Spring Harvest 2014 Report #1 - Winter into Spring
April 03, 2014
The weather this spring started out cold and dry – basically an extended winter season. This delayed the growing season of spring tea, particularly at higher elevations and in more northern areas. The extended winter conditions are mostly seen as positive - allowing the plants to “hibernate” or remain in their dormant phase. In the last couple weeks spring weather has arrived with warmer temperatures and frequent rainfall. If it continues this way, and does not proceed to rain too much or too little, prospects are looking good – especially for higher elevation areas.
State of growth as of Sunday March 30, 2014 in Lugu Township, Nantou Taiwan. 600m.
Mr. Xie has been producing significant quantities of GABA Oolong Tea for several years, but this is the first batch of GABA tea that he processed as a Black Tea. After sharing his hand-picked, naturally farmed GABA Oolong that had been aged for a full year last July, we are excited to share this batch that was harvested last June, and aged 9 months. While these time periods do not qualify as "aging" tea, they do allow the composition of the leaves to mellow and offer a richer, more full-bodied character.
What is called "red tea" (紅茶 / 红茶) in Chinese is known as Black Tea in English. Taiwan has its own special Black Tea named Red Jade Black Tea due to its luminescent reddish-ochre brew. Also known as Taiwan Tea No. 18, Red Jade Black Tea is a hybrid of the Assam tea plant and the wild tea tree that grows naturally in the mountain forests of Taiwan.
After years of honing his GABA tea making skills using Oolong processing methods, Mr. Xie decided to process this harvest as a GABA Black Tea for the first time. The entire harvest amounted to less than 20 kg, and by the time we found out about it, there was barely enough to be shared with our Tea Club members!