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Oolong : Light Vs Dark : Tea / Oud Analogs

Discussion in 'Rising Phoenix' started by RisingPhoenix, Sep 4, 2019.

  1. RisingPhoenix

    RisingPhoenix Resident Artisan

    Those that know me know I love tea. In many ways it’s even more fun than Oud, because you don’t just smell it - you get to eat (drink) it, too.

    Terroir and Processing- like with Oud - are the primary factors in determining how the final product comes out. And like Agarwood - how the tea is prepared (Gong Fu, YiXing, French Press, etc) effects the taste of the tea in a similar manner to how you make use of the wood effects the experience.

    Here is a short video discussing many of these analogs with tea. It’s informative and interesting - and relates directly to how oils are experienced depending on their production. I often think of oils in this manner - from lighter more fruity-floral, to darker, multi-layered roasted or fermented oils.

    Not only the variety in different levels in oxidation, tossing, rolling, fermentation, and drying process, the post roasting process will create more intense and more complex varieties in flavours and tastes, certainly the strength in "Yun 韵" and after taste.


    VPhong, EJayB and Mustakim Godil like this.
  2. EJayB

    EJayB True Ouddict

    I love tea!
    RisingPhoenix likes this.
  3. RisingPhoenix

    RisingPhoenix Resident Artisan

    Yay!! :Thumbsup:
  4. EJayB

    EJayB True Ouddict

    I get my tea from Kevin in China he own’s a tea shop and a kinam farm!!!! Lucky guy
    RisingPhoenix likes this.
  5. VPhong

    VPhong Oud Tea

    Always enjoy seeing more tea videos. Thank you for sharing @RisingPhoenix As we are on the topic of oolong tea let me offer a comparative impression though my experience with oud. Whilst the smell of tea and oud are quite different I have observed some overlapping features.

    Light oolongs are known for their fresh aromatics, the tea reminds me a lot of light floral/fruity oils like Oud Yusuf, Trat Jam and other simple/basic light Thai ouds. The profile is simple, bright and very approachable. In my opinion it is especially great for introducing to beginners but after a time it gets boring. Oud Yusuf for me got boring rather quickly. In less than a year I could feel my senses developing and maturing, and my expectations became more demanding. Light oolongs lack complexity and depth, it is the same fault I find in Oud Yusuf. Furthermore through repetitive drinking of light oolongs I noticed the acidic nature of the brew was hurting my stomach. The tea felt wrong for me physically. As I gained more experience and awareness of myself I noticed that I was gravitating towards darker, heavier and more complex teas. As a result I would favor traditional oolong and age oolong tea considerably more (as well as other categories of old teas). The style of traditional oolong tea reminds me of more complex scents I get from Vietnamese, Chinese, Malaysian ouds whilst the age oolongs have more in common with Hindi and Maroke ouds. Whilst we definitely have our own preferences as individuals I do feel that the appreciation of traditional oolong and especially age oolong is better suited for those with some tea experience under their belt. It took me longer to enjoy Hindi ouds and longer still to appreciate the Maroke profile. The typical character of both ouds did not impress me at all in the beginning but both have since grown on me. Through repetitive consumption of the darker roasted/fermented/age teas I noticed the brew to be less acidic and more comfortable on my body. Good teas from these categories I find to be very soothing and sometimes I encounter a few that could impart a grounding effect. Drinking a few cups could make me feel very relaxed. I also remember getting similar effects from Oud Zachariya as well as XLL.

    Hopefully my tea breakdown using oud references doesn't make things more confusing o_O:Laugh:
    Rai Munir likes this.
  6. Andrew Salkin

    Andrew Salkin it's aboud time! Staff Member

    For beginner - where is a good place to buy tea online? Ideally from an artisanal vendor?
    RisingPhoenix likes this.
  7. VPhong

    VPhong Oud Tea

    I like to buy tea on location but if you are looking for an online oolong seller you could start with taiwanoolongs.com
  8. RisingPhoenix

    RisingPhoenix Resident Artisan

    For tea resources - check out:

    For Indian and Nepalese teas - this is my go to:


    For great selection of Oolongs, Da Hong Pak’s and Wu Yi teas, and Pu Er’s:


    This guy always has fast moving teas and unique selection. Super nice guy, too:


    Pu’erh is a different type of tea.

    There are Sheng (unripe) Pu’erhs and there are Shou (ripe) Pu’erhs

    I would liken Shou / Ripe Pu’erhs to Hindi type distillations and Merokes. These are usually a developed and acquired taste. Not a great place to start for most folks.

    Sheng / Unripe Pu’erhs tend to be more grassy. They are like Gyrinops (Sri Lanka, Philippines, Timor, and live tree Papua woods)

    $15 / 25g is actually a good price.

    Some of the Oolongs I drink (high mountain Taiwanese like Li Shan or Lu Shan mountains, for example) - gets easy to spend $200 / 100g

    On the flip side - the English and Nepalese Breakfasts from Teabox are around $8-10 / 4oz. Super affordable and we drink these frequently around here.

    Tea doesn’t have to be expensive to be good. Like Oud, LOTS of factors go into pricing. There’s cheap stuff I could live on, and expensive stuff that makes for less frequent treats. A little goes a long way. Maybe I need to make a video to show how I make it and it’ll make sense just how economical Tea is as a hobby.

    I’m going to interject a little bit of history here…

    As high as some of the prices that we can pay for Tea and Oud can get - from the perspective of history - prices have actually never been lower.

    The price of tea at the time of the Boston Tea Party and the American Revolution (not even 250 years ago) - the price was around $2500 / pound. Roughly $5K / kg.

    This is why the dumping of all of that tea into the Boston Harbor was such a big deal. At the time it would’ve been tens of millions of dollars worth of tea, and factoring in with inflation today would’ve been equivalent of hundreds of millions, if not over $1 billion worth of tea dumped into the harbor.

    Perspective, right?

    Nowadays, spending $50 on a kilo of tea is an expensive tea. Even spending 1000 or $2000 on a kilo of really high end tea...it’s STILL cheaper than it was 250 years ago.

    It’s a little silly to think like this - but likely every single one of us has a King’s Fortune in aromatics sitting on our shelves. And for the few of us - a King’s Fortune in Tea, as well.

    We don’t realize just how lucky we are to be alive today. Better access and affordability to some of Life’s most expensive and precious gems littering our shelves and cabinets in a way unprecedented in history.

    Drink a cup of nice tea and take a swipe like the Boss’ we all are...without even realizing it ;)
    Kabir Attars and Woody like this.
  9. EJayB

    EJayB True Ouddict

    Wow it’s amazing anyone could afford tea back then.
    Thanks for all the information and resources
    I’m kinda new to tea and the proper use and brewing. Different tea pots and such...
    RisingPhoenix likes this.
  10. Woody

    Woody Whats this Oud About?

    Personally I want a wide range of terroir and style in my tea collection. I actually deliberately avoid Chinese teas for a variety of reasons. Not exclusively, but I definitely don’t seek out Chinese teas. There are other regions in the world producing teas that are lovely for what they are.

    You want a high volume / turnover vendor that is reputable and has fresh and authentic product, dated and named and classified correctly. You want single origin loose leaf, generally speaking. That’s the top shelf. No gimmicky bullshit chocolate mint frou frou.

    Teabox is really cool. Lots of nice teas from India and Nepal - very distinct terroirs are represented, and they are very distinctive and unique. Definitely a very good vendor. Very fresh product. Low free shipping threshold.

    Since I’m in Canada, I have used o5 and Capital Tea, both very good. O5 has a rather small curated list. Capital has lots of Ceylons, and a low free shipping threshold, which is nice. I am working through understanding several Ceylons from them, as well as some Darjeeling 1s and even a Kenyan.

    Camellia sinensis from Montreal has some promising looking offerings.

    Yunnan Sourcing has some decent offerings. I wasn’t blown away, but they are pretty ok.

    White2tea has some good ones. A lot of pu er, with refreshing no-bullshit, no-florid-hyperbolic-prose marketing. This is a welcome approach, although he is almost too minimalist in branding and description.

    Upton has some good offerings across the board. I found Glenwood Reserve Imperial Red outstanding, and their gaba oolong is different and excellent. I have gotten fantastic oolongs from them. Good Darjeelings.

    Mandala has some ok pu ers.

    Careful about pu er since there is a lot of hot garbage out there. I am still challenged in this area. The good stuff gets expensive, and the bad stuff smells and tastes like hot garbage. It’s challenging to find good quality pu ers at a non crazy price point.

    I have used teacentre in the past for oolongs, they have some nice ones.

    Try a range of styles and regions in various price points to find what you like, and go from there. There is a huge variety out there. Keep an open mind and try lots of samples.

    I’m looking for non-China dark pu er style teas if anyone has any suggestions.
    RisingPhoenix likes this.

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