Batch 79 of the Eco-Cha Tea Club is a Roasted Shan Lin Xi High Mountain Oolong Tea. As explained in thesourcing post, this batch is the roasted version of Eco-Cha's winter 2021 stock of Shan Lin Xi High Mountain Oolong. We were inspired to dedicate our reserve stock of Shan Lin Xi winter tea to the the Tea Club, upon learning that our friend achieved Top Category Award in the world's largest and most prestigious Oolong Tea competition! So we asked him to roast our stock just how he roasted his competition tea — which increased its value about 5 times of the original unroasted version!
Batch 79 of the Eco-Cha Tea Club is a Roasted Shan Lin Xi High Mountain Oolong Tea. It is the roasted version of our winter 2021 batch we offered in our store. Our friend from whom we sourced this tea submitted a single entry from this same harvest into the Lugu Farmers' Association Dong Ding Oolong Tea Competition and achieved Top Category Award (shown above). When our friend told us this exciting news, we asked him if we could hire his services to roast our reserve stock the same way he roasted his top award winning tea. So this month's edition of the Eco-Cha Tea Club is from the same harvest and roasted the same way as the tea that ranked within the top 2% out of over 5000 entries.
Batch 78 of the Eco-Cha Tea Club is a Traditional Dong Ding Oolong Tea harvested in April 2022. What makes this tea type different from our standard offering of Ding Ding Oolong is that the traditional version is significantly more oxidized and left unroasted. This is how it was made by the local artisans prior to its commercial promotion that began some 40 years ago.
The figure in the foreground of the photo above is the matriarch of this family of Traditional Dong Ding Oolong Tea makers. This pic was snapped a few years ago, and she is now in her late eighties, so she is not the tea picking queen she once was, but she is as talkative and friendly as ever!
The character of this tea expresses the dedication of this next-generation tea artisan who is truly embodying his craft to achieve a family recipe that not only clearly sets him apart from market grade oolongs, but even from his local neighbors and colleagues. He is usurping the resources of his inheritance to create a truly distinctive character of tea.
Shown above is the father, son and uncle facilitating a harvest from this new plot of tea a few years ago. It's just this type of local scene that is the heart of our inspiration. This is what it's all about!
Batch 72 of the Eco-Cha Tea Club is a Lugu Competition Dong Ding Oolong Tea. This tea type is one of the top three most famous Taiwan Teas and was prepared for one of the largest and most prestigious Oolong Tea competitions in the world. So we thought it's representing as a specialty Taiwanese Tea!
The Lugu competition happens twice a year, in spring and in winter. He prepares dozens of batches of tea for this competition. It's a significant part of his work as a tea merchant. Preparation involves procuring the tea, roasting it repeatedly, and removing the stems and discolored leaves. The roasting is extremely time consuming. He and his wife work around the clock for weeks on end to roast their tea for this competition.
Batch 71 of the Eco-Cha Tea Club is a Hong Oolong Tea made by our source of Traditional Dong Ding Oolong as well as our Small Leaf Black Tea. Both of these teas that we regularly procure from this family-run farm are closely related to this month's batch of the Eco-Cha Tea Club. This is the premier batch of Hong Oolong Tea made by this Dong Ding Oolong artisan however, and it exists only because of our encouragement (not nagging!) about trying out a new recipe!
The combination of the cultivar, the late winter growing season, and the processing methods has resulted in a mild character of tea with subtle savory, sweet, and floral notes. It has a substantial mouth feel, and a clean, dry finish that has notes of winter vegetables, such as parsnips and Delicata squash. It's got a soft, balanced, yet substantial flavor profile that can be described as humble. It's not a particularly fragrant or bold character of tea. It simply has substance, along with the essentials of qualifying as a traditionally made Oolong from Lugu, Taiwan.
Batch 64 of the Eco-Cha Tea Club comes from this family farm/home factory in Phoenix Village, Lugu Township, Taiwan. It's a late winter harvest of their plot of Ying Xiang #20 that was processed in the local fashion. Ying Xiang is a hybrid cultivar developed by Taiwan's Tea Research and Extension Station (TRES) that was made public less than 10 years ago.
Batch 58 of the Eco-Cha Tea Club is a Hong Shui Oolong made in the traditional fashion by our friend in his home factory in Phoenix Village, Taiwan. He let his family plot of tea behind their traditional 3-sided farmhouse continue to grow after spring harvest in April until the last few days in July. This allows the tea trees to rejuvenate by growing naturally during the most vegetative phase of their annual cycle. He then harvested just the tops of the new growth before pruning his trees for fall harvest.