Review: Vicony Teas Huang Guan Yin Wuyi Yancha Huiyuan

Oolong Tea, Vicony Teas Add comments
Sophie’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"These leaves make for a potent brew, with lots of sturdy wood, tobacco and smoke notes, as well as some softer fruit tones. There is a lot going on in every sip – this is a very dynamic cuppa. "
Sophie’s Teaview: 8.2/10
Other Teaviews: Dave gave it 8.5/10
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It's always a joy reviewing a tea from these folks. The description of this offering includes links discussing the importance of the terroir, the different varieties of “rock tea”, as well as lots of other tidbits that tea geeks (teeks?) will appreciate. Otherwise called “Yellow Goddess of Mercy”, this oolong from Mount Wuyi is actually a cross between the Tie Guan Yin and the Huang Jin Gui varietals. The leaves are somewhat fluffy and loosely twisted. They display the characteristic maroon hue of heavily roasted oolongs. Their aroma is quite enticing, mixing vaguely chocolatey notes with peachy ones.

Vicony recommends brewing this tea traditionally in a gaiwan, infusing 5 grams of leaves in 100ml of filtered water heated to 95 degrees Celsius for 20 seconds at a time, for up to 10 steeps. My first brew is a lovely shade of pumpkin and bears a stone fruit, caramel and toasted bread aroma. The top notes feature rather subtle earthy, toasted grain tones but the cup ends with a bang, with an intense roasted sweet potato finish. As the tea cools, the lingering aftertaste develops a slightly astringent smokey quality to it.

After 40 seconds, my second steep is much darker in colour. It's flavour profile is much smokier, with a bit of astringency to the middle and a delicate sweet lift to the finish. The cup quickly becomes bitter as the tea cools. I like flavourful teas but this is a bit too intense for my liking.

My next cup is much smoother and turns out to be my favourite. Following a minute-long brew, the tea is generously flavoured with tobacco and dark chocolate notes. It feels brisk and a little rough but the underlying malty sweetness takes the edge off. It's very rich and well balanced.

The next two cups, steeped for 80 and 100 seconds, are fairly similar to each other. The wood and tobacco top notes are well developed. They are followed by a fruity sweetness. The body is fairly thick and smooth, lending the tea a very round mouth feel.

By the 6th cup, the leaves are fading. The flavour and feel of the tea are quite thin. It's not at all bitter or rough but the results are no longer very exciting.

Fans of heavily roasted oolongs will be pleased. These leaves make for a potent brew, with lots of sturdy wood, tobacco and smoke notes, as well as some softer fruit tones. There is a lot going on in every sip – this is a very dynamic cuppa. I also steeped this tea Western style, (1 heaping teaspoonful in 8 ounces of water for 4 minutes), which I ultimately preferred. This type of brewing seemed to coalesce all the more pleasant aspects of this tea into one fabulous cup. However, these leaves are unfortunately only available wholesale.

— To purchase Vicony Teas Huang Guan Yin Wuyi Yancha Huiyuan, or for more specific information on ingredients or the story behind this particular tea, click here to go directly to the manufacturer's web site.

Teaviews Member: Sophie Sophie
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