What's Special About Eco-Cha Tea Club Batch #3?

January 27, 2016 0 Comments

In our previous post, we gave a brief description of Batch #3, along with its source, and how this tea is a perfect match in terms of what Eco-Cha aspires to promote in our involvement with the local specialty tea industry here in Taiwan. So now we just want to talk about the tea itself, and how we determine this batch to be a unique find, and why it qualifies as our next choice for the Eco-Cha Tea Club.

Above is a shot of Andy visiting his tea friend of 20 years — Ms. Guo, as they sit and brew a pot of this month's tea — a batch of organically cultivated Jin Xuan Oolong that has been medium roasted by her husband, Mr Lee. Mr. Lee procured this batch of tea from a friend's winter 2015 harvest because he specializes in "bug-bitten tea". This is a category of tea that goes beyond the standard specialty classifications of cultivar, terrior, heirloom strain, and traditional processing methods. It is in a class of its own because it is the result of a natural effect of a particular insect that feeds on the sap of the tea leaves during their early growth phase. This "bug-bitten effect" is completely unpredictable due to the fact that it is not possible to control the extent of the Green Leaf Hopper's effect on the organically grown tea leaves. Consequently, this batch-specific condition of the harvested leaves requires risk-taking, intuitive skills in processing that are on a completely different level of tea making than any standard production of tea. This is why we hold this type of tea in highest esteem. It is by definition a batch-specific, local specialty that involves innovative methods of production to make a tea that no one else can replicate.

This type of tea originally became famous under the name Oriental Beauty, which is a regional specific tea produced in northern Taiwan. In the last 15 years or so, tea producers all over Taiwan have been cautiously exploring the natural production of tea that involves the participation of the Green Leaf Hopper. We are dedicated fans of this exploration. We can only believe that this was the way tea was produced before modern agriculture was introduced, involving pest control with the objective of maximum yield and consistency. While this is a valid agricultural goal that allows for responsible production, it is also the antithesis of traditionally made, pre-modern tea production. We have a pointed interest in supporting specialty tea production that involves natural cultivation and skilled processing methods. This is the crux of artisan tea. We found a batch of tea from the most recent harvest of winter that represents this, and are excited to share it with our club members who have made a commitment to having a share in our exploration of teas that are not found elsewhere. 

Beyond the natural cultivation methods employed by local, family-run farms who have generations of experience in traditional tea making, we are also interested in the specialized production of Jin Xuan tea. This is a hybrid strain of Qing Xin Oolong cross-bred with the naturally occurring wild tea tree in Taiwan that possesses inherent immune system genetic traits that allow it to thrive in the local environment. Only in recent years has this strain been made as a traditional Oolong rather than the minimally oxidized, unroasted production methods that this tea type is commonly produced. In our experience, Jin Xuan excels in these production methods. When Jin Xuan tea leaves are sufficiently oxidized and roasted to the appropriate degree, as traditionally made tea is — according to seasonal conditions, it offers a fine quality, substantial brew that stands apart from the "green Oolong" that has been popularized by large scale tea production. We are excited to introduce Jin Xuan Oolong as a traditionally made tea rather than a minimally processed tea in order to let you know what is involved in the making of an artisan tea.






Also in News

Eco-Farmed GABA Oolong Tea Tasting Notes | Eco-Cha Tea Club
Eco-Farmed GABA Oolong Tea Tasting Notes | Eco-Cha Tea Club

January 15, 2022 0 Comments

Batch 74, six plus years of sourcing singular batch teas to share with the Eco-Cha Tea Club each month ... And we find ourselves just sitting and staring at these dried leaves.... Reminding us that we are not at all tired of exploring the world of boutique tea, and sharing our experience of the things we find to be particularly special. This batch of Eco-Farmed GABA Oolong Tea pretty much covers the bases in this respect. It is very small batch, harvested by a family of organic tea farmers that are literally trailblazers in their community. AND, we think they make the best GABA tea we've ever tasted!

View full article →

Eco-Farmed GABA Oolong Tea | Eco-Cha Tea Club
Eco-Farmed GABA Oolong Tea | Eco-Cha Tea Club

January 14, 2022 0 Comments

Batch 74 of the Eco-Cha Tea Club is an Eco-Farmed GABA Oolong Tea. We coined the term Eco-Farmed to represent tea that is sourced from a certified organic tea farm, without representing the certification itself. This farm is not only certified organic, but it is managed with the most natural farming methods we've seen in the local tea industry here in Taiwan. He has pioneered these farming methods, and after 20 years of challenging research, is now successfully managing several plots of tea and producing specialty types of organic tea.

View full article →

Taiwan high mountain tea harvest in a tea field
Top 5 Taiwan Teas in 2021 | Eco-Cha Teas

January 13, 2022 0 Comments

Taiwan many kinds of tea but have you ever wondered what's the most popular? Well, we've compiled an overview of our top 5 best selling Taiwan Teas of 2021 to offer some perspective on the popular names in Taiwan Tea.

View full article →