TN: Yun Shan Yin Zhen

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TN: Yun Shan Yin Zhen

Postby Otto » Sat May 27, 2006 12:44 pm

I don't know how to describe teas with their proper jargon, but here's what this is like in wine jargon :)

This Yin Zhen from the Yun Shan mountain is an odd tea. The name translates as silver needle. The shop keeper said that this is classified as "yellow tea" - apparently a subgroup of Oolong or white tea? What's the difference between them, anyway? I brewed it, as told, at a low temperature (c.60-70 C) and for a long time (c.15 min). The result was very nice indeed! An antithesis to the in-your-face Parker teas (any much too influential tea critics out there whose name I could substitute?).

Faintly yellow colour. The nose is a bit faint but elegant with quite a bit of white flowers and even a hint of vanilla (no oak in this, LOL!) and some slight green tea -like bitter notes giving the nose a pleasant lift. The palate is also light and elegant but with enough tannins to keep it pleasantly structured. A light tea, and quite unlike any other I've tasted. Persistent aftertaste. Very good.
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Re: TN: Yun Shan Yin Zhen

Postby Robin Garr » Sat May 27, 2006 12:55 pm

Otto Nieminen wrote:(any much too influential tea critics out there whose name I could substitute?).

Not yet, but if you want to go for it, I'll help you set up a Website. ;-)

Thanks for the tea notes, though, Otto. I wish we had more good tea and coffee discussions.
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Re: TN: Yun Shan Yin Zhen

Postby Bob Ross » Sat May 27, 2006 2:15 pm

The tea sellers seem to be the best sources of tea tasting terms and glossaries, Otto. At least I haven't found an author who has the same sort of following that some of the wine critics have. I like this glossary form Fine, although there are many, many others online:

Their little description of holding a tea tasting was quite good I thought. And the whole site seems to be informed by a wine lover:

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Re: TN: Yun Shan Yin Zhen

Postby Jenise » Sat May 27, 2006 5:22 pm


The language of wine is very very well suited to describing teas. In fact, wine language has helped me personally be more detailed in analyzing what I like about the teas I like.

I'm not familiar with the tea you mention by name, but oolongs are my favorite teas so I know a little about them in general. The silver leaved ones are usually the youngest picked leaves. The color of the eventual tea is determined by the amount of fermentation they undergo. In general, oolongs are considered a semi-fermented tea, and the color of the eventual tea you make will be determined by the amount of fermentation the tea leaves undergo. Formosa oolongs typically undergo the longest fermentation (about 60 to 70%), which produces a darker, redder tea than a China oolong, which will be more toward orange. There are lighter formosas, too, called 'ambers'. Your tea could be that ('amber' being a shade of yellow), or a pouchong style, which is more lightly fermented than even China tea and which a book I have describes as "an extra category somewhere between green and oolong." It does not otherwise address 'yellow' as a category.
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Re: tea jargon

Postby Paul Winalski » Wed May 31, 2006 8:13 pm

A very harshly tannic wine is sometimes described as being like sucking on a used tea bag.

How would one describe an aggressively tannic tea? Like drinking a young cabernet from a cold year?

-Paul W.
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