Free global shipping on orders $35 or more!

Spring Harvest Report 2014 #11- Shan Lin Xi High Mountain Oolong

May 15, 2014

Last weekend we procured our spring batch of Shan Lin Xi High Mountain Oolong from our favorite farmer in the area. This farm also produced our current stock of High Mountain Concubine Oolong.

Waiting for the harvest to be completed and the farmer to rest a couple days, I visited their home 3 days after their final day of harvest on May 8. The farmer brewed leaves from five separate days of harvest simultaneously for me to sample and compare. Due some intermittent rain, the harvest was spread out over 10 days. When the tea leaves are at their peak growing stage, this amount of time can be quite significant in producing different characteristics in the tea - based on the maturity of the leaves. The second most significant factor is the weather on the day of harvest. We discussed these main points and other details as I tasted and compared the brewed teas.

Generally, I prefer a more oxidized and fully-matured leaf that results in a mellower, more full-bodied brew. Yet as I compared these five distinctly different brews from five days of harvest, I was instantly sold on the first day of harvest made from the youngest leaves. What initially impressed me on the first steeping was the full flowery bouquet of aroma the leaves emitted as they brewed. This was by far the most fragrant brew - fresh green herbs with a subtle floral aroma - heady, yet delicate and not overwhelming.

The second harvest was also fresh and fragrant, but not as complex in its aroma - a more standard green high mountain oolong, which is quite popular here in Taiwan. The farmer noted that this was due to high clouds during the outdoor withering stage as opposed to sunny skies on the first day. The third day, harvested a full week later, was considerably more oxidized and hence more balanced and full-bodied.The later harvests were oxidized to a level that is suitable for making roasted oolongs.

Typically, the floral complexity of a younger, greener tea is compromised for a fuller, more subtle and balanced composition in a more oxidized tea leaf. I liked the third day a lot - smooth, delicious, with a lingering aftertaste. But this time, the aromatic bouquet of the first day won. So this spring's Shan Lin Xi High Mountain Oolong is a fine compliment to the leaves these same plants produced last summer in the form of our current High Mountain Concubine Oolong - a balanced, full-bodied, heartier brew.

This photo was taken about a week before spring harvest began:





Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.


Also in News

ECO-CHA TEA CLUB: GOLD MEDAL AWARD WINNING DONG DING CUI YU OOLONG TEA TASTING NOTES
ECO-CHA TEA CLUB: GOLD MEDAL AWARD WINNING DONG DING CUI YU OOLONG TEA TASTING NOTES

October 11, 2018

The hybrid strain of Cui Yu (翠玉), a.k.a. Tsui Yu, or Jade Oolong, can withstand traditional processing methods of heavier oxidation and roasting with good results. This hybrid strain that became popular in the late 1980's and 1990's along with Jin Xuan, is now becoming relatively rare. 

View full article →

Eco-Cha Tea Club: Gold Medal Award Winning Dong Ding Cui Yu Oolong Tea
Eco-Cha Tea Club: Gold Medal Award Winning Dong Ding Cui Yu Oolong Tea

October 06, 2018

This month's batch of tea being shared with the Eco-Cha Tea Club was entered into in the spring 2018 Nantou County Tea Trade Association's Dong Ding Tsui Yu (Cui Yu) Tea Competition, and received the Gold Medal Award. This award ranks within the top 5% of all entries.

View full article →

Shanlinxi High Mountain Oolong Tea harvest. Tea leaves being picked by hand.
Taiwan's Top Ten Most Famous Teas

September 14, 2018

Here's a list of the top 10 teas that Taiwan is most famous for, followed by a brief description of each one. The word Oolong refers to any type of partially oxidized tea i.e. from 5% to 85% oxidation. It also refers to specific processing methods that clearly distinguish it from Green and Black Tea types.

View full article →