This Aged Oolong (烏龍老茶) is a unique aged oolong from Taiwan. It has a roasted profile that is smooth, with warming, fruity notes. This tea is a collection of leaves of different cultivars and from different growers, mixed and aged by our Tea Master in Taiwan. This batch is from 2011 harvests, purchased by us in 2019 direct from the Tea Master. We also stock a Vintage 2001 Aged Oolong of the same provenance that had much more time to develop a very complex profile.
Aged oolong teas are somewhat rare as they are not fashionable and not many farmers produce them. However it is common practice in some tea producing families to save some batches of tea from each year’s harvest for ageing. This forms a kind of saving for the family that can be realised in times of need. In many cases, these teas do pass on as inheritance.
Aged oolong teas are also different to other aged teas, such as pu-erh and other dark teas. Other dark and pu-erh kind of teas are generally produced in a specific way from the outset to enable future ageing process. They are then left to age on their own, without any other labour input required. As long as the storage conditions are correct, this ageing process greatly improves the flavours and the value of these teas. Aged oolong teas however are initially produced the same way any other oolong tea would be. They are then left to age for a number of years. However in order to prevent the tea from spoiling, the teas have to undergo mixing and baking at least once a year. This can be a laborious process requiring great skill on part of the tea master. It is up to the tea master to judge correctly how the tea is developing and the required input to facilitate the ageing process correctly.
This particular Aged Oolong was made from lightly oxidised leaves of various cultivars collected from different tea growers. It has been mixed by our Tea Master in 2011. As with many aged oolongs due to mixed nature of the batch and the passing of time, we do not know the exact cultivars used as well as exact growing locations. This tea has then been aged and roasted over the years to create a rather complex liquor with dominating roasted notes.
The dry leaves are tightly rolled and have a dark appearance, the result of prolonged ageing and numerous baking procedures. The dry leaves have a distinct roasted aroma. If you are a fan of traditional ‘charcoal’ roasted oolong teas, this one will surely appeal to your taste buds. The clear amber liquor produced has good clarity and brightness with a sweet, roasted aroma. The subtle, smooth profile of this tea develops roasted and fruity notes and a warming character. The main flavours definitely have a roasted, charcoal, campfire edge. The aftertaste is clean, with tangy and lightly metallic top notes. We also think that this tea would age even further quite nicely, with the roasted flavours evening out with time and giving way to other more subtle flavours.
We suggest brewing at 90°C for 3-4 minutes according to your taste and brewing multiple times.