Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Tea Cupping - White2Tea Rougui Oolong

Please click the video above for my favorite fall "feeling" song. Its worth it, I promise.
Happy fall everyone! Today I am going to be taking a look at another offering from Paul at White2Tea; Rougui Yancha! Recently I did a review of the imfamous White Whale puerh brick from Paul and along with my order he snuck in a few samples of other tea that he offers to try. Being the "OolongChaser" I was pleased to see a oolong sample of a tea I have never had. 
Dry Leaf!

To get into it, Yancha is the same as Wuyi oolong, confusing I know. Wuyi refers to the mountains where the tea is grown and yancha refers to the overall class/style of oolong. As I understand it, Yancha encompasses DaHongPao, Mingcong, Rougui, Shuixian and Qizhong. Rougui Yancha literally translates to Cinnamon Rock Tea which can throw you off a bit from the title. I was half expecting a scented/flavored tea until I smelled the dry leaf. Wow is this yancha earthy and pungent. To me, the smell lends itself towards the puerh style rather than oolong. If I had to guess, I would say that its due to the storage of this tea which is unfortunately unknown(to me). Like most yancha, the leaves are tightly twisted with some bits and pieces throughout. The roast looks close to medium and is  This looks like a great tea for a chilly fall evening, especially accompanied by the relaxing bluegrass tune above. Lets get to the brewing!
First Infusion!
Today I also received a few professional tea cupping sets in the mail and I couldnt think of a better way to break one in! A tea cupping set is compromised of a mug with either a single knotch or a knotched teeth design(mine being the latter), a lid, and a bowl. When brewing tea with a cupping set there are specific things that need to be followed according to international cupping guidelines. You simply add 3 grams of tea to the cup, pour boiling water(or whatever temperature is reccomended for the tea being used), and let it brew for 3 minutes. After the three minutes are up, hold the lid and the mug up as if you were going to sip from it and place the bowl over the lid/bottom of the mug and turn 45 degrees to allow the liquor to drain from the mug into the bowl. As someone who has large hands and drinks a large amount of tea in one sitting, I really enjoy this brewing method because you get an upfront in-your-face look at what the tea is going to present. Theres no hiding here. The downside is that you miss the subtle changes between each steep. As you can see to the right, I have a beautiful yellow-orange cup of liquor that does have a faint scent of cinnamon. There's nothing fake or odd about it; just a natural earthy smell with a very far hint at cinnamon. I cant get over how much this smells like puerh. If tea had a family tree(I'm sure it does but I havent  come across it yet), this rougui would be the cousin of some puerh for sure.

Wet Leaf and Second Infusion

The flavor is like most high end wuyi that isnt charcoal roasted into a black crisp; Robust, Flavorful, Heavy. The lighter roast allows for more of the true flavor of the leaves to show through. Im getting notes of forest and mineral. With this steep being so strong, its hard to get into the subtle flavors that the tea has to offer. I will be updating in the future with how this tea brews in a gaiwan.**
White2Tea offers this cha at a pricetag of 12.50/50g which makes this a pricy tea.(to me) It is a VERY nice tea and I believe that the pricetag is just, it is out of my "tea fund" range. If you are looking for a heavier, no-nonsence, true wuyi oolong; look no further. White2teas Oolong offerings are just as nice as their Puerh but less talked about. Also, check out Paul's new program he is starting: A monthly subscription that will deliver tea to your door!