Two Wuyi yancha

I often get offers of samples, ranging from friends who want me to try something, to companies that want me to taste teas and then write about them.  I often reject the latter, because I don’t have that much time drinking random samples, and also because a lot of them fall into the “butterscotch vanilla cucumber raspberry rooibos” category, of which I’m definitely not knowledgeable and cannot give any decent, encompassing review.

Once in a while, though, I get offers that I’ll take up. Recently, I was contacted by the folks who run this company called Vicony Teas, which I have never heard of but looks interesting enough. They seem to be a wholesaler of sorts, based in China, that deals in relatively large quantities. The website is not exactly the most user friendly, but then, if you’re in the market for kilos of teas, then you’re probably not going to be daunted by the trouble.

The teas I was sent were two Wuyi teas, which, from what I was told, they do not produce themselves. Since they’re located in the Huangshan area in Anhui province, they’re really in green tea country. The Wuyi teas are, therefore, sourced from somewhere else, and sold through them. The teas I got were a rougui (WYA53) and a shuixian (WYA21). I tried both twice – once as a standalone tasting, and once together in competition cups.

I first tried the rougui, using a pretty generous amount of leaves and my usual setup.

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The tea is actually quite nice – a little bitter, but otherwise potent and clean tasting. It’s not highly roasted – I’d call it a medium roast, with a decent amount of activity and fragrance. More importantly, you do get a bit of that “spice” taste that rougui is supposed to give you.

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The next day I tried the shuixian. Shuixian runs the gamut from really cheap crap to really high end, nice tasting tea. However, generally shuixian tend to be thinner/weaker than proper Wuyi teas of other types.  It’s not really the fault of the tea – just the way it is.

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This tea, however, came out a little worse in comparison with the rougui – I found it to contain more “off” flavours, especially sourness. It has a sour edge to it that the rougui does not have. It’s not bad in that it is too sour, but I suspect it got moist/damp at some point, and the sourness crept in. If I had to pick, I’d drink the rougui.

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Since they gave me enough tea for another tasting, I used my competition cups and tried them side by side. I think my initial feelings are largely confirmed – I like the rougui more, for its roundness and its fullness. The shuixian is more edgy, and not in a particularly good way. Both teas, you can tell, are among the better Wuyi teas out there – clean, nice fragrance, full mouthfull, etc, but one’s just better than the other.

So it was with some surprise that when I asked for the prices, it turned out that the shuixian is more expensive than the rougui. The rougui is at 180 USD/kg, and the shuixian at 220. At that point, the choice becomes pretty clear – if I want either, I’d take the rougui. The price is not outrageous – after all, you’re buying kilos, so the cost does get lower. If kept well, I’d imagine they will store well. You might want someone to split the order with you though, if you were to try to buy some.


Comments

Two Wuyi yancha — 6 Comments

  1. Hi Marshaln:

    Thank you so much for your reviews.

    Telling from the color of the infusion, I think you may use too much more amount of the tea and longer brewing time. The first infusion should be less than 10 seconds( the teas both stand up for at least 12 brewing) and the color of the infusion should be light amber like the picture showed here:
    http://www.viconyteas.com/wuyi-rock-tea/rou-gui-mty1.html

    We will send you the samples of our aged Wuyi Yancha( WYA72 and WYA46)or the other kinds if you like in the future.

    We have lowered the prices of the Yanchas recently. Any
    one interested can request the pricelist at wholesale@viconyteas.com

    Thanks again

    • Hi,

      Quite the contrary, I put your tea through infusions that are basically as short as possible. Yes, I use a lot of leaves, but if I don’t do that I can’t tell what’s wrong with your tea. Any tea can taste great with a low tea-to-water ratio.

      I would also suggest, since you solicited emails here, that if you can actually publish these prices, it will make for a better buying environment. There’s no reason why such prices have to be acquired only through direct email.

      • Hi Marshaln:

        Yes, I agree with you that any tea can taste great with a low tea-to-water ratio. I am not as experienced in tea tasting as you so if i say anything wrong, pls forgive me.

        The price of the Rougui WYA53 is now USD170/KG and the Shuixian WYA21 is USD215/KG. I haven’t listed the prices before just because i am afraid that people may miss the other kinds of teas they like and we have so many kinds there.

        • You folks are the professional, I’m merely the enthusiast, so our perspectives probably differ.

          Thanks for putting prices to the teas – I have always been an advocate for more transparency and clarity when it comes to tea sales, and welcome the move.

          And of course, thanks for the samples.

          • Thanks

            We wish you could try more of our teas in the future because we value the reviews from the connoisseurs such as you.

            And we also appprecate your efforts in promoting tea culture.

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