Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Cheunghing Tie Luohan: An Affordable Luxury

As autumn settles in and the air grows cooler, I have a tendency to prefer drinking aged, highly-roasted oolong over other types of tea.  It’s warming and soothing (it is less cooling, to be precise, as all teas are cooling by nature).

Buying high-fired oolong, however, is an adventure in itself.  The great ones often come with a [very] high price tag, while the affordable ones that flood the market often are younger teas that have been roasted to death and/or subpar.  That’s not to say there aren’t any good, affordable, aged ones.  Cheunghing’s Tie Luohan is one example that is good, aged and affordable – a triple threat.

The tea brews very dark, almost opaque.  It’s malty, sweet with a hint of chocolate flavor, thick and silky smooth.  Whatever strong roasty characteristics it had when it was young, it has now mellowed out with age.  This tea can take a lot of abuse too: over brewing it does make the tea strong but it hardly gets bitter.  The best part about it is, a session with a small packet of 7.5 grams in leaves costs only $1, more or less.  Simply said, it’s an affordable luxury.

I store the paper packets in a medium-sized clay jar to let the tea evolve and (hopefully) get better with age.  I have to admit, it’s rather hard to keep my hand out of the cookie jar, so to speak.

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