More back logging (naughty me) from the Canton Tea Club. What a treat this will be, Tie Guan Yin which translates to Iron Buddha is an Oolong that originates from China. An Oolong is a form of tea that lies somewhere between green tea and black tea, it is lightly oxidised and the leaves are hand rolled to form little squiggly ball shapes. This particular type of Oolong (Tie Guan Yin) is picked four times a year from Gande town, Anxi county, Fujian province, China with Autumn and Spring considered to produce the best leaves. Since not as many plants are produced in Autumn it’s tea is the more expensive.
Instructions for a gaiwan: 5g of leaves 90°c fresh water
Rinse the leaves with a 3 second steep and discard the water.
I’m starting with a 10 second infusion and shall continue each subsequent steep with an additional 10 seconds. I shall do 5 steeps each and shall do both tea’s at the same time, battling each steeping round head to head. Let the Battle commence!
The Spring Oolong is dark green and mint green in colour with a gentle floral fragrance. Once rinsed it smells fresh, green and floral.
The Autumn Oolong is mint green in colour with dark tinges that have a stronger, toasty yet still floral fragrance. Once rinsed it smells much toastier and darkly green and fresh.
Steep one – 10 seconds
Spring (left) – Light yellow in colour. This tastes gentle and fresh with a subtle floral greenness.
Autumn (right) – Light yellow in colour (lighter than Spring). This tastes perfumey and more mature and thickly green.
Steep Two – 20 seconds
Spring – Picking up a little in flavour this has floral somewhat sweet pea tones.
Autumn – Darkening in colour slightly to equal the Spring. This is still dark with fermented fruity highlights.
Steep 3 – 30 seconds
Spring – Looking a little greener now in comparison. More floral with sweetness.
Autumn – More toasty but still fresh and fruity.
Steep 4 – 40 seconds
Spring – Still floral and green but also with a buttery smoothness.
Autumn – Super fruity and dark, almost like a toasted raisin.
Steep 5 – 50 seconds
Spring (left) – Even stronger and very green tea like, remaining sweet and perhaps citrus like.
Autumn (right) – Dry on the throat and becoming perfumey once more.
Spring after steeps.
Autumn after steeps.
Conclusion – It’s amazing to think that simply picking tea leaves in a different month could create such a difference and contrast in flavours. The Spring tea was very much like spring in the fact that it’s light, green and floral whilst the Autumn tea was again very much like Autumn meaning bold, fruity and dry. I can see the why the Autumn pickings are more expensive as what I experienced was different to what I usually experience with Oolongs. For that reason since I am used to Spring type Oolongs the most it was the one that I preferred but it would be solely personal as to which type you would pick. While the Autumn was my second choice I still enjoyed drinking and experiencing what it had to offer and I would certainly drink it again but it’s something I would have to be in the right mood for.
So there we have it, the winner was – SPRING! My tea adventure today inspired me to draw with oil pastels, I can’t paint/draw well at all but it’s something I do purely for the enjoyment of it. Here is what I created.
Drawn from my memory of the Las Vegas dessert. I visited earlier this year.