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2008 Aged Oolong

A classic aged oolong that is round in shape, with warm stone and old wood notes.  Its even roast applies a medium body, and its age gives a smooth and refined texture.

Notes of sandalwood, warm stone, and raisin.

Crafted after expert medium-roasting, this decade oolong is an exemplar of aged tea.  It has a profile that feels classic, sturdy, and diligent, as if the field work of harvesting were transferred as scent and taste into the leaves.  When I drink this tea I’m reminded of the old exposed beam tea houses in Jiu Fen, Taiwan, built into the mountainside.

A tea that is rightfully selected to be aged is one that has a textured feel in the mouth.  This oolong has a three-dimensional feel to it, while many aged oolongs I’ve sampled have a flat feeling that isn’t very interesting.  It is usually the texture that is preserved in the aging process, while the flavor will most assuredly change dramatically.

When drinking an aged tea you can sometimes peer backwards in time to get a glimpse of the original harvest.  With this tea, I think that the glimpse is first accessed through the notes raisin and old wood.  The earthy tones are like bright warm soil, not like the dark loam of ripe pu-erh.  This tea brews smoothly with no astringency.

Harvested in 2008 in Nantou County, Taiwan, this Four Seasons cultivar oolong (si ji chun) was rolled and its oxidation was fixed with a medium roast.  The tea was re-baked every 2-3 years depending on moisture.  

The resulting tea brews with an reddish brown color, medium body, and round texture.  I recommend brewing with 200 degree water for the first infusion which should be 2 minutes.  Subsequent infusions can be shorter or longer in time.  As always, experiment with brewing this very forgiving tea that has no astringency.

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