This is a batch of heirloom Qing Xin Oolong tea leaves harvested in June and made into Black Tea, which has been the annual practice on this farm for the last eight years or so. Although this farm is run by one of the most skilled traditional Dong Ding Oolong Tea producers we know, the younger generation of this father and son team has made some innovations. And we feel that the son's recent R&D of using their summer crop to make Black Tea is a prime representative of a more general trend in the local industry.
We already knew that this is our favorite source of traditionally made Dong Ding Oolong Tea, but in the last couple years, we've come to realize that their Black Tea is also something very special. In a word, it's the balance of flavor and character that we find unique among Small Leaf Type Black Tea makers. This young tea artisan has learned how to process his family resource of heirloom tea in a way that makes an exceptional Black Tea. There is both a purity and substance of character that sets it apart from the majority of Black Teas, delivering a rich, full flavor that is both satisfying and soothing. The aroma is something like fresh baked plum cobbler, yet the flavor is both clean and richly balanced, with a dry lingering aftertaste that has a finish like a good dessert wine or even champagne. The image below is 8 grams of tea leaves that were brewed in the 150ml gaiwan tea pot viewed above, offering 5 brewings of full flavored tea.
Once again, we cannot help but feel highly privileged to have this kind of access to a thriving local tea culture that we truly believe is the most advanced tea producing scene in the world. The more we explore, the more we realize how progressive this scene really is, and how it is literally the cutting edge of a professional privatized tea industry. So, we happily share this singular batch of Small Leaf Type Black Tea cultivated and cured by a father and son on their own land and in their own factory. We ask you to put it to the test, and tell us what your experience of this tea is, and how it compares to your experience of Black Tea.
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The most commonly referred to trait in Leafhopper Tea is a honey-essence note in the fragrance as well as the flavor profile. This hint of honey varies greatly from batch to batch of "bug bitten tea", as it is also referred to locally. But the most general characteristic of this tea type is its bold complexity of aroma and flavor. It simply has a substance that clearly distinguishes it from a standard High Mountain Tea.
Above we see a local tea picker turning in freshly picked leaves to be weighed and recorded for commission. These new-growth, tender leaves were harvested on a beautiful sunny day at about 1500 meters elevation in the Shan Lin Xi tea growing region in southern Nantou County, central Taiwan.
Our expressed intention in sharing this batch of tea is to offer Eco-Cha Tea Club members a chance to experience the original unroasted flavor profile of a tea type that, in the local Taiwanese dialect, is simply called "Leafhopper Tea".