I have been bitten by a bug that is called Best Bug Bitten 2016. Be prepared for a Taiwanese oolong flavor explosion if you dare to get your hands on this tea.
This Best Bug Bitten 2016 is made by Taiwanese grower and farmer Hau Ying Chen and really was an Instagram find for me. After I saw (extremely positive) mentions on the teas of Mr. Chen by Instagrammers like @cwarrencollins and @unytea.store (before @unyteaguy), I had to know how to get my hands on some of that ball rolled magic. I asked @cwarrencollins and he told me the only way to order was to contact Mr. Chen himself. So I did, on Facebook, and I received the list of teas and prices. Mr. Chen gave me very helpful recommendations on which top teas I had to order and so, a few days after making the PayPal payment, a full box arrived from Taiwan.
Honestly every single tea in that box is a treat. Mr. Chen’s Shan Lin Xi is by far the best I have tried in cream and complexity, his Alishan Jin Xuan is so much more than those milky notes, his Da Yu Ling offers beautiful aroma and taste that brings you to the top of a Taiwanese mountain yourself and his Mucha TGY… no words. This Best Bug Bitten 2016 is the flavor powerhouse of the five.
This is the most dominant outburst I have experienced in a tea so far. Even the rinse to open up the leaves is so full already. So fruity. Perfectly ripe peach that gives you enough sweet for the rest of the week. A citrus sour bitterness, similar to that of a grapefruit, that pulls the tip of your tongue a bit, before the honey comes in and coats your mouth. Especially that little citrusy bitter note is very pleasant in this tea. I can imagine some people being a bit overwhelmed by how fruity and sweet this is, but that slight grapefruit-aspect of the tea makes sure it is perfectly balanced.
I think this tea could go on for way more brews than I can handle, and there is an interesting change noticeable in taste during the session. You definitely need to tame the full dominant flavors yourself in the first few brews, but after a while the tea does that for you. It gets more buttery, creamy, not particularly in mouthfeel but in taste, and it’s settling a bit, getting more fruit pastry-ish. This is a change that makes this tea so pleasant. First the outburst, flavors so strong you simply can’t enjoy them if they are still there 15 brews later. But then the tea, being all Charles Darwin-evolutionary, knows he needs to throw in some other elements (the cream-butter notes) to keep you hooked. And hooked I was. It’s truly incredible that this can be the result of growing and processing tea. That these flavors are natural and enhanced by a very skilled tea master.
Want to try Hau Ying Chen’s teas yourself? I highly recommend it as it is top-notch Taiwanese tea for me. Contact him through Facebook or Instagram to ask for the current list with available teas and prices.
As this really sounds like a commercial I have to add that I paid for these teas myself. I’m no tea George Clooney. Best Bug Bitten 2016. What else?