FREE GLOBAL SHIPPING ON ORDERS $35 OR MORE.

The Eco-Cha Tea Club: Award Winning Alishan High Mountain Oolong

May 05, 2016

Andy takes a stroll onto the highest tea garden on the hill above Zhangshuhu in Alishan Country.

The Alishan mountain range is the southernmost renowned place name of Taiwan's world famous High Mountain Oolong Tea. The Tropic of Cancer runs straight through this region, and this latitude offers an abundance of a unique quality of sunlight that is considered ideal for tea cultivation. The warmer, sunnier climate at high elevation is what has given the name Alishan its Oolong fame. Our source has worked closely with a handful of farmers in this region for years to cultivate and process a quality of tea that has won him numerous awards in various tea competitions of Central Taiwan.

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.

 


Andy's snapshot from a tea factory window in Taihe, just down the hill from Zhangshuhu.

 

The initial wave of High Mountain Tea popularity that began over 20 years ago made the greener, minimally oxidized, unroasted type the the tea of choice. This was mainly due to marketing a product that is more easily produced in high volume, as it is less labor-intensive and requires less finesse to provide a consistent quality. Thanks to the tea professionals at the Tea Research And Extension Station in cooperation with local farmers' associations, recent trends have accentuated the special qualities of each tea producing region, based on their history and agricultural potential. We are confident in saying that the tea being made in the Alishan region by tea makers following the recently set standards of local competitions is superior to the commercialized greener oolongs with minimal oxidation and no post production roasting.

 

This batch of tea is made from Qing Xin Oolong tea leaves cultivated in the Alishan region and prepared for local competitions in Alishan and Meishan Townships. It is a combination of last winter's harvest from four separate high elevation tea gardens in the Alishan region. After receiving the competition results, our source uses the small amounts of surplus tea leaves from each entry that achieved awards to offer to his friends and local customers. He combines these remaining amounts of tea leaves of very similar quality and character and delicately roasts them to achieve a balanced flavor and consistency. The overall amount of this combined batch was just enough to share with our tea club members. This is why we created this exclusive tea club, to share these unique batches of premium quality tea that are just too small for public sale.

Our friend who shared this batch with us says their is no significant difference in the degree of roasting between the initial competition batches and this combined batch. We feel that this combination of award winning teas of the same competition standards that have been subtly roasted to achieve an integrated consistency offers a substance and quality that surpasses the individual batches on their own. It is an exceptionally smooth and balanced High Mountain Oolong that leaves us spellbound by its fresh yet full-bodied and integrated character.

 

A well-worn rack of hand-woven bamboo trays that are used for the critical indoor withering phase of processing Oolong tea. The tea leaves are shuffled by hand on these trays at intervals spanning many hours to achieve the desired oxidation effect. These trays are often no longer used in large modern tea factories. 

 

We look forward to hearing your experience of this unique blend of award winning batches of Alishan High Mountain Oolong. Share your words, photos, and/or videos of tasting this tea with your fellow club members!

 





Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.


Also in News

Comparing Seasonal Batches Of Loose Leaf Oolong Tea
Comparing Seasonal Batches Of Loose Leaf Oolong Tea

July 11, 2018

The inspiration for this post began when we first tasted our spring batches of tea this year. Especially for the three teas that we'll take a look at here, we immediately thought upon tasting each of them, they are noticeably different from last winter's batch. So first, let's list the main points to observe in comparing seasonal batches from the same source of tea.

View full article →

Eco-Cha Jin Xuan GABA Tea dried leaves
Eco-Cha Tea Club: Eco-Farmed Jin Xuan GABA Tea Tasting Notes

July 06, 2018

This month's batch of tea being shared with the Eco-Cha Tea Club continues to intrigue us. It has qualities of a delicate Black Tea, with the complexity and depth that defines Oolong Tea. It's mild in character, but very substantial and well balanced in its flavor profile. Smooth on the palate, with tangy, fruity notes, and a lasting heady finish. It's got that composition that keeps you refilling your cup to get more!

View full article →

Eco-Farm tea farm in Taiwan
Eco-Cha Tea Club: Eco-Farmed Jin Xuan GABA Tea

July 02, 2018

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.

View full article →