Why do our teas taste differently one from the other? What difference does elevation make? How does roasting alter the flavor of a tea. Do levels of oxidation really affect flavor? These are questions to which we all seek answers and Tillerman’s “Flavor Explorer” selection can help us get there.
We have selected six different teas: 3 gaoshan (high mountain) and 3 Dong Ding. The three gaoshan teas are all oxidized to about 20% and are not roasted. But each comes from a different elevation: the Alishan is grown at 1300 meters, the Cuifeng at 1800 meters and the Lishan at 2200 meters and each was made under the guidance of Chen Chung-Chia. Explore the differences in aromatics and mouth feel that these teas offer as you “climb the mountain.” Go back and forth among the teas. What can you discover?
Next, compare these unroasted teas to a Dong Ding made by Chen Kuan-Lin that also is oxidized to roughly 20% but has been roasted. Notice the distinct character that roasting brings to the equation. Follow this with an examination of another Dong Ding, this one from Chen Huan-Tang, that is roasted to the same level but has a much higher oxidation (about 33%.) Notice how this higher oxidation affects the complexity and balance of the tea.
Finally, taste a highly roasted Dong Ding also made by Chen Kuan-Lin. This tea is also oxidized to about 33% but has a much higher roast level. How do we perceive that both “on the nose” and “in the mouth.” For a little added fun, now go back and taste the first three teas. Are your impressions the same? Are the contrasts clear?
This offering includes .5 oz (14 g.) of each tea – 3 ounces in all. That’s easily enough for two full sessions with multiple infusions at each. Expand your horizons; become an intrepid flavor explorer!