Batch 85 of the Eco-Cha Tea Club is the 7th anniversary commemoration of Eco-Cha's cooperation with Mr. and Mrs. Lin. Seven years ago as of this winter's harvest, Mr. and Mrs. Lin produced their very first crop of certified organic tea from their newly established farm. In support of their endeavor, we ran a crowd funding campaign to procure the entire inaugural harvest. After reaching our initial goal, we ran a booster campaign to raise funds for the renovation of the cabin on their remote homesteaded farmland where Mr. Lin was born and raised.
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!
Batch 68 of the Eco-Cha Tea Club is represents one of Taiwan's most distinctive tea types. It has a bold, mature character that is not easily mistaken for any other type of Taiwan Oolong Tea. It has a medium/heavy level of oxidation, and a heavy roast level. It is both mellow and complex. It has a rich, smoky, woody character complemented by a tangy, fruity quality.
Batch 68 of the Eco-Cha Tea Club is a Competition Grade Tie Guan Yin Oolong Tea that ended up being awarded Third Place Category Prize (top 18%) iby the Muzha Farmers' Association. The above photo symbolizes the distinctive quality of this tea type. Following the initial processing on the day of harvest, where the leaves undergo extensive withering, oxidation, and tumble heating, they are then tightly rolled and dried. During this rolling and drying process, when the leaves are wrapped in cloth into a ball shape, they are gently heated. This, in effect, steams the leaves in their own juices. And this is where Tie Guan Yin derives its distinctly tangy character.
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 batch of tea was harvested last spring, and processed as a medium oxidized Oolong. The stems were then removed in preparation for extensive roasting. Mr. Xie proceeded to roast these leaves four times in total. The first roasting was done in the standard convection type oven to remove all remaining moisture from the leaves. The following 3 roastings were done in an oven designed for roasting coffee beans!
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!
We can see how naturally these tea trees are allowed to grow. It's a wholly different farming method than conventional farming, and the produce from a farm like this is also next level. In our perception, based on visiting tea farms in Taiwan for over 20 years, this source is a rare and precious find. The combination of a pristine geographic location with an ideal micro-climate for tea production, and the natural farming methods are just not to be found. In a word, we love this farms, as well as its caretakers!
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.
This month's batch of tea being shared with the Eco-Cha Tea Club continues to intrigue us. It has qualities of a delicate Black Tea, with the complexity and depth that defines Oolong Tea. It's mild in character, but very substantial and well balanced in its flavor profile. Smooth on the palate, with tangy, fruity notes, and a lasting heady finish. It's got that composition that keeps you refilling your cup to get more!
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.