Batch 74, six plus years of sourcing singular batch teas to share with the Eco-Cha Tea Club each month ... And we find ourselves just sitting and staring at these dried leaves.... Reminding us that we are not at all tired of exploring the world of boutique tea, and sharing our experience of the things we find to be particularly special. This batch of Eco-Farmed GABA Oolong Tea pretty much covers the bases in this respect. It is very small batch, harvested by a family of organic tea farmers that are literally trailblazers in their community. AND, we think they make the best GABA tea we've ever tasted!
As we related in the sourcing blogpost for this edition of the Eco-Cha Tea Club, our ongoing source of Eco-Farmed GABA Oolong Tea is cutting edge in his research of natural tea farming as well specialty tea making with his organic produce. Naturally farmed tea is literally in a class of its own when it comes to processing the leaves to achieve optimal results, and there are very few role models on the scene here in Taiwan. This guy is one of them. He is setting a precedent for other farmers who aspire to go organic and find a market niche with their produce. This tea maker has focused on GABA Tea as his main specialty produce, although he makes half a dozen other types of tea as well!
Okay, so what does it taste like?! Well, to start — it tastes unlike any other type of Taiwan Tea. It's got flavor notes that are found in Hong Oolong, and Small Leaf Black Tea, but it's got more than that. It's a particularly tangy fruit character with a sweet base that offers a caramelized aspect to balance out the zing of fruity sweet/sour qualities. In the later brews, the tangy notes subside, and it becomes more like the above mentioned teas. It makes sense that this tea has a distinctly different profile, since it is cured in a unique way that was developed by scientists rather than tea tradition. Transforming the naturally occurring compounds in the tea leaves to achieve a particular chemical result is an anomaly. And this scientific research combined with traditional tea making skills has resulted in something unique.
Achieving nearly full oxidation of the tea leaves without vigorous rolling is also a significant contributing factor to the character of this tea. It is well cured, yet maintains an integrity to its composition that allows it to brew a flavor profile that is distinctly vibrant while being rich and balanced. The combination of chemical compounds that result from this processing method give us a type of tea that stands apart. Oh, and it's darn tasty to boot! Check out the video for the full details:
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