To say this tea is truly remarkable is some what of an understatement. Out of all of the hundreds of oolongs I have had the pleasure of tasting, this one ranks close to the top of the list. A fairly new creation, Concubine Oolong draws inspiration from Dong Feng Mei Ren, where oxidation starts from jassid bitten tea leaves. This creates a chemical reaction from the plant resulting in a unique honey-like sweetness. Unlike Dong Feng Mei Ren, the winter high mountain leaves are thicker and can handle the rigorous rolling and dong ding shaping style. Hence this creates many layers of complexity and makes this tea suitable for ageing.
As I continue to explore this tea using different brewing vessels to prepare each round, I notice that each session is surprisingly different from the last experience. The first time I made this tea, I used a traditional competition cup which revealed intense notes of distinguished peach, fruity flavours of dried plum and apricot which coated my palette. Followed by rounded wood, heavy rose and a lingering sweet honey tail.
I then prepared the same tea in a 200ml porcelain gaiwan. This time, roasted bold notes of charcoal, rose and honey with a strong aroma of melon, were more apparent, similar to the characteristics of a well crafted Oriental Beauty. I also found the tea to be more astringent which helped retain the fragrance on the tongue.
I then tried brewing this oolong in my Yixing pot and experienced the best of both worlds. The progression began with peach and stone fruit notes, then lead to roasted flavours of charcoal, honey and sweet rose. I really dig this tea, it is certainly one of my favourites which I particularly enjoy after a big hot breakfast or with friends and family. It is a great choice when guests are over because of the remarkable steeping rhythm that the never seems to end.
In conclusion, this tea is best prepared using the gong fu method with hot water temperatures ranging from 90-95 degrees. Listed below is a good guide for infusion times. Due to popularity, stock is limited.
Infusion times listed below are for a gaiwan, competition cup or a small Yixing pot, using 3.5 grams of dried tea leaves.
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