Eco-Cha Sourcing Director Andy Lectures At Ji Nan National University
March 25, 2016
Andy got take advantage of the only morning that it wasn't raining this week and take a 55 km scenic ride from his home on the southern border of Nantou County to the National University just north of Sun Moon Lake. Here's a roadside snapshot overlooking Shuili, a township that fittingly is named "In Water".
He was invited to be a guest lecturer to a class of non-university students who are learning about creative cultural representation in the tourism industry, including the sale of local specialty produce, such as tea. It was a great group of people of all ages and backgrounds. Some were B&B owners, others worked in farmers' associations and local governments, and there were a few tea farmers who were developing their own brands.
It was really a pleasure and an honor to see the interest the class had in Eco-Cha's story and learn of our perspective on the local specialized industry of tea and tea culture. Even more rewarding however, was the friendly, modest manner in which the students introduced themselves during the intermission. Andy was offered home-made cookies and many invitations to come visit their homes, farms and businesses. He was even given a document of the occasion at the end of the class!
These leaves were harvested by hand from the residential farm that is our ongoing source of Dong Ding Oolong Tea. They were also de-stemmed by hand and roasted extensively to meet the competition standard. The brewed tea has a bold roasted character that is balanced out by a rich, smooth textured and complex flavor profile. It is reminiscent of fire-roasted yams and butternut squash.
This month's edition of the Eco-Cha Tea Club is from the same day's harvest of spring tea that our source received the Top 2% Award out of 750 odd participants in the spring 2019 competition. This month's batch of tea was prepared the same way as the award winning tea — removing the stems by hand and undergoing repeated roastings to meet the standard of quality set by this local competition. Only residents of this small community of traditional tea makers are eligible to enter this competition. But this is the heart of Dong Ding Oolong Country, and this community boasts the densest population of traditional Oolong Tea artisans in Taiwan, and probably in the world!
The complex aroma of the brewed tea leaves has subtle hints of a bug bitten character, but not very obvious. The sufficient oxidation offers a fresh scone scent, with a touch of honey, making us think that there is some influence from the Green Leafhopper. It is very likely that this note is subtle due to the fact that it had rained very near harvest time, which is said to dilute or dissipate the chemical compounds that are responsible for this character of flavor. The texture is smooth and balanced, with delicate complexity.