Batch 87 of the Eco-Cha Tea Club is a Dong Ding Tie Guan Yin Oolong Tea made from spring 2022 harvest in Yonglong Village, Lugu Township, Taiwan. This is the fourth time we are sharing this type of tea over the seven plus years of the tea club. We first offered it in December 2015, and a second time in January 2018. These two batches were made by the patriarch of the Su Clan, and that January 2018 batch was the last batch of tea we procured from this local legend of a tea maker. Batch 77 was made by his nephew, as is this current batch. We've known and learned about tea from the Su Family for a decade now.
This heirloom strain of the Tie Guan Yin cultivar produces leaves and stems that are extraordinarily thick and "tough" in the sense that they require more extensive processing to achieve proper withering and oxidation of the composition in the leaves. "Old Man Su", who produced the first and second batches we shared, would allow the leaves to wither for at least 24 hours before the tumble heating phase that "fixes" the oxidation process. The nephew, with whom we have ongoing communication, has developed his own processing methods that are closer to traditional Dong Ding Oolong Tea making, but with significant modifications. It's taken him a few years of experimentation, but this current batch turned out to be a winner! He shared a sample with our (and his) mentors Tony and Lisa Lin, and they were impressed — saying simply that it was really good tea. So we are both proud of and happy for our younger generation friend who is progressing steadily in his artisanal skills.
Only in the last several years have we begun to really comprehend the depth and breadth of experience behind the working knowledge that these farmers and traditional tea makers embody. Our understanding could only come about after exploring Taiwan's tea culture for three decades. Specialty tea making truly is a craft with generations of trial and error experience. We feel honored to have the chance to acknowledge the the depth of this craft, and to be able to share the fruits of these individuals' labor with tea lovers around the world.
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