Batch #38 of the Eco-Cha Tea Club is kicking off 2019 with a cutting edge rendition of Taiwanese High Mountain Oolong Tea. We're inspired to share this batch of tea because of its differentiating value from the conventional market grade High Mountain Tea that has become well known in Taiwan and beyond.
The differentiating value is in the timing of the harvest, and in the processing methods employed in curing the leaves. The leaves were allowed to grow further into maturity in their initial growth cycle. So they were picked a week or so later than the norm, which means that a portion of the leaves on the growing tip stem that was plucked were very close to full size. In addition to the timing of the harvest, the leaves were sufficiently oxidized (i.e. more than than norm of SOP High Mountain Tea production), and more significantly — they were dried more extensively in the final stage of processing to stabilize their composition.
Above we brewed 10g of tea leaves in a 175ml pot, starting at 50 seconds and adding 10-20 seconds with each subsequent brew, for 6 steepings.
The tea farms on the ridge above Long Feng Xia (Dragon Phoenix Gorge) boast some of the finest yield of High Mountain Oolong leaf in Taiwan. This is due to the micro-climate in conjunction with farm management and processing of the harvests by some of the most knowledgable tea producers in the world. This farming region is partially managed by traditional tea makers in nearby Lugu, the home of Dong Ding Oolong Tea. So the generations of experience in tea making combined with ideal high elevation growing conditions offers us a next level of High Mountain Oolong Tea.
So, what do all of the above factors boil down to in the brewing of this batch of leaf? Well, it offers a mellowed, stable composition of unroasted, yet well-cured high elevation Oolong. The sufficiently oxidized, thoroughly dried leaves brew a balanced, full bodied character with a creamy texture that carries both vegetal and fresh pastry notes. It's both soothing and stimulating. It's not roasted, and it's not green. It's got a touch of mild herbs, cauliflower, heavy cream, and a hint of baked root vegetables. In short, it's satisfying. And the original flavor is less susceptible to losing it's original flavor over time, due to its thorough and masterful curing process.
Please let us know what your experience is, and how you think this subtle yet significant variation of tea processing suits your tea taste!
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