Charcoal Roasted Honey Oolong Tea: Eco-Cha Tea Club
This month's edition of the Eco-Cha Tea Club is from a crop of naturally culitvated Jin Xuan harvested in the summer of 2017. The leaves were significantly affected by the Green Leafhopper and other pests, so they were stunted and gnarled and far from the standard of quality that is commonly followed. But as our friend who sourced the raw leaves and processed them using traditional Oolong Tea making methods once told us "I'm more interested in odd and unusual tea!" (我現在比較喜歡奇奇怪怪的茶!). We tasted this batch of tea before it was aged a year and then Longan charcoal roasted, and aged again. We recognized the "bug bitten flavor", but found it a bit too "odd" to be suitable for sharing. Mr. Zhuang said that he planned to let it set, roast it, and let it set again. That was the last we heard about it... until recently.
A sample of this batch was offered to us a few months ago, when we asked if there was any remainder of the batch we shared in May of this year. Our May 2019 edition was procured and roasted by our friend who we met at our local swimming pool in Zhushan, Taiwan. Mr. Zhuang passed away suddenly in March, and we thought our May batch was the last available batch that he had charcoal roasted the previous winter.
We tasted the sample and found it to be very different than what we remembered tasting originally. It was mellowed, balanced, and much more complex. The appearance of the overly mature, heavily oxidized and tattered brewed leaves was hard to get past at first. But after brewing it several times, we finally accepted true beauty is not about appearances! So here it is, another memoir from our friend to be shared with our Tea Club members to begin our fifth year of the Eco-Cha Tea Club.
Let us know what you think about this batch of Charcoal Roasted Honey Oolong Tea, and also please post any questions you may have about this month's edition of the Eco-Cha Tea Club!
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Batch 63 of the Eco-Cha Tea Club was harvested in November 2020, processed, and then sorted to remove stem material and any discolored leaves in preparation for the winter 2020 competition and the New Taipei City Farmers's Association.
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