Eco-Cha Tea Club: Light Roast Phoenix Village Oolong Tea

June 13, 2018

Phoenix Village and Yonglong Village in Lugu Township, Nantou County, Taiwan Phoenix Village and Yonglong Village: The heart of traditional Dong Ding Oolong Tea 

The aerial shot above shows Phoenix Mountain shrouded in clouds in the background. The higher cluster of houses, surrounded by small family-owned tea gardens, is Phoenix Village, in Lugu /Township. This, and the neighboring Yonglong village, are home to the highest population of traditional Oolong Tea makers in Taiwan. Grandpa Liu, now 83, is an elder among these artisans, and our most revered representative of this local tradition.

Elder artisan of traditional Dong Ding Oolong Tea in Lugu TaiwanGrandpa Liu, a locally respected elder artisan of traditionally made Oolong Tea

We recently visited Mr. Liu when we hosted a visitor from Italy who was keen on experiencing the local tea culture. Our guest was truly elated to be served tea by a true artisan of the trade. Mr. Liu served us three different teas that were all locally harvested this past spring. They varied only in their degree oxidation and roasting. And the one that was sufficiently oxidized, but only lightly roasted, immediately impressed us.

3 different batches from spring 2018 harvest at different degrees of oxidation and roastingTasting three different batches of locally grown and traditionally made Oolong Tea

Everything about how this locally grown tea was harvested and processed was well done in the perception of Eco-Cha's sourcing director, Andy. And when he told Mr. Liu that he liked the middle one of the three teas the most, Grandpa Liu shared that he supervised the solar withering stage of its processing. This initial stage of Oolong Tea making sets the course for all the subsequent steps. The sufficiently mature leaves were properly "coaxed along" in their withering and oxidation process, and the care and decisive measures taken throughout the curing process resulted in an exceptional batch of Light Roast Oolong Tea from the heart of Oolong Country in Taiwan. Grandpa Liu also roasted this batch himself after procuring a portion of the batch from his neighbor and old friend.

Eco-Cha's sourcing director Andy with Grandpa Liu, his grandson, and Italian guest Fulvio Alba in the home of a world class artisan of Oolong Tea Eco-Cha's Andy, Mr. Liu's grandson, Mr. Liu, and Fulvio from Italy

Grandpa Liu's son is one of Andy's closest friends in Taiwan. Eco-Cha sourced our Dong Ding Oolong Tea from him for years, until he fell terminally ill and his family farm was repurposed. Andy continues to keep in touch with the family, and this was one of the more fortuitous visits in terms of discovering an exceptional batch of tea that was readily shared with us.

Lugu professional tea judge and local tea farmer Liu Bo Jia with Andy Kincart of Eco-ChaEco-Cha's Andy with his friend and tea professional Liu Bo Jia, January 2015

So we would like to dedicate this batch of tea to our dear friend who was the heir of his father's renowned skills as a traditional artisan of Dong Ding Ooolong Tea. Our friendship with Liu Bo Jia continues to provide us with fine batches of tea and unique connections within his local community. His father - Grandpa Liu, is and always will be our favorite, however.

Aerial closeup of Phoenix and Yonglong Villages in Lugu Township, TaiwanAerial view of Yonglong and Phoenix Village in Lugu Township, Taiwan

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