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

Pure caffeine
How Much Caffeine is in Taiwan Oolong Tea

February 17, 2019 2 Comments

How much caffeine is in Oolong Tea or tea leaves in general isn't as cut and dry as many articles out there would have you believe. The majority of articles simply state how many milligrams of caffeine are in a cup of tea and ignore important factors like brewing temperature, ratio of water to leaves, brewing method, and the specific type of tea. Here, we look at the factors that affect how much caffeine there is Oolong Teas with a look at Taiwan Oolong Teas in particular.

View full article →

Eco-Cha Tea Club: Qing Xin Oolong Black Tea Tasting Notes
Eco-Cha Tea Club: Qing Xin Oolong Black Tea Tasting Notes

February 07, 2019 1 Comment

In addition to the name of the tea strain, this batch of tea was made by an artisan of Dong Ding Oolong Tea with his family plot of heirloom tea trees. He incorporated Oolong Tea methods in the very first step of solar withering, and the very last step of tightly rolling the tea leaves. So the raw material of the summer crop of heirloom Qing Xin Oolong tea leaves, processed by an Oolong Tea maker by trade offers us this superior quality Black Tea.

View full article →

Processing a batch of Qing Xin Oolong Black Tea
Eco-Cha Tea Club: Qing Xin Oolong Black Tea

February 04, 2019 2 Comments

We  chose the name "Qing Xin Oolong Black Tea" in accordance with the local terminology, which would be simply "Oolong Black Tea" (烏龍紅茶). But because in English, Oolong is the name given to partially oxidized teas, we added the Chinese pinyin of this traditional strain of tea plant that originated in mainland China. Qing Xin literally means "green heart" which describes the appearance of the stem of the leaf.

View full article →