All posts tagged Dr. Oolong

Dr. Oolong talks Baked Oolongs

Wanting to build upon your tea experience?

Baked oolongs are a fantastic way to experience the wonder and flavor of oolong tea.  The baking process produces a rich, deep flavor.  Not only does it enhance the floral and fruit notes of a fine oolong, but it also creates a nutty, toasty taste that is unmistakable.

The baking process takes place at varying temperatures and varying times to produce a tea that is particular to the tea master’s style. The process can take several hours up to several days. One interesting and little known fact is that during this process, large amounts of caffeine is baked right out of the leaves! Dr. Oolong has seen first hand the stalagmites hanging from the ceilings in baking rooms. Pure caffeine!

Some great baked oolongs you may be familiar with include Royal Courtesan (gui fei), Ti Quan Yin, and Tung Ting. All are known for their depth of flavor and ability to hold up well to multiple steepings.  The time and attention that goes into making oolong teas is nothing short of impressive. Here at Zhi, we are truly grateful to the Taiwan tradition of care and creativity in giving the world some of the most remarkable teas on the planet!

The vast majority of the tea baking is only done in Taiwan under the supervision of, or by, the tea master himself. Only recently have a few handful of ambitious oolong fanatics have undertaken the challenge to bake oolongs in the United States. Solid training is necessary to do this, along with much trial and error. The advantage of this is the ability to create custom batches of tea. (Can you tell where this is going? :)

Yes, Dr. Oolong has thrown his tea leaves in the proverbial fire and has started baking oolongs in Austin. Stay tuned for small artisan custom batches of baked oolongs from Zhi Tea, coming soon.

 

Crave Coconut? Zhi’s new oolong option

Howdy, tea fans and coconut lovers!

May we introduce you to our Coconut Oolong?

By popular demand, Zhi has created an enticing, simple and luxurious flavored oolong. We have simply taken our stunning Emerald oolong and added organic essence of sweet, young coconut. The result is creamy smooth, silky sweet, with a long round finish.

Traditionalists would herald this move as blasphemous!

Well, to be honest, Dr. Oolong shuddered when faced with the thought of flavoring such a pure and perfect Bao Zhong. But he does like to to innovate and create new tastes. So, being the coconut freaks that we are, as well as known oolong fanatics, we could hardly resist the temptation. We tried it… and it was amazing!

So add another coconut tea to our list! We hope you love it as much as we do.

PS this tea is amazing hot and iced. Enjoy!

The Very Patient Old Man Dong Ding

Dr. OolongHowdy folks.  Dr. Oolong here.

Having recently arrived back from a most pleasant journey to Taiwan, I can safely say I am a changed man. The person I was when I set out to explore the world of Taiwanese teas, on the ground, at source, is no longer with us. The man that emerged is even more in awe and wonder of the beauty and mystery of Taiwanese teas and the Taiwanese people.

The first thing that really struck me was the incredible amount of work that goes into making a batch of oolong tea. Wow! Having participated first hand in several steps in the making of the tea itself, I can say my respect for the tea workers is quite high! It is a hard job!

I was lucky enough to share numerous tea cupping/tastings during my three weeks in Taiwan. I sampled various cultivars and methods of production, from low oxidized to highly oxidized, and unbaked, to strongly baked. Aside from my personal preferences, several things stood out to me. The first of which is the concept of ‘patience’.

The more patient a tea measures the number of steeps one can get out of it. This is one of many ways to assess quality and value in an oolong tea. Regardless if you steep Western-style (small amount of leaf to water) or Eastern-style (large amount of leaf to water), or somewhere in between, the number of flavorful and aromatic steeps of a given oolong is a fantastic indicator of its inherent quality.

One of the simple treasures I was fortunate enough to acquire on this trip was a small amount of a Tung Ting made in the traditional fashion: organically, hand picked, and strong roasted. It is called Old Man Tung Tung. It is named after the gentleman who has been making this tea since he was a teenager; he is now in his 70’s! The tea is a fantastic example of a tea with tons of patience. We steeped about ten grams in a ten ounce yi xing pot last weekend and had to stop after 15 steeps!

Experiencing the flavors unfold with each steep is a remarkable experience and one that should not be missed. We hope you share in the journey with us too! Stay tuned for more articles on amber oolongs and have a great day!

Resolved to drink more tea! Guilt free treats from Zhi Tea

The new year always brings opportunity for healthier habits and high hopes. Year after year, we continue to see diet, health and financial resolutions top the list of self-improvement projects.

What are you looking forward to improving in 2013?

“Each spring, we witness (and experience!) a strong desire to cut back on sugar, fat, dairy and gluten, as we clear the slate after an indulgent holiday season,” says Dr. Oolong, co-founder of Zhi Tea and resident cookie-lover.

“Zhi strives for balance, while never sacrificing beauty or pleasure. Fittingly, our teas are pure, healthy and indulgent. Tea helps us answer the question, “How can one have decadent food experiences without sacrificing health?” It’s easy! It’s right there in your cup.”

For everyone who is working off a wellspring of will power, Zhi would like to offer custom tea choices to support your efforts. (We can use the extra help too!)

For a sugar-free treat: try our Sweet Desert Delight. Crave cream, but want to be dairy-free? Try our Masala Chai with a drop of almond milk. Need a gluten-free drink? All of our teas are gluten-free, organic and fair trade. Want to cleanse and detox? Purify with Silver Needle. Caffeine-free morning? Let the awakening power of our Turkish Spice Mint keep you upbeat, without the jitters! Caffeine-free evening? Our Restful Blend (pictured above) is a soothing nightcap and guaranteed lullaby.

So, how do you resolve to incorporate tea into your life more?

Tea for the Tillerman

Tea for the Tillerman

Just arrived 6000 ft Ali shan. Some seriously windy roads, a great driver, and tired from a good long day. We visited another tea research station in yuchi for a tea cupping of some newly released cultivars. Delicious highly oxidized, not quite black teas that Thomas has dubbed Brandy oolong.

Then we visited dong-feng farm near Sun Moon Lake for some muscle building tea rolling. We were each given a basket of freshly withered leaves to roll. Rolling breaks the cells of the plant, releasing the juices and prepared the leaves for drying. It took about 45 minutes to get them to the proper condition. The aroma coming off the leaves from this process was amazing: very camphor and cinnamon like.

After our workout, we climbed up the mountain in our little van, as we told hair-raising stories of other mountain bus trips we had survived. This is a really fun group! Tomorrow is an 18 hour jade oolong manufacturing day. I absolutely love it here. Plus, I got some great video of an organic tea garden that butted up against a sheer half mile drop off the mountain. Can’t wait to share it with you when I get back to Austin!

-Dr. Oolong