Review of Zhang Ping Shui Xian, Charcoal Roasted

7 of 104 of 53 of 573 of 100
Very GoodGoodReasonable

The dry leaf of this oolong looked and smelled heavily roasted, and frankly, smelled more than a little boring to me. But when I brewed this cup, I was pleasantly surprised.

The aroma is complex and a bit edgy--there are some fairly strong skunky, herbaceous qualities, tones of celery, and a few floral tones in the background. Overall character is completely unlike Wuyi Shui Xian; I don't think I would recognize these as being from the same varietal, not comparing it to a Wuyi tea nor to the green Zhang Ping Shui Xian from Life in Teacup (which I enjoyed greatly).

Similar in character to some Tie Guan Yin with a similar level of roast, but I find that the character is a little more crisp, edgy, and sharp. Although I can imagine some people might think that this oolong had more "off" aromas than a Tie Guan Yin of comparable price, I think it is also a little more complex.

Interestingly, this tea had little in common (other than appearance, origin, and price) with the green oolong from the same source. There was none of the soapy quality that I objected to in that tea, and I found this tea to be more flavorful overall, but for some intangible reason, I liked that other one better...I think it was the weaker floral qualities in the dark roast tea.

Still? They're both a bit pricey, relative to their quality. I think they have more appeal as a novelty than as an everyday tea, at least to me.

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