Saturday, June 4, 2011

The Qi of Wild Tea and A Tasting of 2010 Fujian Wild Oolong

One received an interesting sample from Gingko of Life In Teacup a few months back. The well written initial posting by Gingko on the background of this tea brought up many interesting questions about wild tea. Questions such as, Why do the local people believe that wild tea has better health benefits than cultivated varieties?, and Why do these locals believe that tea (especially wild tea) is good for treating Liver conditions?

One thought it a good idea to discuss these questions before going into a tasting of this very enjoyable, unique, wild oolong (Thanks Ginko).

Why does wild tea have better health benefits than cultivated varieties?

There are many reasons why wild tea has better health benefits than cultivated varieties. All of the reasons share a similar similar core- wild teas are most in harmony with nature leading to the absorption of more of nature's energy thereby containing more powerful and effective chaqi. Wild teas have evolved and adapted to the climate, soil, and seasonal variances and therefore, contain in them, a natural energetic resistance towards environmental pathogenic factors which are said to not only negatively impact the health of plants and animals but humans as well. The use of artificial pesticides not only make the tea less pure but also make it less in tune with the rhythms of nature. Plants that are artificially harvested and especially plants that have been sprayed follow an artificial rhythm, not entirely set by nature becuase of their influence by man. A tea that has grown wild for many years in a certain area will have adapted to that area's environment, it is the same way that a people of a certain area have learned to adapt to that same environment because they share that environment. So consuming local wild tea harmonizes you and protects you from local climatic, environmental, and seasonal change which is thought to make your body more resistant to environmental changes that can lead to illness.

Why is tea (especially wild tea) good for Liver conditions?

Firstly it should be noted that the "Liver" in traditional Asian thought is very different than "Liver" organ in contemporary western medicine- they have different functions. Tea is thought to be closely connected to the Liver of traditional Asian thought. Tea is green, it is of the Wood Element, its energy is abundant in the spring, it is thought to store qi, it soothes the emotions and spreads qi throughout the body. The Liver also shares these qualities. Therefore it was thought that the consumption of tea could regulate an imbalance of energy of the Liver by harmonizing the Liver's functions to its own innately healthy functioning. The above mentioned explanation of wild tea makes it, quite naturally, more effective at harmonizing such imbalances.

So does the 2010 wild Fujian oolong noticeably share some of these qualities???... lets boil the water, tear open the sample pack and enjoy this interesting tea to find out.

The dry leaf is an beautiful, uncut mixture of diverse green colours and leaf shape from pale to dark greens to delicate very small leaves to medium-largish harder leaves. They carry a spicy savory smell that is unique. They contain the fresh forested odours of a very young sheng puerh as well as sweet creamier notes of a Taiwanese oolong. This enjoyable juxtaposition of sheng puerh like qualities and Taiwanese oolong like qualities would play out in not only the smell of the dry leaves but also in the taste and feel of this tea throughout the session.

The first infusion presents creamy sweetness first with acidic spicy tanginess that moves from this initial sweetness and follows tastes of pear and pineapple. These tastes have a simple stand alone quality about them that makes them more individual and discernible in the mouth. It finishes sweet, simple, and flat in the mouth mainly covering the tongue in a thin film.

The second infusion starts much like the first infusion with a sweet and tangy start which fades into more spicy notes which overlap a predominately sweet base. The very sweet tangy taste reminds one of that sugary powered iced tea that you can find in supermarkets all over America. The sweet flavours really stand out because it feels like there is not much depth to anchor them down.

The third and fourth infusions are much of the same although the initial sweet tangy taste becomes slightly flatter. The following taste is still very strong and simple with spicy tropical fruits in a mouthfeel that has now became more full now coating the front and tongue but still somewhat evading the back and throat areas. The aftertaste develops a sweet-bland finish- even floral notes can be found in this sweet bland aftertaste. The chaqi is giving off a slightly floating lightheaded feeling and body sensation. Some strength pushes at the digestive center but this effect is somewhat mild.

The fifth, sixth, and seventh infusions stay much the same with tones of melon and banana noted in the simple stand offish sweet flavour. In the sixth, a sturdy, young bitterness starts to encroach on these tastes and in the seventh, the bitter taste is an element which shares room with still very noticeable sweet flavours.

This tea is taken to nine infusions still with sweet creamy tropical tastes still enjoyable amid bitter flavours. This oolong has great stamina which carries these simple but delicious tastes. The qi of this tea is strong, vibrant, and very relaxing even after nine infusions.



Sir William of the Leaf said...

This post gives me more insight into this tea, as I tasted it a while back and it was quite intriguing!
Great writing and information, as always!

Ho Go said...

As you know, in Korea, wild tea is also considered to be best and is probably the hardiest of plants as it learns to adapt to the natural cycles of the region.

Better health properties than non-wild teas? This I'm not sure about. Will the properties be significantly different than organically grown tea in the same soil as the wild tea is grown in?

Another question that is brought up is can tea raised in a specific region of Asia be particularly protective to people outside of this region? Environmental differences can be huge. Fujian vs Vancouver Island vs Miami vs Crete.

One more thing. The Koreans are always pushing the the 'wild' and 'handmade' aspects of their tea. They do this as a response to the high cost of their tea. But, I always wonder about how much less work it is to not have to cultivate the tea bushes. They all seem to live in such beautiful houses and drive late model cars. :)

Matt said...

Sir William of The Leaf,

Thought there was a review of this tea by you! One just linked it in the main article.

Glad this article added to your enjoyment of this tea.


What's interesting is the way people relate to and harvest the different types of wild tea in different regions- wild green in Korea, wild puerh in Yunnan and Laos, wild oolong in Fujian.

"Better health properties than non-wild teas?"

Even if the tea is organic, same region, and same varietal it will still lack a certain type of hardiness only garnered from adapting to nature without mans guiding hand. Taste is one thing, qi is another. It would be interesting to try two of these otherwise identical teas, one wild and one harvested, to see if there are any noticeable differences. One has tried such experiments with Korean greens and believe there is a very subtle difference. But of course it wasn't a controlled experiment ;)

"can tea raised in a specific region of Asia be particularly protective to people outside of this region?"

Probably not as protective or healthy.

"wonder about how much less work it is to not have to cultivate the tea bushes."

Never thought of that one before. Perhaps it is a cost saving growing method? Humm...

Anyone interested in more about the classifications of Korean wild tea should check this comment from a post last year: