Eco-Cha Tea Club: Award Winning Roasted Jin Xuan Oolong Tasting Notes
This competition represents the historical tea growing region of Songbolin, promoted by the Nantou City Farmers' Association. The quality standard set by this competition is based on a traditionally made tea that has become commonly known as Dong Ding Oolong Tea. This name represents a processing method that incorporates a sufficient level of oxidation in the leaves that allows for a significant degree of post-production roasting. The flavor profile that results from these traditionally developed processing methods can be said to bring the raw tea leaves to their fullest potential in terms of a distinctive character and full-flavored tea.
This traditional method of oxidizing the leaves before fully drying them, and then roasting them repeatedly after they are rolled and dried, distinguishes this style of tea from the modernized large scale production and promotion of minimally oxidized, unroasted tea. While the "Green Oolong" category of tea has its own quality profile, it is the artisan quality of time-consuming, labor-intensive curing methods, as well as the locally transmitted traditional "gongfu" or skill, that puts this tea type in a distinctive class of its own.
Traditionally made Oolong embodies the value-added qualities of a distinctive flavor profile, a stability of composition that maintains freshness, and a heartier character that results in enhanced brewing power — in other words, you can get more brewed tea per leaf from a traditionally made tea!
This batch of award winning tea is a cultural diplomat of central Taiwan's tea making tradition. It is a hearty, complex brew with a broad profile of flavor that is bound to satisfy both the sensitive palate as well as the demand for a robust, full-flavored brew. It is a middle ground in the spectrum of tea types, ranging from Green Tea to Black Tea, with a wide variety of Oolongs in-between. It has a definite "cured" character, while maintaining a substantial fruity, clean quality offering an interesting brew that remains interesting for, well — years-on-end! In a word, it's our favorite style of tea.
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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.