Monday, May 17, 2010

2009 winter crop Nantou Mingjian Tsui-Yui oolong

As the name of this article suggests, this is tea from Mingjian township, located in Nantou County, one of the most productive tea regions in Taiwan. Although these teas are quite massively produced, they still maintain decent quality and are, on Taiwan, very popular for everyday drinking.
There are generally two types of Tsui-Yui (also called Green jade) tea, one being labeled “light” and the other one “medium”. These two teas actually vary a lot, as the first one is a newer invention, accommodated to, in my opinion, bigger demand of those sweet, floral oolong teas nowadays (great example is Chinese Tie Guan Yin, which is originally supposed to be on quite a high oxidation level, but lightly oxidized versions are much more popular, at least in Europe) and the second one is more traditionally processed, being darker in color and whole character.
This is the second type.

Typically for this kind of tea, leaves are curled into little balls, which are, in this case, even smaller than in most Taiwanese oolongs. They are also a little bit darker, but the difference between light and medium version isn’t that big in color.
Smell of dry leaf is more roasted-like, with tones of chocolate and almond typical for amber oolongs, but also floral, fruity notes of lighter oxidized ones. This tea is labeled as “medium” oxidized, so this is all expectable.

Infusion color is honey-gold, really bold and with smell of flowers. This tea is, as most Taiwanese oolongs, able to produce several great infusions, all of them full and rich in taste. As a result of stronger oxidation, it’s a bit more spicy and “deeper” in taste, smell and whole character. A little bit of decent astringency is also present.

Taste doesn’t change that much in further infusions; instead of that, it maintains the same mild, delightful character and vivid aftertaste with noticeable roasted tones.

I once again am tea-drunk. And once again, it feels better than anything else.


  1. Being tea drunk is definitely a great state of mind! =]
    The green oolongs are more popular everywhere. It is hard to find a decent amber oolong (besides wuyi) anywhere. I do like green oolongs, don't get me wrong, but there is something special about amber oolongs. Dark roast oolongs are quite a treat as well! Hopefully demand for the dark oolongs will rise and production and quality will increase. Fingers Crossed!

  2. William,
    I think this is connected with the general popularization of green tea as a health product nowadays and, therefore, also green oolongs, as their health effects are similar and their taste is even less astringent, so even people who normally don't appreciate tea can understand their taste and enjoy them.
    I have luck to live in central Europe, where we really have a big tea market and, therefore, also a lot of top-quality amber oolongs mostly from China and Taiwan, but this trend of more and more green oolongs on the market every year is markedly present here, too.
    However, I also hope that it will stop and, slowly, even reverse ;)


    As soon as my head and limbs begin to get heavy, and I start giggling, I know its a great session. Hell yeah, tea is the best drug.

    Too bad only some teas have that effect. :/

    Tie Guan Yin is a favourite of mine. I love the sweet apricot flavour and eggy edge. I wouldn't mind trying some darker oolong. Looks pretty good.