Eco-Cha Tea Club: Eco-Farmed Jin Xuan GABA Tea Tasting Notes
the character of this tea
This month's batch of tea being shared with the Eco-Cha Tea Club continues to intrigue us. It has qualities of a delicate Black Tea, with the complexity and depth that defines Oolong Tea. It's mild in character, but very substantial and well balanced in its flavor profile. Smooth on the palate, with tangy, fruity notes, and a lasting heady finish. It's got that composition that keeps you refilling your cup to get more!
what makes this batch special?
Through hands-on experimentation, our friend Mr. Xie has learned to make the best quality GABA tea we've tasted. The methods he uses are based on a recipe that was developed by Taiwanese Oolong Tea artisans who succeeded in making a specialty tea out of a product that was initially a health supplement made from tea leaves (see the sourcing blog post for more info). He also has integrated the practice, common among quality Black Tea makers, of letting the tea settle for one year after its made to improve its quality.
We are convinced that his farming practice is a prominent contributing factor to the quality of Mr. Xie's tea. These naturally cultivated leaves unequivocally have more substance in their constitution. These are the reasons why we are inspired to share this month's batch of tea with the Eco-Cha Tea Club. We're pretty sure you won't find a tea like this elsewhere!
brewing this tea
GABA Tea is similar to Black Tea in that it is fully oxidized. But it is essentially made by using modified Oolong Tea processing methods. This is where it gets its complexity of character from. For your reference, we found that 6g of tea in a 150ml gaiwan, brewed Gongfu style works quite well. We encourage you to explore your own preferred brewing style, but start out light on the leaves, and increase from there, if you're inclined. If brewed too strongly, the richness and complexity are lost.
We'd love to hear what works best for you in brewing this tea! Please share your comments, photos, and even tasting videos on the comments below for all of us to learn from!
*what is Eco-Farmed?
Eco-Farmed is the term we use for teas that are sourced from farms with organic certification. Taiwan has the strictest of all regulations regarding the use of the term "organic". So we are not able to represent this certification due to several legal stipulations, including packaging and branding. More importantly, we strongly believe that Eco-Cha's practice of sustainability in the tea industry has more substance and transparency than the varied and often vague standards of "certified organic".
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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.