Less Rain In Taiwan Means Smaller Spring Tea Harvest
April 08, 2015
It was a minimal spell of rainy weather we had a couple weeks ago that offered a brief respite from the island-wide shortage of precipitation. We were excited to announce the late arrival of spring rains, only to experience mostly clear skies again a few days later.
In mountainous regions, there has been intermittent rain, but nothing like the typical continuous rainy weather we normally get at this time of year. The consequence of this in tea country is basically less spring tea to be harvested.
Lower elevations have been harvesting the over last couple weeks, and some farmers report a yield of about half the normal amount. Mid-elevation farms have begun harvesting in the last week with similar reports.
We'll keep you posted on the weather as well as the fresh batches of spring tea that we taste and procure while it lasts.
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!