Batch 74 of the Eco-Cha Tea Club is an Eco-Farmed GABA Oolong Tea. We coined the termEco-Farmedto represent tea that is sourced from a certified organic tea farm, without representing the certification itself. This farm is not only certified organic, but it is managed with the most natural farming methods we've seen in the local tea industry here in Taiwan. He has pioneered these farming methods, and after 20 years of challenging research, is now successfully managing several plots of tea and producing specialty types of organic tea.
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 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!
Batch #47 of the Eco-Cha Tea Club was procured from our ongoing source of Da Yu Ling High Mountain Oolong. The proprietor of our local tea packaging facility and tea wholesaler has cooperated with this farmer who manages the farms in both Cui Feng and Da Yu Ling for many years. Our friend has consulted in both farm management and tea processing in order to have reliable produce from two of Taiwan's most prestigious place names for High Mountain Oolong Tea.
After years of honing his GABA tea making skills using Oolong processing methods, Mr. Xie decided to process this harvest as a GABA Black Tea for the first time. The entire harvest amounted to less than 20 kg, and by the time we found out about it, there was barely enough to be shared with our Tea Club members!
Andy visited the farm a second time because the older brother had told him that he had transitioned his own plots of tea to completely natural farming, i.e. not using any chemical pesticides or fertilizers. The image above clearly shows the contrast of a transitional plot of tea in the foreground, compared to the commercially farmed plots of tea on the neighboring farm below in the background.
This month's batch of Da Yu Ling High Mountain Oolong tea being shared with the Eco-Cha Tea Club is sufficiently oxidized and unroasted. This style of processing transforms the fresh, green character into a more balanced, sweeter, full bodied brew while maintaining the delicate floral and vegetal aromatic notes.
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.