It’s been an interesting week! I’ve tried three home roasted teas in one week (I tried one of them accidentally, which someone (you know who you are) finds hilarious!
This is the third of the teas.
This is a high mountain oolong I picked up at the airport in Taipei on the way back from Austria several years ago. I knew I wasn’t going to get good tea at a good price at the airport, but this was the best I could find, and it was actually far better than expected. Unfortunately green high mountain teas lose their oomph over time, but roasting can transform them into something completely different! I think I maxed out at 125/130 Celsius on the roast for this tea in my electric oven.
I used this heitiesha (black iron sand) Factory 1 shuiping teapot today. I haven’t used it in a while; it is the best made of the Factory 1 shuipings that I own, and I just realized it originally came through a dealer from Taiwan’s hands. This teapot probably went to Taiwan through Hong Kong at some point, so in a sense, it’s come home!
Here’s a better shot of the clay. I paid a pretty price for this pot, but it’s not something I’m likely to come across again without serious hunting, so I’m very happy to own it. I think it’s around 80ml, which makes it a very practical size for the kind of drinking I do (usually solo, but not always, and I prefer smaller pots for oolong tea).
Interestingly, this tea smells somewhat aged. I think I roasted it two years ago. It was a really pleasant surprise to drink today, but the base material was excellent, so I suppose I should have expected it to be good drinking!
There was a potent osmanthus flavor from the wet leaf and liquor, and this definitely carried over when drinking the tea. The liquor was lovely: sweet and sour and very smooth, with that hint of aged character that really surprised me. I didn’t think a four or five year old tea would already have aged notes; perhaps it’s because of oxidation.
I’m drinking another infusion now and noticing mint and lovely cooling that I didn’t notice earlier. This was really good base material and I never thought my roasting experiments would turn out as well as they did, but so far I like everything I’ve reroasted and I’ve rescued teas that would otherwise have ended up in the trash. From now on, anything perishable gets the roast treatment if it loses its oomph over time! I’m fortunate to have an electric oven with precise temperature control. It makes roasting tea much easier. The hard part is letting the tea rest for a year or two without reaching for it, but I suppose I have enough tea at this point that I can very literally forget about teas I have!
Here’s a shot of the leaf in the pot. I took a real chance pushing the temperature as high as I did, but I like the results and now I am confident to reach for even higher temperatures with oolongs in future.
If you have green or oolong tea that is no longer a pleasure to drink, try a roast! You might really be surprised by your results after a year or two of rest!