We were honored to have our friend and skilled tea artisan, Young, in attendance for the inaugural Eco-Cha Tea Class. He played the role of attendee until we (surprise) announced that he grew the tea we were all drinking. We finished off with Young taking questions and talking about how the tea was made.
Cold brewed Oolong Tea was waiting for attendees to sip on as they arrived. We brewed three different oolongs both hot and cold for a comparison. Have a look at the color difference between the unroasted, lightly-roasted, and heavily-roasted oolongs in the photos below.
Objective of the class was...
1. Learn the basics of how oolong tea is made and what make's it special.
2. Taste 3 different types of oolong, get a sense of the differences.
3. Know how to brew oolong and have an idea of the types of oolong you like.
The table set up at an Eco-Cha Tea Tasting looked like this...Everyone had a tea judging set, tea to brew, a notebook, tea towel, and tea to take home. This time we brewed Shan Lin Xi High Mountain Oolong Tea, High Mountain Concubine Oolong Tea, and Dong Ding Oolong Tea. Three distinct flavors and types of oolong.
We brewed these three teas in standard judging sets, starting with the lightest tea, moving through to the deepest flavored tea. This process allowed everyone to get a feel for what oxidation and roasting does to the flavors of tea leaves. We moved through three infusions of each tea and observed how the tea changed with each brew.
The two gentlemen we had sitting in the front row were 3rd generation Oolong Tea makers. We had a special surprise for the attendees when we announced that the people who made the tea we were drinking were here and ready to chat all about the tea making process.
By the end of the class everyone had a good sense of what unroasted, medium roasted, and heavily roasted oolong tastes like, just how easy they are to brew at home, and how to chose the oolong for them.
Thanks to Scott from Scott's Laboratory and The Factory- Mojocoffee for lending us his beautiful classroom for this tea tasting. If you're drinking coffee in Taichung, make sure it's at Scott's place!
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We recently visited Mr. Liu when we hosted a visitor from Italy who was keen on experiencing the local tea culture. Our guest was truly elated to be served tea by a true artisan of the trade. Mr. Liu served us three different teas that were all locally harvested this past spring. They varied only in their degree oxidation and roasting. And the one that was sufficiently oxidized, but only lightly roasted, immediately impressed us.