Free global shipping on orders $35 or more!

Eco-Cha Tea Club: Aged Harbor Tea

March 02, 2017 1 Comment

This month's batch of Aged Harbor Tea that is being shared with the Eco-Cha Tea Club comes from the most unique source of tea we've discovered to date. Located along the coast near the southernmost tip of the island, it stands alone both in its story and character. In the image above, Mr. and Mrs. Zhu proudly present their inherited family tradition that they have innovated upon to make a unique type of tea.

The other handful of families who continue this local tradition produce a type of green tea from their heirloom crops of Wuyi tea plants. Over 30 years ago, Mr. Zhu followed the advice of Taiwan's Tea Research and Extension Station and did an internship at their facility in northern Taiwan to learn how to process tea in a similar fashion to Dong Ding Oolong. He was also advised to choose one batch of tea a year to age for at least eight years, roasting it lightly every second year to offer a specialty selection of produce from their tea farm. And after visiting them in their home several times in recent years, we decided we simply must share this unique find.

The name of this tiny village on the bank of a small river where it meets the Pacific is simply named "Gangkou", meaning harbor. A Chinese merchant marine settled here in the late 19th century, and at some point brought over tea saplings from Wuyi Mountain in Fujian Province. The tea trees survived the journey, and this anomaly in tea cultivation on Taiwan's south coast continues to this day. The conventional standards of tea cultivation just don't apply here. It is simply a historical anomaly combined with modern advancements in tea processing that have led to a type of tea that is specific to the couple in the top photo. Now their grandson has accepted the responsibility of continuing the family tradition.

Grandpa Zhu is a quiet man, at least when foreigners like us sit down at his tea table, despite our ability to talk Taiwan tea in a language he understands. He just doesn't have a lot to say. Rather he cordially accepts his guests and responds to our questions with few words. We accept this, despite the fact that we really would LOVE to hear his life story at length and in detail! Nevertheless, we are truly grateful to just sit at his table and be served his personal legacy — a simple, yet unique pot of Wuyi tea that was cultivated and cured in unique circumstances.

Mrs. Zhu is considerably more accessible, and willing to entertain our questions and offer a more detailed account of their story as innovative tea producers in their community. She avidly relates how their tea is cultivated completely naturally, with no chemical fertilizers or pesticides whatsoever. And also relates that the quantity of their produce is so small that they only have it tested when the county government pays for it, as a promotion of their local legacy. They are both still quite active in the processing and curing of their tea, but are slowly handing over the work of farm management to their grandson.

 

The Zhu family reserves about 60 kg of their total annual yield (of less than 300 kg) to be aged for approximately 10 years, with multiple roastings over this time. When we visited last October, they had just done the final roasting of the latest batch of aged tea. After discussing the intricacies of roasting and aging, we concurred that it was best to wait a few months for this newly roasted batch to "resettle" and mellow a bit. Now, five months later, we think it's at its prime. Eco-Cha is proud to play its part in sustaining this truly unique and little known historical tradition that a new generation has committed to keeping alive.





1 Response

richard brandt
richard brandt

March 24, 2018

Really good! Delicious! Supersizing how green the leaves yet how dark the brew. It’s got great caramel/honey notes but still with a warm dried hay taste. Very low astringency with lots of sweet after taste.

Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.


Also in News

Eco-Cha Tea Club: Red Oolong Tasting Notes
Eco-Cha Tea Club: Red Oolong Tasting Notes

December 07, 2018

Appearance of the dried leaves is the first step in assessing any loose leaf tea. We can see by the coloration that these leaves are partially oxidized, with both green hues and darker tones. This is the first sign that it is a traditionally made Oolong tea. In recent trends, tea made in this fashion has been given the name "hong Oolong" or Red Oolong. It's actually just a new name for an old recipe.

View full article →

Eco-Cha Tea Club: Red Oolong Tea
Eco-Cha Tea Club: Red Oolong Tea

December 03, 2018

This is what inspired us to share this batch of tea that was produced in Nantou County. We consider this batch of tea to be properly named Red Oolong, simply because the leaves are obviously only partially oxidized. The flavor of the tea has aspects of a Black Tea character while maintaining the fragrant, aromatic complexity of an Oolong.

View full article →

The Science of How Tea Can Prolong Our Lifespan
The Science of How Tea Can Prolong Our Lifespan

November 25, 2018

Drinking tea can actually help protect the health of our DNA, which can prolong our lives. Research has shown that a healthy habit of tea drinking may extend our lives up to five years! 
 
A large group of older Chinese men who drank 3 cups or more of tea daily recorded longer telomere lengths, and almost five years of added life, compared with people who drank one cup or less. The study, published in the British Journal of Nutrition, applies to green and black tea.

View full article →