Spring Tea: Final Harvest In, About Ready To Share!

June 01, 2015

We know that many of our loyal customers have been waiting patiently for us to announce the arrival of our spring tea selections. There are specific reasons why our spring teas arrive when they do, and we thought we'd share the main ones. The most basic reason however, is that we like to offer our full seasonal menu at once, rather than in stages, so that our customers have a full range of selections to choose from. The good news, in short is, our spring teas will be up for sale this week!

Spring tea harvest season in Taiwan typically spans over 3 months. It starts in March at low elevation, and continues through April and May as the tea leaves reach maturity at successively higher elevations. Some years, the highest elevation teas are not harvested until early June. True Lishan or Dayuling tea is almost never harvested before mid-May. So waiting for these high elevation crops to be harvested and cured brings us to the end of May before we are ready to present our spring selections.

There are other reasons that influence our procurement of spring teas. Namely, tea roasting (which can be a month-long process before the leaves are ready to be vacuum-sealed), and the "tea competition season".

We have learned to wait until right after the time for entering batches of teas in local competitions has past, particularly the largest and most prestigious competition at the Lugu Farmers' Association. This is because our sources are extremely busy and stressed out trying to deal with many different tasks at once. They are busy tasting and determining which batches of tea they will enter for competition, and then preparing them for entry. This preparation includes destemming the tea leaves, and depending on the competition, can involve up to 40 hours of roasting to be done, per entry. Many artisans enter several batches per competition, and there are many regional competitions. They are also busy meeting the demands of persistent local merchants doing their best to source competition grade teas.

So if we can be patient and wait until this work is done, we have found it to be to our advantage. We do not wish to compete with the local competition players. It's just not our game. We have learned that the tea that is available after the artisans have submitted their entries to be comparable, if not equal in quality, to what they have chosen. We have also learned that we are given a lot more time and consideration from our sources if we let them get through their frantic rush time and visit them when the pressure is off. We also know that we will get flat rates for the tea that has not been entered into competition (often simply because there wasn't time to prepare it).

In short, we've found it to be a win-win situation to scout out the overall harvest situation, starting with the earliest harvests, and wait until harvesting is done and competition entries have been submitted. This brings us into May. Then, within the next 2-3 weeks, we can source our highest elevation teas that have just been freshly harvested. These teas are made to be left unroasted, so are available immediately after harvest. This is why we offer our spring teas as late as June – simply because it's when all we have to offer of the best spring tea we can find is ready to share. So, within a matter of days, we will post our fresh spring selections for you to peruse and choose!

 





Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.


Also in News

Alishan High Mountain Black Tea
Alishan High Mountain Black Tea Tasting Notes| Eco-Cha Tea Club

November 09, 2019 1 Comment

Eco-Cha Tea Club's batch #48 is Alishan High Mountain Black Tea. It has a very balanced, integrated flavor profile, and offers subtle notes of a Qing Xin Oolong. The brewed leaves still have a greenish hue, even though the stems are quite reddish, indicating nearly full oxidation. It is an interesting hybrid of tea types, but definitely acts more like a Black Tea made from the small leaf type Qing Xin strain.

View full article →

Alishan High Mountain Black Tea| Eco-Cha Tea Club
Alishan High Mountain Black Tea| Eco-Cha Tea Club

November 08, 2019

Batch #48 of the Eco-Cha Tea Club is an Alishan High Mountain Black Tea. Our source of Alishan High Mountain Oolong and Alishan High Mountain Jin Xuan Oolong makes Black Tea from his summer crop of Qing Xin Oolong tea leaves. The summer crop is actually a bumper crop from their spring harvest. The new leaf growth that was too immature to pick at spring harvest is allowed to continue growing to at least half maturity before it is harvested and processed as Small Leaf Black Tea.

View full article →

Singular Batch Traditional Oolong Tea | Labor Of Love Oolong
Singular Batch Traditional Oolong Tea | Labor Of Love Oolong

October 24, 2019

This very small fall harvest of naturally cultivated Oolong leaves was painstakingly processed by a father and son team who are top representatives of their local tea industry. The most inspiring fact is that the son is wholeheartedly inheriting his family's tradition, and this small batch of tea is testimony to that.

The name "Hong Shui (Red Water) Oolong" has been a buzzword in Oolong circles in recent years. But the tea makers who have inherited their local tradition say that this is simply a new name for tea processed like their grandfathers taught them. It used to just be called "Oolong Tea"! 

View full article →