Tuesday, November 7, 2017
10 years of successful Oolong aging
During my studies with Teaparker, I had the opportunity to experience aged Oolongs early on. The fragrances were complex and not to be found in young Oolongs. In wine terminology, we'd speak of tertiary notes that come with age, like plum, old wood, incense... But the most fantastic characteristic of well aged Oolong is that they still feel alive and fresh! According to Teaparker, such aged Oolongs are obtained if you keep your roasted (or well dried) Oolong in a porcelain jar without re-roasting it. The aromas of such young roasted Oolongs are quite different from an aged one. Is it really possible to age Oolong without re-roasting it? Teaparker seemed pretty alone in the tea world with this advice. The only way to find out was to try!
10 years ago, in winter 2007, I purchased some Qingxin Oolong from Lishan (2000 meters+) that had been roasted by Master Zhang in Dong Ding. (I chose a high mountain Oolong, because the winner of the Dong Ding Oolong competition in spring 2007 told me that his leaves were harvested in Lishan). In February 2008, I started aging this roasted Oolong from Lishan in a porcelain jar. In January 2010, I removed the plastic foil under the lid, because Teaparker recommended not having any plastic in direct contact with the leaves. In December 2013, I compared the leaves in the jar with those I stored in the original plastic foil and found that those in the jar tasted nicer.
Today, I'm brewing this Lishan Oolong from the jar again and I can finally start smelling the nice scents of aged Oolong in this tea! The fragrances are indeed starting to turn into those familiar refined notes of plum and precious wood. And the taste is still so powerful and sweet!
We can also look at the open leaves and observe that the leaves are opening up nicely after the brewing. It's a sign that the roasting wasn't too powerful and retained the freshness of the leaves.
check these ones (except the older 1979, which must have been re-roasted along the way).