We are excited to present a fine batch of Alishan High Mountain Oolong Tea — summer 2023! Taiwan has had much better weather during the second flush growing season, following drought conditions in early spring. And the weather during summer harvest has been auspiciously sunny!
We have two ongoing sources of our Alishan teas. Each harvest, we taste the daily batches of tea from both sources together to compare their individual characteristics, and choose the one we like most. This season we cupped five days of harvest — two from one source, and three from the other. After tasting all five together, over two infusions, we took a quick lunch break, and came back to brew three out of the five once again.
The bowls of tea in the photo above were arranged that way because we wanted to get a closer comparison of the appearance of the teas on the left an right. So we pulled the middle bowl back and the bowls on either side closer together. Their appearance was strikingly similar, as were their aroma and flavor profiles. The tea on the left had a more pronounced aroma. The tea on the right had a cleaner and more integrated flavor profile. We concluded that the batch of tea we brewed on the right was harvested from a more uniformly matured crop, which gave it a more refined overall character.
The batch on the right was most likely harvested from a plot of tea that was lightly pruned following the spring harvest. This would allow the new growth to sprout evenly and maturely more uniformly than if were just left to continue growing into the summer season — which was probably the case with the batch on the right. You can see some larger leaves in the bowl on the left — mixed with smaller, less mature leaves.
This is an example of what occurs in a typical cupping of a seasonal harvest from one or more sources. There are many factors to consider, and aspects to be assessed, which eventually lead to decisions made. All of the batches are quite similar — from the same environment, same season, same craftsman... and yet there are noticeable differences. In the end, it's a balance of subjective preference and objective assessment of overall quality.
Check out the tasting video below to see how the previous spring batch of Alishan Oolong compares with the new summer batch! Or even better, get some of this tea now!
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