Eco-Cha Tea Club: Alishan Late Spring Oolong Tea Tasting Notes
This month's batch of tea being shared with the Eco-Cha Tea Club was harvested in mid-May. Spring rains finally arrived at the very end of April, and there were a few days of clear weather in the middle of May, allowing for this late spring harvest in the rural community of Taihe, in Meishan Township. This is the northernmost corner of the Alishan tea growing region.
The dried leaves above show slight scattered yellow coloration, which can indicate two factors. One is more mature leaves, and the other is bug bitten leaves. In this case, it's probably both, but neither factors are overly evidient!
In our experience, more mature leaves are a plus, because they have a more substantial constitution, which results in a heartier brew. Tea makers are more challenged in processing more mature leaves, because they are basically a bit more stubborn in the dehydration and oxidation process. However, the appearance of the brewed leaves shows uniformity and smooth gradient of coloration in the oxidation, indicating that they were skillfully processed. The leaves are thick, yet supple, just how we like them!
The complex aroma of the brewed tea leaves has subtle hints of a bug bitten character, but not very obvious. The sufficient oxidation offers a fresh scone scent, with a touch of honey, making us think that there is some influence from the Green Leafhopper. It is very likely that this note is subtle due to the fact that it had rained very near harvest time, which is said to dilute or dissipate the chemical compounds that are responsible for this character of flavor. The texture is smooth and balanced, with delicate complexity. The flavor profile is light, but balanced and refreshing.
Every once in a while, a batch of High Mountain Oolong will have just the right combination of factors, including seasonal weather, Green Leafhoppers, and proficiency and luck in the curing of the leaves that result in a character of tea like this one. We love finding this type of tea, because its flavor cannot not be fully intended. It's special character is subtle, and not something that is easily pinpointed. This is where our fulfillment comes from in offering this month's edition of the Eco-Cha Tea Club.
LET US KNOW !
What did you think of this article? Have any questions? What's your favorite type of high mountain tea? We really want to know what you think! Leave any thoughts or questions in the comment section below!
If you found this post useful and would like to hear more about the specialty tea industry here in Taiwan, follow us on YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram and please subscribe to our newsletter. Subscribe now and get $5 off your first order!
Leave a comment
Comments will be approved before showing up.
Also in News
The medium oxidized leaves have undergone extensive, repeated roastings that have resulted in a very balanced, integrated character. The initial steepings offer a freshly cut wood aroma with a toasted nutty flavor. This proceeds to open up into a sweeter, more complex profile that is strikingly reminiscent of roasted winter vegetables, including parsnip, caramelized onion and butternut squash.
Mr. Zhang's father cultivated tea on their homesteaded land in Xiaobantian, on the southside of Lugu Township, where he grew up in the midst of traditional tea making. At 20 something, he decided to embody his local tradition by clearing land to cultivate his own plot of tea. For the last 20 years, he has managed his own humble, privately owned plot of tea. Throughout this period, he also acquired seasonal work in tea factories in Lugu, Shanlinxi, Alishan, Fanzaitian, and Lishan. In a word, he learned the ropes of tea making in a comprehensive way, like most tea farmers of his generation. Lugu hosts the highest concentration of tea makers in Taiwan, and is a hub of specialty tea making culture.