Eco-Cha Tea Club: Charcoal Roasted High Altitude Oolong Tea Tasting Notes
Batch #42 of the Eco-Cha Tea Club is from the fall 2018 harvest of a plot of tea in Cuifeng in Ren Ai Township, northern Nantou County, at about 2000m elevation. This day's harvest was supervised by our friend to be oxidized significantly more than the standard High Mountain Oolong produce, with the intent of charcoal roasting it.
Tea grown at high altitude is known for its substantial composition and smooth texture, particularly when the leaves have been sufficiently oxidized. This batch of tea offers that creamy texture and subtle complexity of flavor as a base, with a pronounced charcoal roasted component at the forefront. The charcoal roast is prominent in the first few brews, and the underlying complexity of the tea flavor comes through more and more with each brew.
As the fire-roasted smokiness subsides, the rich mellow character of the tea becomes more prominent. And from here, it's a steady substantial roasty, creamy extravaganza! This tea has some serious endurance, so don' stop at the fourth or fifth brew. With a 1:20 ratio, these leaves will offer multiple brews of lasting flavor and substance.
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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.