Spring Harvest Report 2014 #8 - Waiting For Jade Oolong
April 28, 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.
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!