Chinese vs Taiwan aged oolongs

One of the things I’ve learned from my intensive drinking of aged oolongs is that the Taiwanese and mainland oolongs age differently.

Broadly speaking, mainland oolongs, which tend to be most likely tieguanyin, are going to be sweet, very sweet, when aged. They are not often necessarily very fragrant when aged. The fragrance is often subdued, coming in the form of an intense aftertaste rather than an up front kind of way. The aftertaste though, when the tea itself is good, can be very strong and very long lasting. This might partly be because tieguanyin from some years ago tend to be better than the ones we drink now…

Taiwanese oolongs, on the other hand, tend to have very strong up front fragrance. This is especially true for the stuff that haven’t been reroasted, which tend to be more fragrant than others. They don’t, however, have that deep aftertaste that tend to come with the mainland stuff. This is a common complaint from my friends in Hong Kong who like to drink oolongs — that Taiwanese teas are shallower, and mainland teas are deeper. It’s not that obvious these days, I think, because there has been a gradual convergence in style, I think. You can really tell, however, with the older stuff — they are very different beasts.


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