REVIEW: Min River Tea – Two oolong teas by Su Wei Bo

Min River Tea - Oolongs Su Wei Bo

Today I’m reviewing two teas – a 2014 autumn oolong and a 2007 aged oolong – made by Su Wei Bo that are available for purchase at Min River Tea. Su Wei Bo’s tea farm is a small-hold (300mu/49.5 acres) that is approximately 1000 above sea level in the mountains outside Gan De in Anxi county. You can read more about Su Wei Bo and his family-run farm, as well as Min River Tea’s collaboration with the Su Wei Bo farm here.

2007 ‘Old Iron’ Aged Oolong by Su Wei Bo
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Tea and origin: Oolong tea from GanDe (感德), Anxi County, Fujian. Harvested in 2007, and re-roasted once annually
Twitter: Min River Tea
Facebook:  Min River Tea
Link to Roasted Oolong

Tasting notes

Dry leaf: The dry leaf consists of rolled leaves that range in colour from light green to light brown to dark brown. The dry leaves have a toasted aroma, and when they are added to warmed crockey, I detect buttery popcorn notes

Infused tea: The first infusion cups out a light yellow liquor, although the cup colour slightly darkens with subsequent infusions, but it never gets much darker than a lightly oxidised oolong. The flavour and aroma of the liquor is extremely complex: the light roasting means that the aroma and flavour has woody, toasted, floral and sweet notes. I detect strong floral (orchid-like) notes from my first smell of the infused leaves, and I pick up a tart fruit aroma from the leaves after they cool a bit. The liquor of the tea, though, has a complex interplay between woody/toasted flavours and floral/sweet (honey-like) flavours. I first notice floral flavours, but the finish and aftertaste is more toasty. It is a medium-bodied tea with a mild amount of astringency

Infusion tips: This tea is best made gong fu style. I used five grams of tea with 150ml of water at 95C. I steeped the tea for 30 seconds for the first infusion, 45 the second, 1 minute the third and 1.5 minutes for the fourth. Try infusing this tea five to six times

Conclusions: This tea pulls my tea senses in all different directions. It has the best characteristics of both lightly roasted and medium roasted oolongs. It is not overly sweet, floral or roasted – the balance is extraordinary, and it is a tea I could see myself drinking on a everyday basis

Retail price: 100 grams for £18.00

2014 Autumn Iron Buddha by Su Wei Bo
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Tea and origin: Green oolong tea GanDe (感德), Anxi County, Fujian. Harvested on 29 September 2014
Twitter: Min River Tea
Facebook:  Min River Tea
Link to Autumn Iron Buddha

Tasting notes

Dry leaf: The dry leaf consists of small tightly rolled balls that are a dark green colour. The leaves have a lilac flower aroma

Infused tea: The tea cups out a light green liquor that has a pronounced lilac aroma. Whilst the first infusion cups out a liquor with some nice floral flavours, the tea goes into another dimension with the second. The lilac aroma becomes stronger, and the liquor is peppery and a bit florally. With the third infusion, the liquor is quite peppery and spicy, and floral notes are very subtle.  But in the fourth, the floral notes make a comeback, and the liquor has a spicy, pepper finish. Throughout each each infusion, the tea is medium-bodied and has a clean mouthfeel

Infusion tips: Give the tea a wash before drinking the first infusion.  I prepared this tea gong fu style with five grams of tea and 150ml of water at 95C. My infusion times are as follows: 30 seconds, one minute, two minutes and three minutes. You will get four to six infusion out of the tea

Conclusions: This tea is a real pleasure to drink. The combination of spicy, peppery and florally notes gives it a wonderful complexity and shows how high quality and unique the tea is. I think green oolong lovers will adore this tea, and I highly recommend giving it a try

Retail price: 100 grams for £21.00

Overall conclusions

These are two fantastic teas by Su Wei Bo. I’ve always been a big fan of green oolongs, so the Autumn Iron Buddha was a real pleasure to drink. The aroma and flavour of this tea get my blood flowing. Over the past year I’ve really started warming up to roasted oolongs, and the ‘Old Iron’ Aged Oolong was spot on for my liking. I particularly likes its mild roast flavour paired with floral and sweet notes. The mild roast gives the tea a complexity that has to be admired

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About teaxplorer

I grew up in the Midwest of the US and was introduced to tea at a very young age - unsweetened iced tea, that is! It was not until my early 20s, when I was seeking a lighter alternative to coffee, that I took tea drinking to a new level. I still remember my mother suggesting that I try putting milk in a cup of black tea (something that actually sounded a bit repulsive at the time, but I gave it a go). I quickly became tired of supermarket tea and started ordering teas from shops and companies all over the US. Throughout my 20s and now into my early 30s, pursuits in higher education studies, work opportunities and marriage have given me opportunities to live in the UK, Canada and Germany and travel around the world, which has sparked an even greater interest in tea and the culture of tea. This blog is my outlet to discuss my love of tea and show off some of my photos. All images and opinions on this blog are my own, unless stated otherwise. I retain copyright on all photographs, but please do not hesitate to contact me at teaxplorer@gmail.com if you wish to reproduce any of my images. Likewise, if you would like me to review and photograph any teas for you, please get in touch. I would be happy to hear from you. Thank you for stopping by my blog, and I hope you return many times! Happy drinking! Drew B (@teaxplorer)
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