The mochi (or daifuku) are back at Teance! After a several-month-long mochi drought because Yuri san went to Japan, now she’s back and we once again can savour the delicate flavors she create. On the left is mochi with kabocha (Japanese pumpkin) and azuki bean (red beans) filling with hojicha flavor mochi, topped with candied pecans. On the right is azuki filling with cherry petals and persimmon.
My friend Barbara Tien of Ponga opted for the kabocha mochi, while I had the cherry one, and we shared a pot of Taiwan Beauty. The sweet cherry petals and the refreshing persimmon bits perfectly complemented the perfumy Taiwan Beauty(*). This new 2013 crop has a light golden color, a deep, rooty, spiced and fragrant sweetness of Glycyrrhiza uralensis root(**). It is rather different from the usual clean, grassy taste that I associate with most Taiwanese oolongs (such as Li Shan High Mountain or Tung Ting), and more closely resembles the Da Hong Bao (a high-oxidation Chinese oolong). Steeped for about 45 seconds in 205 F water to ensure that it’s fully developed.
I’m not sure if it’s the oolong’s freshness, the professional touch of Darius, or my increasing familiarity with teas that made this Taiwan beauty taste a whole better than what I remembered of its 2011 crop.
(*) Taiwan Beauty is similar to Royal Courtesan, a rare Taiwanese oolong that is at least 60% oxidized. It’s rare because they need a type of tea leaf hoppers to munch on the leaves and start the oxidation process.
(**) Asian liquorice root, 甘草 (gancao in Chinese, ganzou in Japanese and cam thao in Vietnamese, which means “sweet grass”), which are usually used in East Asian herbal medicines.