Eco-Cha Tea Club: Jin Xuan GABA Black Tea Tasting Notes
The source of this month's batch of tea being shared with the Eco-Cha Tea Club is one of our most admired people we've met in the local tea industry here in Taiwan. He has pioneered natural tea farming methods and tea processing methods and succeeded in producing quality tea that is not found in the general marketplace. We are privilege to learn from and represent Mr. Xie, with whom we've now developed a lasting friendship.
Mr. Xie has been producing significant quantities of GABA Oolong Tea for several years, but this is the first batch of GABA tea that he processed as a Black Tea. After sharing his hand-picked, naturally farmed GABA Oolong that had been aged for a full year last July, we are excited to share this batch that was harvested last June, and aged 9 months. While these time periods do not qualify as "aging" tea, they do allow the composition of the leaves to mellow and offer a richer, more full-bodied character.
This month's GABA Black Tea has a similar flavor profile to last July's batch, with a more thoroughly cured, mellowed character. While last July's batch of GABA Oolong maintained some of its fresh/dried fruit character, this month's GABA Black is more of a cured/cooked fruit character. It offers more caramelized, or stewed fruit flavored nots. It's still delicate and complex, but with more depth and perhaps even molasses character. We find it very soothing, and it's flavor accompanies its proposed calming effect.
GABA Tea processing methods were originally invented in Japan, and the demand for it inspired its production here in Taiwan, by some of the world's best Oolong and Black tea makers. You can learn more about the research on GABA here.
We're confident that you will enjoy the experience of this month's batch being shared with the Eco-Cha Tea Club, and we look forward to hearing your comments!
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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.