Spring Harvest Report 2014 #8 - Waiting For Jade Oolong
April 29, 2014
Our source of Tsui Yu Jade Oolong (台茶13號) had an interesting story to tell when we asked him about spring harvest.
Due to the late arrival of spring proper in Taiwan, and colder, dryer weather at the beginning of growing season, the farmer trimmed his first growth on his plants that amounted to sparse shoots on the plants early in the season. This will allow him to harvest a more even growth that proceeded with the arrival of more typical weather a few weeks later. So what normally would have been harvested weeks ago at 400m elevation will start to be harvested in the next week for our Tsui Yu source. We look forward to tasting this "alternative" spring harvest.
We went up to film on the first day of spring harvest by our source of Shan Lin Xi High Mountain Oolong Tea. The early morning was sunny, but the fog rolled in early, and we were socked in by noon, diminishing our aspirations for getting lots of scenic drone footage! But this is representative of the daily weather — particularly in this micro-climate of a ravine that faces northeast.
The complex and somewhat addictive (it's very easy to drink copious amounts at one sitting!) character represents an authentic artisanal tea. This cultivar is not easily processed into a tea with this level of refined character. We attribute its quality to the man who unquestionably puts more effort and heart into producing extremely small batches of tea than anyone else we've met — by far!
Batch 66 of the Eco-Cha Tea Club is a Fo Shou Oolong Tea produced in Pinglin, Taiwan. The Chinese Fo Shou (佛手) means Buddha Hand. The name refers to the tea plant, or cultivar, which classifies as a large leaf type. This puts it in the category of Assam, and wild strains of tea, along with the Taiwanese hybrid cultivar — Red Jade #18.