The weather has been very cold and I have been craving roasted Oolong. Friends came by and gave me Wuyi Cliff Tea and Roasted Tiequanyin. Besides that, I also drink Taiwan Wuyi.
Taiwan Wuyi is made in Taiwan with a Chinese Wuyi varietal. A friend of mine, Mr. Tsai, had his friend harvest the tea and Mr. Tsai finishes it by roasting it. I asked him if he knows the exact varietal of the tea, but he said he doesn't know. This Taiwan Wuyi tastes very different from the Chinese one. First of all, his friend uses the Baozhong making method to make the tea and Mr. Tsai will do a medium roast to finish the tea. When asked about the percentage of oxidation, he laughed and said:" I don't have a way to measure that. But if you really want to know, I will say it's 20 to 30 percent."
For a medium roasted tea, Mr. Tsai will start the roasting temperature at 100C and will finish roasting the tea at 120C; the roasting takes around 5 hours. In my previous tea roast post, I talked about how he changes the temperature when the roasting smell changes. That's something I have to learn in the near future.
Mr. Tsai has been in the tea business for 18 years. He processed tea for two years and then he couldn't keep up with that along with running a teahouse, so he quit making tea and just focused on running the teahouse.
I met him about 15 years ago. His teahouse is on a hill outside of Taipei. We started to talk about tea varietals and he told me that he has some tea plants on the hill across his teahouse, but that he hasn't gone to harvest it in at least 10 years. At the time, he said that the tea plants might be taller than me. I was so excited and asked him if we could go harvest the tea next time when I went there. He said that it would be difficult since no one had gone up there for 10 years and the road to go up there had disappeared. I told him that's even better and we can call them semi-wild tea plants!
Mr. Tsai told me that he will help me to find some tea that is made from the Shui Xian and Buddha's Hand varietals. I've tasted some Buddha's Hand tea and it had a very big mouth feel. I wonder how that Shui Xian will taste like since it's also made in Taiwan from a Chinese cutting.