I opened this tin of oolong over the weekend. This oolong variant is called Tan-Chung Chi-Chong. Produced by Xiamen Tea Imp & Exp Co Ltd, this 125g of oolong came packed in a shiny 6 sided tin.
Notice how is tea is packed and it will give you a good indication on good storage of tea. This oolong is packed in a tin and has 2 lids (the outer metal one and an additional plastic lid inside). Tea (especially oolongs) should be kept away from light, strong smells and be reasonable airtight. This packing met the above requirements. I also noted that the inside of the tin was lined with paper. I was told by serious tea drinkers, that tea leaves should not come in contact with metal. I would suggest to my readers that your used pu erh wrappers be utilized to line your metal tea caddies as the paper used for wrapping pu erh are of good quality and should be recycled for good use.
Back to this tea. This tea is 3 years old as there was an expiry date chop of March 2016 on the tin. Yes, traditional high roast oolong can be kept and the tea does age to an old medicinal herbal aroma with time. Do not try aging the greener oolongs as the green ones will 'turn bad' over time. Refrigerating your green teas will help extend the freshness of your green tea. This Tan-Chung Chi-Chong is a traditional heavy roasted tea. The leaves are long and plump with a hint of redness in the leaves. Brewing this tea makes a nice tea session with the oolong's taste and aroma reminding me of both characteristics of a rougui and a shui hsien.
But I digress. A reader asked me why I rinse my tea? Rinsing tea or xi cha (in Chinese) is one of the steps prescribed in brewing Chinese tea. The main purpose of xi cha is to wash the tea leaves, hydrate the tea leaves and I believe, sterilize the tea leaves as well. After placing your tea leaves in a gaiwan or teapot, you use boiling water to fill your teapot with water and then pour out the water in a quick movement. No pausing to check your Facebook or Instagram entries, but one continuous step - pour water in and pour out. This will prevent the tea leaves from infusing too much. Is rinsing tea a must? No…of course not. A few of my tea drinking groups do not rinse their tea especially when they are drinking expensive or very old tea. One tea session may use a chunk of tea costing more than $50 or that the particular tea may be extremely rare that every drop counts. For me, I rinse my tea for every tea session.