Heavy Roasted Tu Quy Oolong Tea from Lam Dong Province in Vietnam
Today I will be reviewing a Heavy Roasted Tu Quy Oolong Tea from the Lam Dong Province of Vietnam. I had previously completed a review of the standard Tu Quy Oolong, which you may read here.
As I had mentioned in a post yesterday, I have been experimenting with roasting various teas at home. The Tu Quy oolong sample was one of the teas selected for roasting experimentation. Altogether, this tea spent a toasty 90 minutes in the oven, with the temperature being increased gradually at specific time intervals. After roasting, the leaves were allowed a short time to cool (5 minutes), then placed in an airtight aluminum tea tin.
The previous review of the Tu Quy Oolong Tea resulted in a favorable review, so I am excited to see what characteristics will be affected by a heavy roast. The tea tin has been opened, and a remarkably sweet, inviting smell is immediately evident. Let the journey begin…
The dry leaves range in color from dark greenish-brown to very dark brown. The leaves are pressed in the semi-ball shape, with the average size being that of a black bean. The pluck should be three to four whole leaves intact with the stems. There are some leaves that have separated from the stems, but for the most part the leaves should be whole, with the remaining being large fragments. The leaves are very dense, with some being smooth and others rigid. The smell is incredibly sweet, with scents of brown sugar, sweet cream or butter, sweet wood, and vanilla.
Three grams of dry leaves were placed in a five ounce (150 ml) porcelain infusion cup. Purified water was heated to 205°F (96°C). The leaves were infused for 4:00 minutes.
My suggestion for at home preparation is to use three grams of dry leaves for every six to eight ounces (180 to 240 ml) of water to be used. Heat water to 195°F (90°C). Steep the leaves for 1:30 to 2:30 minutes. Expect four worthy infusions out of the same serving of leaves. Decrease steep time on the second infusion by 0:30 to 0:45 seconds, then increase by :30 seconds on subsequent infusions.
The first infusion produced a liquor with a bright, golden-yellow color, clear and transparent. The aroma has enticing scents of brown sugar, sweet cream or butter, baked apple, vanilla, and light orchid. The body is medium, with a clean, silky texture that becomes more creamy as the liquor cools. The taste has notes of baked apple, brown sugar, sweet cream or butter, honey, vanilla, and light orchid. The aftertaste carries the baked apple and orchid notes, and an impressive, lingering sweet floral essence is left on the breath.
The infused leaves have a uniform dark greenish-brown color. The leaves are mostly whole with stems intact, with some whole leaves detached from the stem, and some large fragments. The pluck is three to four leaves, with no visible buds. The leaves are long and broad, more closely resembling the TTES#12 (Jin Xuan) cultivar. The leaves have a leathery texture, yet tear quite easily. The smell has scents of sweet wood, brown sugar, forest floor, and light baked apple.
It seems that the heavy roasting of the Tu Quy Oolong brought out some very positive qualities that were not felt in the standard product. The baked apple, more powerful sweet cream, and vanilla qualities were not noted in the review of the standard Tu Quy. The roasted version is definitely sweeter, less vegetal, and has a remarkably clean, silky, and creamy texture. The leaves last an easy four infusions, with the fourth being lighter, but still enjoyable. I can say without any doubt that I prefer the heavily roasted version of the Tu Quy better than the standard. This result will certainly inspire me to continue experimentation with roasting.
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