Lugu Farmers' Association Dong Ding Oolong Spring Tea Competition 2014 - Part Two
Last Sunday, I observed the final team of five senior judges at work.
At this point in the judging process, about 20% of the total amount of tea entries remained to be ranked among the 5,882 overall participants. Prior to this, 6 teams comprised of 5 professional judges each were overseen by 3 advisors to determine the rankings of the entire lot of tea entries in the world's largest Oolong Tea competition. Through a complex system developed over the last 30 years or so, the teas were closely examined to determine their overall quality among a vast array of artisan-crafted Dong Ding Oolong Tea.
In the initial phases of the judging process, the teas are categorized into four levels of quality: A,B,C, and D. By the end of the initial phase, those entries that fall into the D category (up to 30% of the total entries) are disqualified from the competition. Those rated in the C category (roughly 30% of the total entries) are given the grade of two plum blossoms and are marketed at a significant margin above the standard regional market price. Those in the B category (about 20% of the total entries) are given the grade of three plum blossoms and can be sold for significantly more than their two blossom competitors.
The remaining A category (about 20%) qualifies for further judging and ranking by the senior team of judges. From this category, approximately 4% will be removed from the A category by the senior judges to receive a three plum blossom ranking. The final 16% or so of total entries will be ranked among 3rd Class (9%), Second Class (5%), and First Class (頭等 － 2%) with only the remaining top ten of the First Class entries along with the Champion Prize Winning Tea to be ranked.
The final results of the competition will be posted publicly on Thursday May 22nd. You can imagine the level of anticipation among the local artisans (only residents of Lugu Township can enter the competition) who are waiting to see how their best batch of the season ranks among their peers in the most prestigious Oolong Tea competition in the world!
Leave a comment
Comments will be approved before showing up.
Also in News
The medium oxidized leaves have undergone extensive, repeated roastings that have resulted in a very balanced, integrated character. The initial steepings offer a freshly cut wood aroma with a toasted nutty flavor. This proceeds to open up into a sweeter, more complex profile that is strikingly reminiscent of roasted winter vegetables, including parsnip, caramelized onion and butternut squash.
Mr. Zhang's father cultivated tea on their homesteaded land in Xiaobantian, on the southside of Lugu Township, where he grew up in the midst of traditional tea making. At 20 something, he decided to embody his local tradition by clearing land to cultivate his own plot of tea. For the last 20 years, he has managed his own humble, privately owned plot of tea. Throughout this period, he also acquired seasonal work in tea factories in Lugu, Shanlinxi, Alishan, Fanzaitian, and Lishan. In a word, he learned the ropes of tea making in a comprehensive way, like most tea farmers of his generation. Lugu hosts the highest concentration of tea makers in Taiwan, and is a hub of specialty tea making culture.