Batch 81 of the Eco-Cha Tea Club is an Wuyi Tie Guan Oolong from Muzha, Taiwan. It was made from the spring flush of this small, naturally farmed plot of the Wuyi cultivar, and processed in the traditional Muzha Tie Guan Yin fashion by our ongoing source of Tie Guan Yin Oolong Tea. This is the first opportunity we've had to procure his Tie Guan Yin Tea made from the Wuyi cultivar. His spring crop produced less than 20 kg of cured leaf. That's literally the smallest batch of Oolong that we've ever heard of!
Batch 69 of the Eco-Cha Tea Club was originally meant to be entered into Taiwan's National Organic Tea Competition. This competition was just established last year, in an effort to support organic tea farmers, and create more of a market presence for organic tea among Taiwanese tea lovers. This year's competition was cancelled due to COVID related restrictions, hence we were able to procure this batch of Organic Competition Grade Oolong Tea! Oh, and last year this husband and wife team received a Silver Medal Award (second place category) in this same competition!
We are kicking off our sixth year of the Eco-Cha Tea Club this month, with batch 61! And this month's batch of Heavy Roast Wuyi Oolong is a record breaker in that it is definitely the most thoroughly roasted batch of tea that we have shared to date. We think this tea will be appealing at this time of year — especially for our members who live in colder climates. This is a very hearty, rich, and warming brew. So we like to think it will make the holiday season even cozier!
This crop of tea is the most recent growth picked from new branches on the trees that were allowed to grow for four months or so, similar to our recent batch of Traditional Hong Shui Oolong that we offered last month. As with last month's batch, this tea was also affected by the Green Leafhopper, and other pests. This is inevitable, given that this is an organic farm and the summer months are most susceptible to bugs!
The leaves brew an exceptionally substantial, smooth, balanced tea with a very satisfying savory/sweet profile. The brewed leaves put forth fresh, buttery green leafy aromatic notes, like sauteed Swiss Chard. The tea is viscous, with an evenly balanced complexity of warming spices and unrefined sugary notes — cardamom, palm sugar, and butternut squash come to mind.
Batch #51 of the Eco-Cha Tea Club was sourced from an organic High Mountain Oolong Tea farm located at the trailhead to Taiwan's highest peak — Yushan, or Jade Mountain. This plot of tea is situated high up in a gorge that is the source Dong Pu Hot Springs.
While GABA tea was invented in Japan, it wasn't until Taiwanese tea makers applied their expertise in Oolong Tea processing methods that it became known for its unique qualities of flavor along with its heath benefits. Japanese production of GABA tea is focused on its value as a health food supplement, similar to green tea powder. The tea industry in Taiwan relies on its differentiating value of quality produce to compensate for its relatively low volume, compared to other tea producing countries. So when the demand for GABA tea increased, Taiwanese tea makers used their skillful resources and developed a specialty tea with specific healthy attributes.
These leaves were harvested from young tea trees that were ready for their very first trimming, prompting them to sprout more branches before growing taller. This premier harvest of organically cultivated Jin Xuan Tea plants is what we have chosen to share on the occasion of Chinese New Year with the Eco-Cha Tea Club. The character of this tea conveys the vibrant, nutrient-rich, new growth of young tea trees growing on an organic farm.
Mr. Xie made a life-changing decision 20 years ago by committing to transition the tradition he inherited from his father and grandfather before him to organic tea farming. He did this solely by his own conviction that it was the right thing to do. He came close to failing at first, but his farm survived, and through many years of pioneering experimentation, he succeeded. He is now a leading representative of organic tea farming in his community, and has formed a co-op of neighboring farms to develop his business. In recent years, a younger generation of local farmers are following his example. This is the latest chapter on the local scene that we find truly exciting.