Friday, October 20, 2023

Old Sea Dyke Oolong


I like Sea Dyke oolong.  Sea Dyke tea factory is located in Xiamen, China. where most of China's oolong are produced. Sea Dyke tea factory has been around for more than 60 years and today they continue to produce a wide assortment of oolong.  Most of my tea are already more than 12 years old. With storage, these oolong had aged to a smooth, mellow and sweet tea with a lingering smoky aftertaste.  Sea Dyke oolong are not top shelf tea.  Many oolong tea enthusiasts think Sea Dyke as a cheap tea (yes agreed) and are low in quality in terms of taste and aroma. I have fooled many enthusiasts and oolong 'experts' when I brew up my old Sea Dyke during a tea session. They would not believe that this oolong was much better than they had thought. 

Let me elaborate. My Sea Dyke collection are mainly Lao Chong Shui Hsien, Da Hong Pao and Tie Kuan Yin.  I would rate the tea as 7 points out of 10.  A tea buddy recently gave me a tin of expensive oolong; 50g at $80. This tea was very nice and I would rate it about 7.2 points, higher than my Sea Dyke collection. Price wise, this is 4-5 times higher than my tea.  The tea is, however not 4-5 times better in taste and aroma but only a small incremental improvement.  I have heard of even higher prices for higher quality oolong. Perhaps it is time to make a trip to Xiamen. Meanwhile, I am brewing a packet of Sea Dyke tie kuan yin. Noticed the exterior parts of the tea tin had already discoloured.  More important is the tea. Yummy.     

Saturday, October 7, 2023

A Long Time Ago In A Galaxy Far, Far Away.....


A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away..........

Actually, not that long ago.  About 12-15 years ago, when you step into a tea shop looking to buy pu erh, you will be told by the sales staff that if you are buying new raw pu, you will have to store it away for a few years before brewing the tea. Consuming the pu erh immediately would be astringent, bitter and difficult to drink. Storing the tea for a few years would make the tea more palatable as the tea would have mellowed out a little. 

This 2011 Lao Man Er tea factory pu erh cake is one such tea. Made from a blend of banzhang, bulang and nannuo old trees, the 'force' is strong with this tea. I could feel the qi and starting getting sweaty from the 2nd infusion. There is nothing sweet about this tea. A woody aroma with bitter medicinal herbs dominate the flavour.  It is slightly mellow and not astringent. Mouthwatering with a nice long aftertaste.  Good for 10-12 strong infusions. Quite addictive. A strong tea.   

Today, many new pu erh tea sold in shops are 'ready' and 'can drink now'. The pu erh processing is different now. Maybe it's the timing of the 'kill green' (frying), or the manual drying of the tea in ovens instead of sun drying.  I am old fashion and prefer the traditional style of pu erh. My entire collection is from the traditional type. The tea would easily last me a lifetime.   I am thirsty. Time for tea.