Lower elevation areas (Mingjian, Nantou) and southern areas (Meishan, Chiayi) have already been harvesting for the last 2-3 weeks. The machine harvested low elevation teas have produced an unusually low-volume yield due to the late spring. With machine harvesting, it is necessary to harvest the top (first) growth off the bush before it becomes too mature. The plants responded to the early weather conditions by growing a bit erratically, in clumps of growth spurts rather than more evenly distributed across the surface. Hence, the yield was low. Perhaps the late spring harvest to follow will be more normal, and probably less than two months from now.
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The most commonly referred to trait in Leafhopper Tea is a honey-essence note in the fragrance as well as the flavor profile. This hint of honey varies greatly from batch to batch of "bug bitten tea", as it is also referred to locally. But the most general characteristic of this tea type is its bold complexity of aroma and flavor. It simply has a substance that clearly distinguishes it from a standard High Mountain Tea.
Above we see a local tea picker turning in freshly picked leaves to be weighed and recorded for commission. These new-growth, tender leaves were harvested on a beautiful sunny day at about 1500 meters elevation in the Shan Lin Xi tea growing region in southern Nantou County, central Taiwan.
Our expressed intention in sharing this batch of tea is to offer Eco-Cha Tea Club members a chance to experience the original unroasted flavor profile of a tea type that, in the local Taiwanese dialect, is simply called "Leafhopper Tea".