Monday, June 16, 2014

2013 Ban Yan Wuyi Medium Roasted Qi Lan Rock Tea from

My next cha from JkTeaShop(JKTS) is one of their Wuyi Oolong offerings --- Ban Yan Wuyi Medium Roasted Qi Lan Rock Tea! (What a mouthful) I have been interested in wuyi oolongs for awhile and this is my first "real" wuyi rock tea. I think Ive tasted some low quality "wuyi" at some point but I don't recall enjoying or not enjoying it.

To be completely honest, I know very little about this tea or where it comes from. The extent of my knowledge is that wuyi oolongs are picked at high altitudes and they are grown in between rocks thus giving the tea a mineral/rock like flavor note. Fortunately, JKTS has great descriptions about their teas and here's what they have on their site: "Qi Lan tea variety is introduced and cultivated in Wuyi mountain in early 1990s from Nanping city, which is the border city of Wuyishan city. After over 15 year's cultivation in Wuyi mountain, plus the high Wuyi rock tea making skills, the Wuyi Qi Lan tea has its very unique aroma & taste from its original variety taste.

Wuyi Qi Lan is limited in production yield in Wuyi mountain. Its medium-roasted delivers better orchid aroma & slightly palm leaf aroma, and soft tea liquid. Its lingering aftertaste sweetness is very amazing and the overall mouth feeling is complex and changing as time goes by after sipping the tea.

All of our Wuyi rock tea is baked extremely slowly by charcoal, and only arrive in the market in August of every year. So the new Wuyi rock tea still has a little bit charcoal feeling in taste. As the tea breathe under the air, the charcoal aroma will disappear slowly and the tea's original taste and aroma will come out."

In the Wuyi category of tea, this Ban Yan is my first charcoal roasted cha. If its anything like the TGY I reviewed recently then I'm sure ill love it. On to the tasting notes!

As per usual, I took 5g of dry leaf and added it to my freshly heated gaiwan/houhin. The smell is roasted sweetness mixed with a very light floral scent. The floral smell is so light that I couldnt really pin point it until I read the description again. Next was a quick rinse and an immediate infusion for 30 seconds. The liquor is a medium darkness and still quite transparent. The body is medium thick and the flavor is lighter than expected. Im getting a very light sweet roast flavor that lingers on the pallet for sometime after you sip. Ive always read that Wuyi Oolongs have a mineral or "rock" taste. To be honest, I dont know what that tastes like and cant tell if its there or not. This is hard tea to describe... I know that I do like it. Second infusion was about 45 seconds and produced a similar color as the first infusion. The flavor is nice on this infusion. Im pretty much getting what the first was displaying amplified up a little more. Im really starting to enjoy these roasted teas at night. Its almost like a desert with the smooth roasted sweetness they give. I will say that roasted aged teas have a "better" sweetness but this one isnt bad.

I stopped taking notes after the second infusion because I was working on something and wasnt focusing on the tea. I believe I took the leaves to 5 or 6 infusions before I felt that the liquor was too thin and weak for me. The flavor for this cha didnt change, or at least I couldnt detect any, on the pallet like some complex teas are known for. It was certianly enjoyable and for a 50g bag its 8.80 and for a 100g bag its 16.80. Its pretty affordable for such a nice tea and it is my favorite Wuyi I got in my samples order from JkTeaShop. I think im starting to get the medium to high roasted teas and why they are popular. Its certianly a nice change from my Green Oolongs I tend to drink most of the time.  On to the next cha!

Pictures soon!