2018 Red Water Oolong (The Tea Guru)



red water oolong the tea guru tea adventures


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I’m always looking for new teas to try and the 2018 Red Water Oolong (or Hong Shui) from The Tea Guru is one of those teas. Oli was kind enough to give me this sample so I could try this highly oxidised oolong tea. A highly oxidised oolong is not something I regularly drink so I’m curious to see how this one will turn out.

2018 Red Water Oolong (Hong Shui)

The 2018 Red Water Oolong (or Hong Shui) is a Taiwanese tea with a long history. This tea has been in production since 1885! It comes from the area around Lu Gu village, which is in the Dong Ding region in Nantou District.  It’s a highly oxidised oolong tea (around 60%) that undergoes a light and slow roasting.

It’s clearly a ball-shaped oolong tea. The tightly rolled leaves have a dark brown colour with a reddish tint to them. I can see leaves and some stalks as well. The smell is a certain maltiness with floral notes that are light and buttery. 

The leaves have opened up and have a really dark colour. In addition to leaves, I can see quite a number of stalks as well. I see whole leaves but also smaller pieces. 

Tea Tasting

  • Water 90°C
  • 7g of tea leaves for a 135ml Zini teapot
  • 1 rinse
  • 6 infusions


1st infusion (15 sec): the colour is a kind of dark gold. The flavour is a buttery maltiness with a light sweetness in the finish.

2nd infusion (20 sec): the colour is a bit darker gold now. Still malty but it seems to be less buttery. There is a buttery sweetness in the aftertaste.

3rd infusion (25 sec): the colour is shifting towards reddish tints so it starts to look a bit more like black tea. The maltiness is buttery again, which is quite different from the previous infusion. There is a light floral sweetness in the finish.

4th infusion (30 sec): the butteriness is almost gone. It’s malty now with floral notes.

5th infusion (35 sec): light maltiness with a subtle sweetness, which adds a certain complexity to this tea. You can sense that there is more going on than just maltiness.

6th infusion (40 sec): light maltiness with some very light and sweet notes. You taste that the flavours are fading every infusion. Still decent flavours during this one!


I was pleasantly surprised by this tea. At first, I was hesitant to try it because highly oxidised tea is not something I drink on a regular basis. The flavours you usually experience while drinking this kind of tea are not really my thing. After the session, I was happy and relieved that this tea tasted the way it did. It proved to be a complex tea with different layers that became noticeable throughout the session. No two infusions were the same and that made it really interesting to see which and how flavours changed. It went from maltiness to sweetness, with some floral notes in between. The thing I liked the most was the butteriness that was noticeable in the different flavours. There was a buttery maltiness but some of the floral and sweet notes were buttery as well.

If you’re interested in trying this tea, go visit The Tea Guru’s online store. He sells a lot of amazing teas and is specialised in Puerh tea. If you’re looking for the Red Water Oolong, you can find it over here.

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