Indiegogo update: Non-organic farms in the vicinity of Mr. Lin's farm?A few people have asked about non-organic farms in the vicinity of Mr. Lin's farm and possible water run-off. Great question, here's the answer:
There are a few non-organic tea farms further up the valley, but directly above Mr. Lin's farm on the same mountainside there is only forest for more than 1km. There is no downhill water drainage from other farms. The nearest uphill conventional farm is over 1 km away and on a different slope of the mountain. On the access road to Mr. Lin's farm, there is only one other farm that is also more than 1 km away and on the opposite side of this micro-valley. There are no other established farms, other than the harvesting of wild bamboo shoots from the bamboo forests that pervade the slopes at this elevation.
The stream that runs adjacent to Mr. Lin's (where he draws from only when irrigation is necessary, which is not often) does not pass nearby the nearest uphill farm. Mr. Lin's water source is a small tributary running along a cliff adjacent to his farm that flows out of a nearby forested ravine.
These are steep mountain valleys and to our knowledge underground drainage is not possible in this type of terrain. Above this level elevation, there is no irrigation source available at all and most high elevation tea farms in this area rely solely on fog and precipitation.
We will provide documentation in Chinese and English (we’re waiting on the English) for the inspection of water, soil and tea leaves. All of these have passed the strictest standards of organic certifcation employed in Taiwan by http://www.tw-toc.com/en/index.asp
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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.