Review: Canton Tea Co. Hong Shui

Canton Tea Co., Oolong Tea Add comments
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Thumbs up!"I've always wanted to use the word fjord in a tea review."
Geoff’s Teaview: 9/10
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Funny least funny to me.

When I picked this out of my inventory boxes of tea samples - yes, there's an inventory - I originally thought I reached for a black tea. When I cut the bag open, the leaves looked and smelled liked a black tea - charcoal black with red tips and a malty scent to boot. It wasn't until my needlessly laborious search on Canton Tea Co.'s website that I realized I was dealing with a heavily-roasted oolong. Not Canton's fault, I'm just an idiot.

Hong Shui translates to "Red Water", and it's an oolong that hails from Beipu, Hsinzhu County in Taiwan. The region is comprised of 98% Hakka - an ethnic group originally hailing from China. According to the Almighty Wiki, they migrated all over Asia Major and Minor. The Taiwanese migration were primarily from Guangdong province, China. Beipu is known for specialized Hakkanese tea blends, of which (I believe) this oolong is among.

Like Japanese hojicha, Canton Tea mentions that this oolong is roasted over charcoal, which makes it difficult to tell it apart from black teas. Brewing instructions on the tea profile also echo this comparison, recommending a decidedly black tea approach. I obeyed their the most part., brewing 1 tbsn. of leaves in 8oz. of 185F water for three minutes.

The liquor brewed up to a medium bronze with a gentle, smoky aroma. The smell oozed concentrated deliciousness. Honestly, it reminded me of a cross between Da Hong Pao and Taiwanese Bai Hao. As for flavor, it started off with a mineral quality on the forefront, typical of a lot of Wuyi oolongs, but gentled to a fruity and somewhat sweet texture in the middle. No aftertaste was detected, but the body lingered like a flavorful fjord.

(Sidenote: I've always wanted to use the word fjord in a tea review.)

A second infusion at nearly fifteen minutes - because I forgot - turned out equally as good, if not more full-bodied. Good to know a tea can stand up to my negligence. Very Taiwanese and very tasty.

— To purchase Canton Tea Co. Hong Shui, 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.

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