Batch 82 of the Eco-Cha Tea Club is a Li Shan High Mountain Oolong Tea, second flush of 2022. The weather during the spring growing season that produced the first flush remained unusually cool, resulting in a slower growth cycle that produced a character of tea that was a mix of winter and spring qualities. The weather during the second flush growing period was a combination of spring and summer weather at high elevation. This produced leaves that acted like second flush, but also carried aromatic and flavor notes that are similar to a classic spring first flush.
The aroma from the freshly brewed leaves is a balanced composition of soft herbal and floral notes. The aroma is more like a soothing blanket effect rather than a distinct, pronounced character. On the palate, it's smooth, silky, and integrated — with subtle savory and flowery notes. In the second and third brewing sessions we had with this batch, saffron and cardamom were what came to mind. A sort of soft, musky, floral and mild but substantial aromatic spice quality.
The leaves that sprout from late spring into summer grow rapidly, in the plants' most active vegetative stage of their annual cycle. This produces longer stems that strive for more sunlight in a more uniform expenditure of energy in response to the sun and warmer temps. The benefit of this is that the leaves and the stem material are still supple and juicy at the time of harvest. They have not yet matured into a more fibrous, permanent fixture on the tree. So even though there is typically more stem material in a second flush, it is still young and tender, with fresh constitution. This is another facet of how this year's second flush embodied the qualities of the spring growing season. It was the first real growth spurt in this year's annual cycle.
And there it is, a viscous, full bodied brew that denies its own second flush origins. It's a fresh but substantial brew that really sets it apart from any other High Mountain Oolong Tea producing region in the second harvest of this year. This is why Li Shan maintains it title as the best raw material produced on the island of Taiwan. There are many other factors beyond raw material that determine the best quality and value. It's always a matter of all the combined factors that produces a seasonal crop, and even each singular day's harvest in a given season. We like this one a lot, and that's why it is Batch 82 of the Eco-Cha Tea Club!
The images above are simply still shots of the full tasting notes video below. Watch the video for the full scoop on our take of this month's batch of the Eco-Cha Tea Club!
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