Wednesday, August 03, 2005

So this week I'm finishing up a really excellent oolong I purchased in Japan. It's not a very good tea for my first review because I don't even know the name for it specifically, I asked the girl if she had Tikuanyin, turned up my nose at it and said "darker" and she gave me this. I had about a half pound, and I'm on my last pot, so I figured I need to hurry up and write about it.

The little Chinese Tea shop where I bought it from is an excellent model for the tea shop I will open when I don't have to work anymore. I believe the name was Yu-Cha, in Harajuku district, over near the new Dior. Downstairs they had a little old man with a beard and everything who reminded me a little of my hero, Pai Mei. He was assisted my an attractive young Japanese girl who tried fairly dilligently to understand the English language around Chinese words I used to describe what I was looking for. Their teapots were exorbinant, even for Tokyo, so I just bought some tea. Upstairs they had a tea room, where for Y2500 (about $25) they would serve you Chinese tea of your choice prepared in the traditional way. We were on a schedule, so I was unable to go upstairs, but I came away with a pretty good tea.

Yu-Cha "Darker", Harajuku Tokyo

Out of 5.
Overall - 3 1/2
Primary Flavors - 4
Secondary Flavors - 2 1/2
Aroma - 3 1/2
Finish - 3
Temperment - 5

This was a straightforward, classic oolong, with a moderately dark liquor. The primary flavor had a bit of complexity with a nice woody undertone. The leaves were loose and long, which lent itself to lots of leaves, but this one especially so. The tea hit its stride when I pushed it up to 2 tablespoons at almost boiling for 50, 1:00, 1:00, 1:15 in a dark clay 12 oz pot. Flavor usually fell off after the fourth steeping, about normal for this type of tea. The most interesting thing about it was the abuse it could take and still keep the undertones intact - I far oversteeped it a couple of times and not only did it hold up adequately, the leaves weren't cached like most high-end teas would be.

The tea smelled good and finished crisp (especially for a dark oolong). I burned right through it, which was a little bit of a downer, it took way more leaves even compared to other dried-longs. It was overall a nice hybrid of a delicate tea with some undertones and harmonics and a tea focused on creating an excellent primary flavor. I'd buy it again for that niche.