Aged 1990 oolong tea comes from a Taiwanese tea vendor Tea from Taiwan. This truly exceptional roasted and 25 years old tea has the most complex character one could imagine.
Name: Aged Tea 1990
Tea vendor:Tea from Taiwan (Taiwan)
Type: Taiwanese oolong tea
I’ve decided to dedicate this tea photo shooting to Audrey Hepburn. Why? Because of two reasons. First, because I am a big fan of Audrey Hepburn and old movies. The second reason is the character of this tea. First, be prepared, this review is quite long. This tea deserves every single word used.
Aged 1990 oolong tea – description
I got this tea as sample with my order from Tea from Taiwan. It’s a qing xin oolong tea from Dong Ding, Nantou, aged for 25 years. It grows at the altitude of 850 meters. Price is 24 USD for 75 grams.
First, I have to say that my enthusiasm upon opening the bad was limitless. This is probably the first tea to force me to make two pages of tasting notes describing each and every nuance of its character.
Aged 1990 oolong tea deserves a whole essay, not only one article. So much complexity is very difficult to describe. However, I think that this tea is not for everyone. So, lets begin.
The first excitement emerged while opening the bad. I’ve never came upon this kind of scent before. To be honest, I am not really a lover of baked aged oolong teas, and I’ve never actually had a true interest in them. Almost all of those that I’ve tried before were similar, not so special and didn’t really attract me so much. I’ve always thought of baked aged oolong as a saved-batch-of-a-tea-gone-bad. Well, my inexperience with baked aged oolong almost kept me away from this beautiful experience. All of those 1-5 years aged teas cannot even be compared to this one.
What I’ve immediately noticed upon opening the bad is a very unusual scent. And I got hooked up immediately. Besides being a little reminiscent of a smoky Lapsang Souchong, there are many more scents to be noticed – that typical scent of a smoked dried meat (home-made types) and a scent of soy sauce, lightly sour, lightly sweet and lightly salty. Leaves are shaped in a typical semi-ball style, about the same size, very dark brown, almost black, very silky and shiny, with visible stems.
Placed in a heated tea pot, leaves get a very interesting scent. That sour-sweet-salty scent is intensified, it almost reminds of vinegar flavored potato chips, with smokey notes, dark and think soy sauce and rice vinegar.
Even though in the beginning I wanted to try with short steepings, my intuition led me to follow some strange brewing pattern – boiling water cooled down for a few seconds, 7 grams of tea, 150 ml gaiwan and 3,4,5,6,7,8 minutes steepings. I was not wrong. I tried to pour out a bit of tea after 90 seconds but it was not nearly enough. After the first steeping, leaves lost that sour-sweet-salty scent and were left with deep, earthy scent, almost pu-er like. There is not a trace of sourness left. They look very interesting, like small shells, shallow and charcoal-like, almost unopened (what was to be expected), extremely dark, granite color. The scent of tea liquor, tea leaves and taste are remarkably coherent. Tea liquor has a deep scent, reminds of an alcoholic beverage, smokey, mushroomy, but sweet and chocolaty, with some tobacco undertones. Taste completely corresponds to the scent, but it’s incredibly light, like the water floating above all these aromas. There is even a visible golden ring, which is characteristic to black teas. Color is intensive, dark and red. This tea is remarkably palatable and smooth. Four minute steeping results in much darker color, but it looks like this tea is yet to achieve its full splendor in the next steeping. Color is literary sinking to the bottom, settling down and the lighter tone is emerging to the surface until they both get mixed up in a beautiful dark red liquor. Leaves have barely opened a bit more. Scent and taste are fuller and smoother, but still very strong, they remind me of tobacco and earth. All subsequent steepings offer a perfect liquor with same strength and amazing character. After five minutes there is a sweet note added, reminds me of ripe fruits. After the six minutes steeping, I got the impression that the scent is floating on water. At this point I already felt too dizzy from drinking so much of this incredibly aromatic tea. I’ve saved the leaves for next day.
I got the impression that this tea would go well with few drops of whiskey. It associates me of old times, black and white movies and cigar smoke-filled rooms. It’s indescribably complex, full of aroma, heavy and light at the same time. There is not even a trace of bitterness. There is no evident sweet aftertaste either. This tea is to be drank and enjoyed in a moment. All those described aromas do linger in a mouth for a while after drinking, Scent is so intense that it fills the whole room. Aged 1990 oolong tea reacts very well to cooling down as well. Cooled down, it develops more earthy, brick-like taste. It is very refreshing and I think it would go very well with few ice cubes. I am still under the impression of countless aromas and versatile character of this tea.
Nevertheless, I think this tea is not for a good choice for everyone. I would recommend Aged 1990 oolong tea to pu’er lovers or lansang souchong lovers. I wouldn’t call it an everyday tea either. This tea is best for those nostalgic nights when you feel like watching black and white movie. Noir would be the almost perfect companion.
After reading some other reviews of Aged 1990 oolong tea, I got the impression that it didn’t earn too much sympathy from tea drinkers. It definitely isn’t a tea for everyone. But, it is a good choice for those who think that a tea cannot surprise them anymore and for those who think they’ve tried it all. Trust me, this tea will knock you off your feet. It impressed me in every possible aspect.