13 Year Aged Ti Kuan Yin Wulong Tea from Xin Yuan Tea Garden

Every time I order a personal supply of the season’s fresh Ti Kuan Yin wulong tea from Xin Yuan Tea Garden, or Lin Farm as I had previously referred to this garden, they are always kind enough to throw in a few other samples of interesting teas. I was happy to make a larger order of this year’s Spring harvest top grade Ti Kuan Yin, which is available for purchase at The Tea Journeyman Shop, and to give some well deserved revenues to the Lin family, who honestly makes the best Ti Kuan Yin that I have ever had. If you have not had the Ti Kuan Yin from Xin Yuan Tea Garden before, and there is a very high chance that you have not, then I implore you to get some. It will redefine your opinion on Ti Kuan Yin.

With this order, Dong Qin Lin, the daughter whom I communicate with, sent me a very interesting sample which is the focus of my review today. This sample is the 13 years aged Ti Kuan Yin. One of the first teas I ever reviewed from the Lin Farm (Xin Yuan) was an aged Ti Kuan Yin, but it did not look anything like this sample. This sample is darker in color, with less stems, and seems to be a much higher quality.

To learn more about the Xin Yuan Tea Garden, Click Here to see their profile on The Tea Journeyman Shop website. Let the journey begin…

13 Year Aged Ti Kuan Yin Oolong Tea Dry Leaves
13 Year Aged Ti Kuan Yin Oolong Tea Dry Leaves

The dry leaves are dark brown to black in color, possibly from periodic roasting during the aging process. Appears to be mostly large leaf fragments, and possibly some whole leaves, some with stems intact. The leaves are in the semi-ball shape. The aroma has scents of dried raisins or prunes, molasses, and aged wood (oak?).

Eight grams of dry leaves were placed in an 18 ounce (530 ml) cast-iron tetsubin teapot. Purified spring water was heated to 205°F (95°C). The leaves were infused for two minutes.

13 Year Aged Ti Kuan Yin Oolong Tea 1st Infusion
13 Year Aged Ti Kuan Yin Oolong Tea 1st Infusion

The first infusion produced a liquor with a golden-orange color and slight red tint, clear and transparent. The aroma has scents of wood resin or sap, prunes, and light molasses. The scent is very unique, and almost difficult to read, all in a good way. The body is medium, with a very smooth, silky, clean texture. The taste has notes of sweet wood sap, prunes or raisins, wet stones, and a slight touch of ripe blood orange.The aftertaste is lightly sweet. Again, like the aroma, the taste is somewhat difficult to read, and almost took me to the bottom of the pot to begin defining what I tasted. I was impressed that there was no unpleasant tastes that can often occur in the first infusion of aged teas. This first infusion tasted very clean, despite not being rinsed.

13 Year Aged Ti Kuan Yin Oolong Tea 2nd Infusion
13 Year Aged Ti Kuan Yin Oolong Tea 2nd Infusion

The second infusion produced a liquor with a slightly darker golden orange with red tint color. The aroma lost absolutely no strength or character from the first infusion, and may have even strengthened by a slight amount. The body and texture remain medium, smooth, and clean. The taste seems to be slightly fuller, but retains the same general taste notes of sweet wood sap, raisins or prunes, wet stones, and blood orange. The second infusion was slightly better than the first, and I expect the aroma and taste to persist until the end of my work day forces me to prematurely dispose of them.

13 Year Aged Ti Kuan Yin Oolong Tea 3rd Infusion
13 Year Aged Ti Kuan Yin Oolong Tea 3rd Infusion

The third infusion produced a liquor with a golden-orange color similar to the first infusion, and perhaps a touch lighter in color. The aroma has lightened some, but has plenty of potency. The body and texture are the same. The taste has lightened some, but retains the majority of the taste notes, with the blood orange diminishing some. I still believe these leaves could give at least three or four more worthy infusions. Unfortunately, the end of my work day has arrived, and I have to cut the review off at three. Thankfully, I have another eight gram sample of this same tea, and I know to set an entire day aside to enjoy it.

13 Year Aged Ti Kuan Yin Oolong Tea Infused Leaves
13 Year Aged Ti Kuan Yin Oolong Tea Infused Leaves

The infused leaves have a fresh tar black color. The leaves are still quite tightly rolled, and unrolling them reveals a fibrous, almost stringy structure of the aged leaves. The texture reminds me of a loosely knit dry burlap sack, lacking any softness. The leaves that I am able to unroll without completely destroying do appear to be large fragments and whole leaves. A few of the stems display a two leaf and small bud pluck. The aroma has scents of sweet wood sap and molasses. This was among the most interesting set of tea leaves that I have inspected.

13 Year Aged Ti Kuan Yin Oolong Tea Infused Leaf
13 Year Aged Ti Kuan Yin Oolong Tea Infused Leaf

I realize the quality of the above photo is not great, but it is good enough to show the fibrous character of the infused leaf. This is what happened to every leaf that I tried to unroll.

This 13 Year Aged Ti Kuan Yin Wulong Tea from Xin Yuan Tea Garden was a fascinating review subject from start to finish. The aroma and taste were so unique that they were difficult to identify, and my descriptions may not be the most accurate. Regardless, both the aroma and taste were amazing, and the texture of the liquor was remarkably clean, especially for an aged tea. As if the organoleptic experience of the tea was not enough, it was very interesting to inspect the infused leaves. If every tea review I conducted was as interesting as this one was, then I would never get my normal work done at my office.

A heart-felt thank you to Dong Qin Lin and Xin Yuan Tea Garden for providing this fascinating sample. I am so glad they included two samples of it, because I will be ready to get every last infusion out of the second sample. Cheers!

Finally, if you have not already done so, please do me a personal favor and check out my new webstore which I just launched on May 27th. I am adding new products on an almost daily basis, and there are some really interesting teas on this site, as well as five to ten more coming in the next couple of weeks. Please check it out, and share it with your tea loving friends and family. I truly appreciate your help in getting my business name out, and I think tea lovers will appreciate the high quality and low price of the teas in my shop. Thanks again!

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Fengqing Raw Puer Tuo Cha 2006 from TeaVivre

It seems like it has been a long time since I reviewed a sheng (raw) puer tea. It also seems like it has been a while since I had an opportunity to review a product from TeaVivre. Time to put an end to both of those time periods.

I was very excited to see not just one, but two sheng puers in the most recent package of samples I received from TeaVivre. The subject of this review is the aged 2006 puer tuo cha from Fengqing, Lincang, Yunnan Province, China. The Yunnan Large-Leaf tea trees produce the leaves used to make this puer tea. Generally speaking, larger, more mature leaves should make for a stronger, yet mellow infusion.

TeaVivre has quite a bit of information regarding this tea on their website. Rather than paraphrase, why don’t I just give you the link to read for yourself.

Let the journey begin…

Fengqing 2006 Raw Puer Dry Leaves
Fengqing 2006 Raw Puer Dry Leaves

The dry leaves display a variety of colors, from yellow to silver, faded green to dark green, and light to dark brown shades. Since this tea came in a ten gram sample package, some of the leaves were loose, while others were parts of condensed chunks. The leaves appear to be medium to large fragments. I cannot see any leaves that appear to be whole and unbroken. The aroma is smoky, earthy, and with a hint of wet fur.

Ten grams of dry leaves were placed in a 9.4 ounce (280 ml) Tokoname teapot. Purified spring water was heated to 175°F (75°C). The leaves were rinsed for fifteen seconds, then infused for one minute. The amount of dry leaves may seem high, but this was the suggested weight to water ratio from TeaVivre. Actually, the suggestion is ten grams in eight ounces. The temperature I used and infusion time are much lower than the recommendation of 212°F (100°C) for three to ten minutes.

Fengqing 2006 Raw Puer 1st Infusion
Fengqing 2006 Raw Puer 1st Infusion

The first infusion produced a liquor with a dark yellow-gold color, clear and transparent. The aroma was smoky, earthy, and lightly floral. The body was medium, with a smooth, clean feel. The taste had notes of animal (musk), mineral (wet stone), floral (jasmine), and a very light raisin hint. There is a mineral aftertaste, and a flowery essence left on the breath. I am looking forward to a better balanced second infusion, and would not be surprised if the third is the best tasting of the three.

Fengqing 2006 Raw Puer 2nd Infusion
Fengqing 2006 Raw Puer 2nd Infusion

 

The second infusion produced a liquor with a nearly identical shade of dark yellow-gold color as the first infusion. The aroma remains earthy and floral, with the smokiness having dissipated slightly. The body remains medium. The taste did balance out some, but I still do not think it has reached the optimum balance. The tastes remain floral (jasmine), mineral (wet stone), animal (musk), and light raisin. The aftertaste has become slightly more floral and less mineral. As usual with puer, I love feeling the tea evolve from infusion to infusion. Looking forward to the third and beyond.

Fengqing 2006 Raw Puer 3rd Infusion
Fengqing 2006 Raw Puer 3rd Infusion

The third infusion produced a liquor with again a nearly identical color as the first and second infusions. The aroma remains earthy, floral, lightly smoky, and a woody scent is evolving also. The taste is balancing better in this infusion, and the body feels even smoother and more refined. The floral (jasmine) taste seems to be changing into more of a woody taste, while the animal (musk) and mineral tastes remain strong, with the light raisin taste also persisting. The aftertaste began to give a dry feeling in the mouth. I still think that the taste has not reached it’s optimal balance quite yet. I will say, however, that this third infusion has definitely been my favorite of the first three infusions.

Fengqing 2006 Raw Puer 4th Infusion
Fengqing 2006 Raw Puer 4th Infusion

I continued infusing this tea for six infusions before running out of time. The color, aroma, body, texture, and taste remained quite similar, with only lightening slightly, from the fourth to sixth infusion. I have no doubt that this tea could have gone to ten infusions or more.

Fengqing 2006 Raw Puer Infused Leaves
Fengqing 2006 Raw Puer Infused Leaves

The infused leaves vary in color from light green to forest green, and a few are light brown. The leaves are all medium to large fragments, with no unbroken leaves being pulled from the mix. The aroma reminds me of a wet forest floor, with scents of wood and light flowers. There is a touch of animal musk in the scent, as well.

The Fengqing Raw Puer Tuo Cha 2006 had the earthy, mature tastes that any fan of puer tea expects from an aged sheng puer tea. This is not a tea that you would offer to friends or family who are new to tea drinking, or prefer lighter tastes. It is quite powerful in aroma, taste, and energy. This tea is perfect for a long evening of reading or study. This is truly a tea drinker’s tea.

Thank you, TeaVivre, for giving me the opportunity to try the Fengqing Raw Puer Tuo Cha 2006. Cheers!