Spring Harvest Report 2014 #9 - Spring Rain's Late Arrival
May 06, 2014
Central Taiwan has finally gotten some rain this past week, but interspersed with some bright sunny mornings in tea country.
This photo was taken on Sunday morning in the Shan Lin Xi High Mountain Oolong region from the balcony of a tea factory. On Saturday afternoon a storm came through when we first arrived, but had cleared by nightfall. Our tea farmer friends got lucky in scheduling their harvest for this sunny morning, as Monday morning brought more rain.
We had planned to visit our Organic High Mountain tea source on He Huan Mountain today to observe and assist in their spring harvest, but rain in northern Nantou County delayed their harvest. Now they must scramble to schedule a team of tea pickers for a later date. This is no easy task, as tea pickers are in highest demand for the remaining of the harvest season. We hope to be able to join them for their rescheduled date.
These leaves were harvested by hand from the residential farm that is our ongoing source of Dong Ding Oolong Tea. They were also de-stemmed by hand and roasted extensively to meet the competition standard. The brewed tea has a bold roasted character that is balanced out by a rich, smooth textured and complex flavor profile. It is reminiscent of fire-roasted yams and butternut squash.
This month's edition of the Eco-Cha Tea Club is from the same day's harvest of spring tea that our source received the Top 2% Award out of 750 odd participants in the spring 2019 competition. This month's batch of tea was prepared the same way as the award winning tea — removing the stems by hand and undergoing repeated roastings to meet the standard of quality set by this local competition. Only residents of this small community of traditional tea makers are eligible to enter this competition. But this is the heart of Dong Ding Oolong Country, and this community boasts the densest population of traditional Oolong Tea artisans in Taiwan, and probably in the world!
The complex aroma of the brewed tea leaves has subtle hints of a bug bitten character, but not very obvious. The sufficient oxidation offers a fresh scone scent, with a touch of honey, making us think that there is some influence from the Green Leafhopper. It is very likely that this note is subtle due to the fact that it had rained very near harvest time, which is said to dilute or dissipate the chemical compounds that are responsible for this character of flavor. The texture is smooth and balanced, with delicate complexity.