2015 Winter Harvest: The Beginning

October 30, 2015 3 Comments

This photo below is the first crop of winter High Mountain Oolong tea I saw being processed this year. It was taken on Hehuan Mountain in a factory run by a guy I met at the Nantou Global Tea Expo a few weeks ago. His farm is in Lushan, a remote high elevation region south of Qilaishan. He is a young farmer who married into the business, and co-operates the farm and factory with his father-in-law. His progressive ideology is inspiring and gives me renewed hope about maintaining the highest quality and most responsible practice in high mountain tea production in Taiwan.

The second crop I observed being processed was harvested in the Shanlinxi region, at Liu Kuan Bao's factory, a friend I've known for almost 20 years. Our current source of Shanlinxi High Mountain Oolong and Dong Ding Oolong is renting Mr. Liu's factory to process his winter harvest. 

The guys sitting in the background in the photo above are leading experts in the production of both High Mountain Oolong and Dong Ding Oolong. I showed up at the tea factory for the first batch of winter tea harvest being supervised by some of the most skilled professionals I know. Both the manager of the farm and the manager of the processing are tea judges in the world's largest Oolong Tea competition, and they are both friends of mine. I haven't tasted the finished product, but I did take home a handful of semi-dried leaves from the factory that night and brewed it the next day, about 24 hours after the leaves were picked. It was really floral, balanced and fresh tasting. I'll see what I can do to get at least a small amount of this batch, as I personally already find it special. It was the first time that I hung out with both of them at the same time while tea was being made in the factory, and it was a bonding experience. They were both relaxed, as the first day was an isolated sort of "pilot run' for the season's harvest which will start tomorrow and run for several days. 

The third factory I visited is probably my favorite factory to hang out and lend a helping hand in when I can, and this night I could. My good friend, the son of the older man in the photo below, has fallen ill, and his father and nephew were processing the leaves by themselves. Two people can do it, but three make the flow much easier for certain stages of the tea making. So this harvest was extra meaningful for me to be there and support one of my favorite sources of traditional Dong Ding Oolong Tea.

So the winter harvest continues, starting at the highest elevations, where typically only three harvests a year are possible, and working its way down the mountainsides where the world's best Oolong Tea is cultivated. I plan to visit several more factories before the harvest is complete, so more news to come about winter harvest 2015!





3 Responses

Andy Kincart
Andy Kincart

November 10, 2015

Peter and Jim,
Thanks for your responses. The most rewarding thing about our work is when people like you express your appreciation for us sharing our experiences in the world of tea here in Taiwan. We are continually grateful to be able to share this culture that has become the main focus of our lives.

Peter Jones
Peter Jones

November 02, 2015

Thank you for continuing to post information and photos. It is great to continue to learn about the people behind the tea, the harvests, and tea in Taiwan in general. Really looking forward to this winter’s harvest. Can’t wait to have this in the cafe.

Jim Allen
Jim Allen

November 01, 2015

Very cool story. Thank you for sharing.
What an honor and privilege for you to participate in this experience. Wow!
I can’t wait to try these.

Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.


Also in News

Alishan high mountain jin xuan oolong tea farm
Alishan High Mountain Jin Xuan Oolong Summer 2020: Buttered Love

June 21, 2020

This batch of Alishan High Mountain Jin Xuan Oolong summer 2020 harvest has a very pronounced buttery character. Starting with the leaves put into the pre-heated tea judging cup, they exuded a pronounced buttered toast/popcorn aroma. But the flavor profile is replete with an uncanny buttered popcorn note, it's almost unbelievable! How can tea leaves do this?! It's not only buttered popcorn either! There are distinct floral and vegetal notes that balance out the incredulous and delicious buttered popcorn flavor. OK, enough repetitive description! Click here to get your share.

View full article →

Wenshan Bazhong dried tea leaves
Competition Grade Wenshan Baozhong Tea Tasting Notes| Eco-Cha Tea Club

June 18, 2020 1 Comment

This is what an award winning Wenshan Baozhong Tea looks like, in its dry leaf state, of course. Notice the uniformity in the size and coloration of the leaves. The yellow hues are only in the spine of the leaves, which would naturally protrude into a stem, but the stems have been removed, along with the larger, lighter colored, over-matured leaf stock. This uniformity of leaf material offers a pure flavor profile. It allows for a complexity of aromatic and flavor notes, but it comes from a uniform stock which is essential in producing a purity of character. This is a fundamental aspect of competition grade tea. It's not muddled. It's refined.

View full article →

Wenshan Baozhong tea field
Competition Grade Wenshan Baozhong Tea | Eco-Cha Tea Club

June 14, 2020

Batch #55 of the Eco-Cha Tea Club is an award-winning Wenshan Baozhong Tea that was entered in the recent spring tea competition of the local Farmers' Association. Preparation for competition involves removing the bulkier stems from the leaves, and also sorting the leaves by coloration to achieve the most uniform stock of leaf material possible. 

View full article →