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 Eco-Cha Tea Club is mostly about finding an unusually distinct batch of tea that is not generally available on the market, we also make an effort to maintain variability in the monthly editions — with the goal of continually offering a different character of tea from month to month. Furthermore, we want to offer Taiwan's renowned specialty teas that are the best of their kind — in the world. Batch 82 is one of these representative Taiwan Oolong Teas: Li Shan High Mountain Oolong Tea.
Batch 81 of the Eco-Cha Tea Club is a first for us! A very minimal spring yield of organically grown Wuyi cultivar was processed by our source of Tie Guan Yin Oolong in the way that he usually makes tea. He planted his own plot of the Wuyi cultivar about 20 years ago on his family heritage farm in Muzha, Taiwan — but it has not been available to us until this spring. We've procured his Fo Shou Oolong before, but not his Wuyi. So, as we approach the completion of our eighth year of the Tea Club, we are excited to share a batch of tea that we've just sourced for the first time ever!
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!
This month's edition of the Eco-Cha Tea Club is a Competition Grade Wenshan Baozhong Tea made from spring 2022 harvest. This batch won an award in the local competition, although not as prestigious as last spring's entry — which won Top Category Prize (within the top 2 % of all entries). Our friend from whom we source this tea said that the tea judge was a newbie, and it's hard to know how they will rate the teas.
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 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 76 of the Eco-Cha Tea Club is a first for us, in the sense that we have never sourced tea from the Lalashan region before. Lalashan is the northernmost high elevation tea growing area on the island of Taiwan, and has a significantly colder and usually wetter climate than all other regions. Snowfall on Taiwan's High Mountain Tea farms is a rare occasion. In fact, only a small portion of Taiwan tea farms have ever seen snow. We share this image to represent the location and climate in the Lalashan that sets it apart. The photo above was taken in 2016.
Batch 75 of the Eco-Cha Tea Club is an Ying Xiang Dong Pian Oolong Tea from Yong Long Village in Lugu, Taiwan —at 700m elevation. Ying Xiang (迎香) means "Alluring Aroma", and is the name given to Tai Cha #20. This is a relatively recent hybrid tea cultivar introduced by Taiwan's Tea Research and Extension Station less than 10 years ago, and has slowly but surely gained popularity — especially at mid-elevation tea growing regions.