This is my oldest Oolong tea I have collected. It is in original paper bag. I guess it is make in around 1930. Does any one has any idea about this tea? Or may be you have any old Oolong tea to show to us?
This tea call JinPu(Golden Garden) Oolong which is made in northern FuJian Province, is a very famous Shui Sian Oolong since Qing Dynasty.
JinPu Oolong won the golden rewards in Overseas Chinese and the Southern Seas Industrial Association(1910) and Panama ExPro(1914).
I haven't open the warping paper and taste it, because it is so rare to have a such old, good quality Oolong tea in original package. However, it is kind of old Shui Sian made with traditional process. I guess it's leaves are in twist shape with darker brown colour. And it should has strong taste and "Chi" similar like Da Hong Pao or other clef tea .
Because this tea was made in early 20 century, it must use traditional method of the tea processing. The process of Oolong Tea (like:Iron Buddha Tea) has changed from tradition way to modem way since middle 90's.
Compare with modem Oolong Tea, traditional Oolong Tea has higher oxidation and lower in floral fragrance. The most different is that the Traditional Oolong has "Suan" taste(sour taste). "Suan" taste is very rare, because it normally found from tradition Oolong. And only seldom tea producers know how to make it in this way.
Taiwan Oolong started to get popular in the 90's. Tea drinkers in China are surprised by the aromatic fragrance of the Taiwan Oolong and it became very popular in China. The tradition Oolong tea in the Fujian province started to loose market share. In mid 90's, the farmers in Fujian province learned a new technique from Taiwan which makes light oxdition Oolong. This modern Oolong can have as low as 5% oxdition which makes the taste slightly green (grassy) and very flowery. In the late 90's, modern Oolong dominated the Oolong tea market and traditional Oolong gradually evaded the market's awareness.
Were all the oolongs made on the mainland black, with the larger twisted leaves & woody or smoky taste? All the Iron Buddha oolongs I've had were the greener, less oxidized type, although there seems to be a lot of variation with Iron Buddha teas. Was Iron Buddha made in the Wuyi style (like Shui Xian or DaHongPao, etc) until the 1990s also? What were the old ones like?
In mainland China, the Wuyi oolong such as the ShuiXian or the DaHongPao is still produced by the traditional way of tea making (however, more machine is used now than with hand making as in the olden days). Most of the modern Iron Buddha oolong is greener and less oxidized than the traditional Iron Buddha oolong, which is darker and more oxidized. The traditional Iron Buddha was produced using a similar way of processing as the Wuyi oolong.
We have two old traditional Iron Buddha this year. One is made in 1998. The other one is made in early 90's with charcoal roa sted. If you have time, please come to shop and taste together.
I actually have an Iron Buddha that looks slightly more green than that first one, but I doubt it's from the early 90s. It was only $3.50/lb or something. It's definitely not green though, it's more of a golden/brown sort of colour.
One way to tell if the tea is of a high quality is by looking at the colour and the shape of the tea leaves. However, there are other ways, which include the aroma of the tea leaves, the colour of the tea liquid, and the taste of the tea liquid (most important). There are three reasons for tea producers to roast tea leaves. First is to improve the quality, the vitality, the taste, the complexity, and the density of fine teas (such as the charcoal roasted aged Guan Yin). Second is to extend the shelf life of unfavorable teas that are not selling well. Third is to cover the foul taste of low grade teas.
As such, it is important when selecting tea to check if the colour of the leaves is evenly distributed, the smell of the dry leaves is pleasant, and the taste of the tea liquid is enjoyable.
Not all oolong teas can be kept for a long time. Usually, the traditional oolongs could be kept for a longer time. It really depends on the process of production, where it is kept, how it was kept, and what kind of container, etc. A good traditional oolong tea that is kept well tastes good even after 100 years.