Last Sunday was the annual gathering of tea lovers from all over Taiwan to partake in the largest tea party on the island, and perhaps in the world. Roughly 2500 people of all ages sat down on a field to simply enjoy tea together. Each designated host brought their own style of tea brewing to the event to share with their guests. Here is our friend Penny, the national champion in the Elementary School Tea Brewing Competition representing her local culture from Lugu, Taiwan.
This is the first year since the event began 6 years ago that I did not brew tea, but instead was part of the working staff. This afforded me the opportunity to walk around and see the seemingly endless variety of tea brewing styles that each host designed and performed for their guests. It was really an amazing spectacle to behold. And it represented in living form the pervasive tea culture that is alive and thriving in Taiwan.
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!