Eco-Cha Tea Club
November 05, 2016
This farm is the only place we've seen the baskets shown above still being used in Taiwan for harvesting tea by hand. They are now typically displayed as a memoir of generations past. This in itself is a symbol for the tradition that this farmer has made his vocation to preserve. At the young age of 20, he inherited his family farm in the historical tea producing area of Muzha in Taipei County, and has dedicated the last 30 years of his life to keeping the tradition alive by making the type of tea for which this place name has been renowned for well over 100 years - Tieguanyin Oolong.
October 09, 2016
We already knew that this is our favorite source of traditionally made Dong Ding Oolong Tea, but in the last couple years, we've come to realize that their Black Tea is also something very special. In a word, it's the balance of flavor and character that we find unique among Small Leaf Type Black Tea makers. This young tea artisan has learned how to process his family resource of heirloom tea in a way that makes an exceptional Black Tea. There is both a purity and substance of character that sets it apart from the majority of Black Teas, delivering a rich, full flavor that is both satisfying and soothing. The aroma is something like fresh baked plum cobbler, yet the flavor is both clean and richly balanced, with a dry lingering aftertaste that has a finish like a good dessert wine or even champagne.
October 07, 2016
There has been an increasing trend in central Taiwan to use summer harvests of Small Leaf Type tea to make Black Tea. These seasonal batches of Small Leaf Type Black Tea have quickly gained popularity on the domestic market. We now feel inspired to represent this trend by introducing the most rare and quality produce of this type. In the last 12 months of seeking out and deciding upon our next monthly Eco-Cha Tea Club batch, we have chosen 3 very distinct batches of Black Tea, all made from Small Leaf Type strains.
We really would love to hear about your experiences of these batches of Black Tea that we've shared in the last year. Go ahead and post your comments on this batch along with your recollections of the previous batches here!
September 06, 2016 1 Comment
This tea has a very traditionally cured flavor profile. It's soothing yet refreshingly satisfying at the same time. Something about the higher level of oxidation and the very lightly roasted aspect gives it a home-made dessert character, like peach cobbler. It has a tangy sweetness with an underlying hearty, rich aspect that makes it a very substantial, yet not overbearing brew. More and more, we find ourselves appreciating this traditional style of heavier oxidation and lighter roast level that offers a broader flavor profile and a complexity that continues to be intriguing and satisfying brew after brew.
September 01, 2016 1 Comment
We were very excited to share the first substantial crop from this newly planted organic plot of heirloom Wuyi Oolong tea in our June batch. That first harvest from this plot was processed as a Black Tea. The farmer saw our appreciation for that unique batch of tea, and was inspired to respond to our enthusiasm and encouragement by processing the second harvest as a traditional Hongshui Oolong — a tea type that had virtually disappeared in the wake of large scale promotion of High Mountain Tea, but has recently gained popularity among local tea connoisseurs. This is living proof that local tea growers in this region are reclaiming their heritage for producing specialty teas. Furthermore, this farmer is an anomaly in his farming practice. Not only is he pioneering farming methods that we have never seen or heard of in Taiwan before. He is also producing some unique and superior batches of tea.
August 04, 2016
With the first brew poured off, the freshly brewed leaves carry a strong roasted character with rich, hearty, fireside notes. After the second brew the aroma of the brewed leaves turns a bit fruity, with warming spice sweetness reminiscent of pumpkin pie. The first brew has a roasted flavor upfront followed by a sweetness like grilled fresh corn. The second brew brings out a more balanced, rich, complex character and smooth texture – a much more integrated flavor profile.
August 02, 2016
This batch of tea was sourced from our friend and tea mentor who is one of the most successful competition players in the industry. He participates in all of the significant competitions in central Taiwan and consistently attains the highest awards. Eco-Cha Tea Club's Batch #1 was also from this source. And this spring he achieved 5th place out of 6,441 entries of that same competition that Batch #1 was entered in last year. This month's batch was entered into the Nantou County Tea Trade Association's Dong Ding Jin Xuan Tea Competition, and received the Gold Medal Award.
July 08, 2016
The leaves were almost fully grown at harvest time, but still very young and tender. The larger leaf size provides a more full-bodied character within the green tea category while still maintaining that full fresh green character and flavor profile. The aroma of the brewed leaves is a garden fresh scent, following an afternoon summer rain. The texture is exceedingly smooth and balanced, with a green vegetal flavor profile, and a clean refreshing finish with just a touch of bitter to convey its pure tea character.
July 08, 2016
This batch of Dragon Boat Green Tea was harvested on the fifth day of fifth month in the Chinese Lunar Calendar. It is believed that the hours between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. pm this day are when the Yang Energy is strongest in the Lunar Year. Traditional custom holds this to be the ideal time to collect mountain spring water to be used for its beneficial effects in removing "dampness" from the body, as interpreted by Traditional Chinese Medicine. Our friend Mr. Chen innovated upon this traditional concept to harvest tea leaves at this time, as it is considered an overall atmospheric phenomenon.
June 08, 2016
When we recently sat down at this farmer's tea table and were served this tea for the first time, we truly felt like it may be the best Black Tea we've ever tasted. It's incredibly rich and smooth yet also carries a complexity and vibrant character that is unique in our experience. The fact that we have been offered the first substantial crop from this newly planted organic plot of heirloom Wuyi Oolong tea only months after we procured our first batch of Wuyi ever from a nearby farm has us very excited! This is living proof that local tea growers in this are reclaiming their heritage for producing specialty teas. And this farmer is an anomaly in his farming practice. Not only is he pioneering farming methods that we have never seen or heard of in Taiwan before. He is also producing some unique and superior batches of tea.
May 31, 2016 1 Comment
If this were a live conversation, we'd be yapping away in a flurry of excitable acclamations about our recent discovery of an early spring harvest of tea leaves from very young crop of organically grown Wuyi Oolong tea trees. Because it was a minimal crop of young spring leaves, the farmer decided to make them into Black Tea. This is also an anomaly of a spring harvest from a traditional Oolong Tea strain. Making Black Tea is more time consuming and labor intensive. So, when it is a privately run farm like this one that is completely managed and run by a husband and wife couple, the harvests need to be small. And this is why are so wound up.
May 06, 2016
The Farmers' Associations in the Alishan region have adjusted their competition standards in recent years from a very green, unroasted quality to a slightly mellowed, more balanced, full-bodied and minimally roasted quality. In our experience, when Qing Xin Oolong leaves cultivated at sufficient elevation (beginning at 1100m) and processed with skill and attention to achieve optimal oxidation, they are brought to their potential in quality and substance. These sufficiently oxidized leaves are further cured by a delicate roasting that brings out more subtle flavors and offers a mild, yet complex and exceptionally balanced brew.