Batch 76 of the Eco-Cha Tea Club is a Lalashan Light Roast High Mountain Oolong Tea, winter 2021 harvest. When we tasted the freshly picked and cured tea in the farmer's home, we appreciated the full-bodied, balanced character of it, although it was still slightly "muddled" due to the remaining moisture content in the leaves. This moisture was locked in the stem material — which was plentiful. So we decided to have the stems removed and do a light roasting to bring the leaves to what we perceived as their fullest potential.
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 offered during the month of Lunar New Year, and we expressly chose this tea for the occasion. Ying Xiang Dong Pian Oolong is a fresh, vibrant, full-bodied unroasted Oolong that was harvested at the very end of the growing season. The colder weather during its growing season gives it a distinctive profile that exemplifies the name Dong Pian, or late winter harvest.
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.
Batch 73 begins our seventh year of the Eco-Cha Tea Club, and we get to celebrate the occasion with a type of tea we've never sourced before. It's a soothing, delicate, yet full-bodied character of tea that combines a classic top quality Alishan High Mountain Jin Xuan Oolong with fresh Osmanthus flowers. The intrinsically pronounced creamy character of the Alishan Jin Xuan infused with the essence of Osmanthus flowers offers an exceptionally soft and satisfying flavor profile.
The summer batch is noticeably less oxidized than the spring batch, and has maintained its fresh green character that Lishan tea is most renowned for. The leaves were sufficiently oxidized in order to remove the green grassy character that is inherently in the leaves. This is what distinguishes Oolong from Green Tea. Just a minimal amount of oxidation resulting from gently shuffling the leaves intermittently over long periods of wilting transforms the chemical compounds in the leaves, offering a more complex and substantial flavor profile. This batch of tea offers a buttery, savory aroma — especially upon moistening the leaves, but also throughout subsequent brews. The flavor profile is mildly sweet fresh cream, with herbal notes. The finish is clean, soft, yet lingering and subtly heady, with floral undertones.
he climate in the Lishan region is strikingly different from other tea producing regions. At 2000m elevation, and a valley situated in a direction that allows the north-easterly wind patterns to offer drastic diurnal temperature variations — tea leaves produced here are of a different caliber. We are thrilled to be sharing a batch of tea from the area that really is most impressive in terms of its "high mountain" character!
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.
Eco-Cha first met Mr. Zhan in 2016, when we smelled tea being roasted beside the historical train station in Shuili — one of our favorite mountain towns in central Taiwan. We learned that he had been transitioning his family tea farm to natural farming methods for several years already. We said that we looked forward to learning more about his work, and hoped to have the chance to procure some tea! Well, some things take time... and 5 years later, here we are — finally able to share a batch of his tea with the Eco-Cha Tea Club!
Batch 65 of theEco-Cha Tea Clubwas initially sourced by our friend for entry into the largest Oolong Tea Competition in the world. The standard of this competition is a medium/heavy roast, so it requires a significant level of oxidation in processing the tea leaves for optimal results. This is where this batch of tea varies most significantly from the market standard of Taiwan's High Mountain Tea. High Mountain Tea is minimally oxidized and unroasted — offering a fresh green character with a floral bouquet. This batch was not only more oxidized, but also delicately roasted to offer a more balanced, sweeter character with fruity and pastry components to compliment the floral notes.