Another sample I picked up from Boston
This time it’s an aged foshou, supposedly from Shanshui tea, if I remembered correctly. Smelled very roasty when dry. And it smelled even more roasty when wet
The tea falls firmly into the “roasted aged oolong” category, with a prominent taste of roasted tea in the cup and some sweetness that is obviously derived from age. However, I wouldn’t say this one is overly complex. It is stuff that one can find quite easily in Taiwan, often passed off as 30 or even 40 years old, but are often much less than that. Their strong roast is sort of a style, but often, I think, it’s just a way for the tea maker to pretend like it’s really old when it’s not. I strongly believe that drinking stuff like this against another tea that is properly aged is a good way to educate oneself as to what is just a strongly roasted, somewhat aged tea, and what is a lightly roasted and aged tea…. the notes that they share, such as the fruity flavour or the sweetness of the tea, are what all aged oolongs sort of share. However, I still feel that the best aged oolongs are the ones where the roast is almost undetectable (either because it’s been so long, or it’s never been roasted very strongly to start with).
This isn’t to say teas like this is bad. In some ways, this is more enjoyable than yesterday’s tea, because at least here there isn’t that lingering sourness that can really detract from one’s enjoyment. Yet, it isn’t the best an aged oolong can offer.