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Hong Kong-Style Roasted Oolong Stems (150g)

Hong Kong-Style Roasted Oolong Stems (150g)

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Here's something I've heard of, but only just now encountered: roast oolong stems! This is a traditional offering in Hong Kong, and one I have only just now encountered. These stems have a long history down here and were an economical offering that was popular with poorer families who came across to Hong Kong as refugees from the Mainland. Once highly popular, these delicious roasted stems are now rarely available on the market, apparently because tea is sent across without stems nowadays.

These stems were roasted to order in Fujian for one of the oldest tea companies in town. I don't know what kind of oolong was used for them, but I suspect it was shuixian as I get notes of the company's shuixian offering, and there are bits of leaf stuck on a few of the stems that contribute a little shuixian flavor.

These stems brew up sweet and smooth, and taste pleasantly toasty. The air (and your palate) fills with notes of caramel, malt and honey. I didn't think brewing up stems could be this enjoyable, but the Japanese do the same in the form of kukicha. I went three infusions with these, but I am sure they could go for four or five surprisingly pleasant infusions! These stems are hard to overbrew and would do well boiled as well, I feel.

While I can get these, I'm stocking up as I don't know how long they will be available! This is a historical offering for the vendor, and one I have never seen them stock before!

Brewing suggestion: 100 Celsius. Either a gaiwan or teapot would suit this tea. I would rinse once, then infuse for a few minutes, before lengthening each infusion by a few minutes each time. If you notice the flavor drop off in an infusion, add five minutes to the next infusion. Use water of low hardness (15-35 mg/L, with 1-3 mg/L of magnesium).

Wholesale pricing is not available on this tea due to the limited supply!

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