This past year has been an exciting adventure for our Eco-Cha Tea Club members and there have been a lot of great rare teas and fun extras. Here are a few that really stand out for us.
A really unique tea that defies categorization - Tieguanyin tea trees grown in the heart of Dong Ding Oolong country. It really stood out because of the tangy citrus notes paired with a sweet roasted character. The flavour of this tea embodies the complexity of traditional Oolong tea. It's a great example of how tea masters in this region are using their depth of knowledge about tea to create new styles.
This tea really stood out because this farmer doesn't normally produce tea from this garden in the summer. In this rare situation he decided that a selective harvest would benefit the plants. The tangy sweetness and peach cobbler notes of this tea was balanced by a very light roasted character. The light roasting and higher levels of oxidation add complexity to the flavour profile of the tea.
Bug-bitten tea leaves are very unpredictable and it takes a lot of skill and experience to bring out the right characteristics in the finished tea. This farmer decided that it would take higher degree of oxidation to bring out the honey notes in the tea. We love this tea because he really hit the mark. There was a distinct honey fragrance with balanced sweet and bitter properties making a complex heady brew. A pure joy to drink, especially in the colder weather.
What was your favourite tea from the club this year? If you're not a member, which one would you most like to try?
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The most commonly referred to trait in Leafhopper Tea is a honey-essence note in the fragrance as well as the flavor profile. This hint of honey varies greatly from batch to batch of "bug bitten tea", as it is also referred to locally. But the most general characteristic of this tea type is its bold complexity of aroma and flavor. It simply has a substance that clearly distinguishes it from a standard High Mountain Tea.
Above we see a local tea picker turning in freshly picked leaves to be weighed and recorded for commission. These new-growth, tender leaves were harvested on a beautiful sunny day at about 1500 meters elevation in the Shan Lin Xi tea growing region in southern Nantou County, central Taiwan.
Our expressed intention in sharing this batch of tea is to offer Eco-Cha Tea Club members a chance to experience the original unroasted flavor profile of a tea type that, in the local Taiwanese dialect, is simply called "Leafhopper Tea".