categorized as a new type of tea. GABA (Gamma Amino Butyric Acid) is an amino acid which naturally exists in human body and works as neurotransmitter in the central nervous system. Actually all types of tea contain GABA; and you can mostly find it in green tas. GABA Tea is produced in a way that GABA amount in tea is maximized.
It’s been first discovered in Japan and recognized for its health benefits since. For a detailed understanding of GABA Tea health benefits check out the post by Peter Wescombe at Tching.
Tasting Notes for Peaceful Slumber
This month’s tea by Global Tea Hut is coming from Pinglin, Taiwan. It is an organic tea which is withered in vacuum-sealed bags. This one is striped style GABA tea compared to other tightly rolled ones.
Dry tea leaves are comprised of mostly black and somewhat golden leaves. It’s a complex tea with many subtle qualities. By the look of it you easily get that it’s a freshly picked and produced tea. The liquor is dark brown. It tastes so sweet beyond your expectation. No bitterness or astringency at all! Furthermore It’s very smooth to drink.
I’ve tried it at night time as it’s suggested to assess calming and relaxing effect of the tea. I must say it’s as relaxing and therapeutic as it’s argued in this month’s magazine. As soon as you take your sip you get why it’s called “Peaceful Slumber“.
Having subscribed to Global Tea Hut Magazine has been the best thing in my tea odyssey recently. I’ve had the chance to try new and exquisite teas and learnt a lot from their magazine. I highly recommend you to give it a shot and see it yourself!
Last week I was in Barcelona and I had the chance to visit Caj Chai Tea House. I met and had a nice conversation with Antonio over tea and his tea house. Antonio is a New Yorker who moved to Prague and then Barcelona and opened Caj Chai Tea House in 2004.
Caj Chai is located in Barri Gotic of Barcelona, very close to the Cathedral. It’s very comfortable and relaxing place for those who look for a great cup of tea following a tiring day of sightseeing in Barcelona. Caj means tea in Czech; Antonio pays his tribute to the days he spent in Prague by using Caj in the name of his tea house.
The first tea I tried was a Japanese oolong named Hanhakoucha from the cultivar of Musashikaori. My Japanese tea experience is limited with mostly green teas and some black teas. I’ve never tried Japanese oolong before, so when I saw it on the menu it was a quick decision. It was a very lightly oxidized, sweet oolong tea with floral and fruity notes. Not only I drank it there I also bought some for my tea cabinet as well. It’s one of the teas you want to keep in your cabinet for better tea experiences.
The second tea I tried was a Hong Cha from Yunnan which was produced using old tea tree leaves which generally allocated for Puerh tea production. It had a distinctive chocolaty taste with a little bit astringency.
Antonio served both teas with Shiboridashi which is a kind of Gaiwan made by Petr Novak whom I know just by reputation. He is a ceramist and a tea lover who lives in Czech Republic. The shiboridashi was not only aesthetic but also very functional. I couldn’t resist the temptation and I bought one and two matching cups for myself too!
And one last note for my nationals who happen to be longing for strong Turkish black tea in the streets of Barcelona, they can head to Caj Chai right now. Because Antonio serves Çaykur black tea as well!
In a nutshell, Caj Chai is ‘the’ tea house you have to visit in the city of Gaudi whether you’re new to tea or looking for something advanced. You’ll also get the chance to meet Antonio who is as welcoming and friendly as tea itself!
Region : Nantou, Taiwan
Leaf Appearance: Tightly rolled ball shaped tea leaves.
Steeping: Gongfu Style
Liquor: Both dark and light green tea leaves
Not many things are as therapeutic as highly aromatic Taiwanese oolong teas when it comes to get rid of daily stress of your life, it’s a way of meditation. I’ve been always great admirer of highly aromatic and fragrant nature of these teas. And milky oolongs are making their way up to my list recently. Previously I reviewed another milky oolong tea by Taiwan Tea Crafts which I liked very much. This week thanks to Eco Cha and Jaye (Cardiff in a Tea Cup) I’ve had a chance to try another milky oolong tea: Eco Cha Jin Xuan Oolong Tea. It’s this year’s spring tea and coming from Nantou, Taiwan. I went for Gongfu style brewing and used one of my Yixing teapots. I used approximately 6-7 grams of tea and water at 90 celsius degrees.
I steeped it 60 seconds for the first brew which produced very rich creamy and milk taste with vegetable notes. The liquor is between green and yellow. The second steep took 75 seconds; though it’s not as strong as first steep it’s still rich in terms of milkiness and creaminess. However I did not get any vegetable notes at this steep. With the third steep which was 90 seconds, it started to lose its aroma and flavor. I was willing to go for another steep and did brew it for two minutes for the last steep. The fourth steep produced a tad creamy liquor yet even at this stage you can still feel the freshness of tea leaves.
Recently I’m into Taiwanese oolong teas; I guess rich flavor and aroma is the main reason. Previously I’ve tried four oolong teas from Tea From Taiwan and they were nothing but exquisite. Having such a great experience with them I’ve decided to go with another tea company from Taiwan: Taiwan Tea Crafts. I’ve ordered Dong Ding oolong tea along with some Taiwanese black tea.
Dong Ding oolong tea is one of their lowly oxidized teas. Dry tea leaves are tiny rolled balls with mostly dark green leaves. When you smell them you can get a hint of creaminess.
Before first infusion I rinsed teas in order to get leaves ready for brewing. I’ve gone with Gongfu brewing and for first infusion I set my timer at 30 seconds. It was rich and sweet with a good body and thickness. Lingering aftertaste was very refreshing and something you wanna hold on to…Second brew was about 45 seconds and it was even better than first one both flavor and aroma-wise. Third brew was about a minute and that’s where I guess it reached the peak point. I made another three infusions, in total six, adding 20-30 seconds for each one. Starting with the fourth one it got lighter liquor-wise and weaker aroma and flavor-wise; yet quite satisfying.
Spent tea leaves are mostly whole leaves which is very good indication of good quality. Generally mature, wide leaves are used to make oolong teas but this one is different; smaller and younger tea leaves are used in this one.
Overall; it’s very nice, refreshing, sweet and rich everyday oolong tea by Taiwan Tea Crafts. If you’re looking for Taiwanese oolong teas, they are one of the right places to satisfy your thirstiness.