Tuesday, September 8, 2015

What-Cha's Fujian Zhangping 2014 Heavy Roasted Shui Xian Cake Oolong

First review at the new blog! I have a pretty large backlog of teas to review, so I'm just gonna start at the top and work my way down.

What-Cha's Description
The only traditional oolong tea pressed into a cake! It has a unique taste quite unlike other Fujian oolongs with a floral zesty orange taste (similar to Darjeelings) combined with a gentle roasted finish. Some grapefruit hints are present in earlier steepings.

My thoughts
This is a newer What-Cha offering. I am a sucker for heavier roasted oolongs, but this was a bit pricier than some of the other oolongs on the site, so I only ordered a sample. Each cake is about 10g each, so a 10g sample will get you one cake. I decided to use the entire cake in my 300ml pot.

Dry leaves - The aroma is amazing. It's definitely a charcoal-roasted tea, but the roastiness is laced with floral tones reminiscent of rose and hyacinths. The cake itself isn't pressed very tight, and I actually ended up breaking it into a couple pieces before steeping.

Brewing parameters - 200F, 30s first (+15s for each steep after)

Tasting notes - Charcoal, grapefruit, mandarin, orange blossom, rose

This tea is quite unique in its flavor profile. Light citrusy notes hit you first. What-Cha describes it as grapefruit, and I can agree with that, but I would add clementines to the description as well. It quickly fades to a charcoal-roasted orangey/floral taste that lingers long after the sip. The roastiness doesn't overpower the floral taste at all. They compliment each other quite well actually, which is something I don't see in heavily roasted teas very often. 

5 steeps in and this tea shows no signs of slowing down. The more I brew these leaves, the better it gets. The charcoal has mellowed out somewhat and is replaced by a subtle fruity component. I'm honestly not sure what it is, I just couldn't place my finger on it, but it works extremely well with the orange blossom and rose tastes. Peach, maybe? Not sure. 

This is a very generous tea. I got a total of 15 steeps from it before calling it a day. I really could have kept going and pulled another 7 or 8 out of the leaves, but it was late and I needed sleep. The flavor profile didn't change much after steep #5 or 6, but it never did show signs of slowing down.

This tea is incredible. It doubt it will become a daily drinker for anyone due to the price ($14.48 for 5 x 10g cakes), but it is absolutely worth it. It's the best Fujian oolong I've had the pleasure of trying thus far, and deserves a spot in everyone's stash.

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