Free global shipping on orders $35 or more!

Eco-Cha Tea Club: Hong Shui Oolong Tasting Notes

June 12, 2017

Traditional processing methods are indicated in the appearance of the leaves shown above in two easily recognizable ways. A significant degree of oxidation is noticed by the light-brown hues on the stems and outer edges of the leaves. Secondly, the leaves are not as tightly rolled as the more modern versions of High Mountain Tea and competition grade Dong Ding Oolong. The size of the dried leaves also shows that they were allowed to mature on the plant before being harvested. Modern commercial tea production typically harvests the leaves when they are younger.

We recently heard a leading representative in the industry say that he believes the rich substantial flavor that we enjoyed up until 20 years ago, but is rarely found nowadays is primarily due to harvesting immature leaves. There is simply less substance in younger leaves, which are more easily processed to produce consistent quality when making lightly oxidized tea. Traditional tea production involves fewer harvests annually, with longer growing seasons. This obviously compromises the annual yield, which is a primary reason why traditionally made teas are not widely produced.

The rich reddish-amber hue of the brewed tea is also a clear indication of substantially oxidized tea leaves, especially since they were left unroasted. Hong Shui Oolong tea leaves are more heavily oxidized than its close cousin, Dong Ding Oolong. Dong Ding Oolong reaches a comparative level of rich, robust character due to the additional roasting process. Hong Shui is a more pure character in that the flavor profile is derived directly from the constituents in the leaves, whereas roasting is a type of "flavor enhancer",  just as it is in the culinary world.

So Hong Shui Oolong has a slightly milder and sweeter character than Dong Ding, with a tangy, fruity profile that is reminiscent of fruit pastries or dried fruit. It has a robust, complex aroma, with a mild, sweet flavor profile. It also carries enough substance to offer a heady, yet clean finish. It's a character that, once it's familiar, it never gets old or boring.

We are excited to have the privilege to source this tea directly from local artisans who are proudly representing their tradition. We've been wanting to share this prototype of traditionally made Taiwanese tea with the Eco-Cha Tea Club since its beginning, and we finally made it happen! Please share your experience of this tea in the comments below, and we'll see you next month!





Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.


Also in News

Pure caffeine
How Much Caffeine is in Taiwan Oolong Tea

February 17, 2019 2 Comments

How much caffeine is in Oolong Tea or tea leaves in general isn't as cut and dry as many articles out there would have you believe. The majority of articles simply state how many milligrams of caffeine are in a cup of tea and ignore important factors like brewing temperature, ratio of water to leaves, brewing method, and the specific type of tea. Here, we look at the factors that affect how much caffeine there is Oolong Teas with a look at Taiwan Oolong Teas in particular.

View full article →

Eco-Cha Tea Club: Qing Xin Oolong Black Tea Tasting Notes
Eco-Cha Tea Club: Qing Xin Oolong Black Tea Tasting Notes

February 07, 2019 1 Comment

In addition to the name of the tea strain, this batch of tea was made by an artisan of Dong Ding Oolong Tea with his family plot of heirloom tea trees. He incorporated Oolong Tea methods in the very first step of solar withering, and the very last step of tightly rolling the tea leaves. So the raw material of the summer crop of heirloom Qing Xin Oolong tea leaves, processed by an Oolong Tea maker by trade offers us this superior quality Black Tea.

View full article →

Processing a batch of Qing Xin Oolong Black Tea
Eco-Cha Tea Club: Qing Xin Oolong Black Tea

February 04, 2019 2 Comments

We  chose the name "Qing Xin Oolong Black Tea" in accordance with the local terminology, which would be simply "Oolong Black Tea" (烏龍紅茶). But because in English, Oolong is the name given to partially oxidized teas, we added the Chinese pinyin of this traditional strain of tea plant that originated in mainland China. Qing Xin literally means "green heart" which describes the appearance of the stem of the leaf.

View full article →