I’ve reviewed this aged oolong before, from a sample generously provided by a tea friend from Boston. Today I am drinking another sample of the same tea provided generously by a tea friend from the San Fran area.
The first thing I noticed is that this tea isn’t as sour today, either dry or wet. There are many possibilities for this, but I think the most likely one is that the sample I tried in Boston is somewhat moist — contaminated by moisture, basically, while the one in SF is better kept. There was a little less leaves in the SF sample, so perhaps the sourness wasn’t as prominent, but I think it would still be obviously detectable should it be present. It was sort of there — but on just. It could be placebo because I might have been looking for it.
The tea is quite nice when not sour at all. I used a little less leaves this time, since the sample is a little smaller, and the tea delivered a steady stream of soft, sweet infusions that were pleasing to the mouth and hit the throat well enough. My fiance liked the tea a lot when it was past the initial few infusions of strong flavours and progressed into the sweet, mellow phase.
One of the things worth keeping in mind when brewing any aged oolong is not to give up too quickly when the tea seems to be fading. After the first five or six infusions I would often draw out the infusion time to minutes (or even half hours). By the end of that, you usually have a cup of very flavourful tea again, despite the appearance of weakness in colour. This is true for aged puerh too, when a tea could look really weak but actually still be full of flavour. That longevity is something I like a lot about things like this, and is something you don’t get with some other kinds of tea, which, when brewed out, is done.
My tea friend from Boston — you might need to think about how you store your tea, or, possibly, start drinking this stuff off?