Leafhopper High Mountain Oolong Tea | Eco-Cha Tea Club

November 04, 2017 1 Comment

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".

This month's batch of tea comes from the most recently developed High Mountain Oolong Tea producing region, located in northern Taiwan. Here in the industry, it is most commonly referred to as Guanwushan, in the vicinity of Xueba National Park (photo above). The rugged high elevation slopes of the northernmost central mountain range provide an ideal climate for High Mountain Tea production.

This crop was harvested in June, when the new leaf growth following early spring harvest was allowed to grow naturally. In effect, it was an invitation for the legendary Green Leafhopper to come and perform its magic. This tiny grasshopper-like insect likes to feed on the sap of the new leaves, which results in a chemical composition in the leaf that offers a unique honey-essence flavor in the tea. The Leafhopper is what creates the renowned Oriental Beauty Oolong Tea from northern Taiwan, and the subsequent Concubine Oolong produced in central Taiwan.

In acknowledgement of the presence of the Leafhopper during this growing season, the farmer processed his leaves accordingly — allowing them to oxidize significantly more than a standard High Mountain Oolong Tea. The effect of the Leafhopper, combined with this customized processing results in a particularly full-flavored, strong character.  Tea leaves of this constitution literally have more substance — providing a rich, vibrant, and complex flavor profile.

Also known as "bug-bitten tea" in tribute to the Leafhopper's effect, it has, only in the last decade or so, become a hot item in the local industry. A prominent reason for this recent spike in demand is that a crop of "bug bitten tea" by default defines it as being naturally farmed, without the use of chemical pesticides. So we not only get a unique, robust character of tea, we also get to support natural tea cultivation in the modernized production of world-class Taiwanese Oolong Tea.

In sum, we are not only endlessly intrigued by the magical role of the the Green Leafhopper in the making of this tea. We are also thrilled to support the production of a specialty tea that requires natural farming methods. Furthermore, each batch of Leafhopper tea is unique, based on the extent of influence by the Leafhopper in combination with the consequent batch-specific methods of processing it.

Only recently have farmers begun to venture a gamble in producing a crop of tea that is difficult to navigate. There simply is no standard processing method to resort to — the farmer must rely on intuition based experience to determine how to process each anomalous batch of bug-bitten tea!





1 Response

Lu
Lu

November 04, 2017

Love the pictures.They are beautiful!! I also appreciate the informational articles you post on your blog. Is there any difference between this month’s tea and the concubine tea?

Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.


Also in News

Spring 2021 Harvest | Shan Lin Xi High Mountain Oolong Tea
Spring 2021 Harvest | Shan Lin Xi High Mountain Oolong Tea

May 14, 2021 2 Comments

We went up to film on the first day of spring harvest by our source of Shan Lin Xi High Mountain Oolong Tea. The early morning was sunny, but the fog rolled in early, and we were socked in by noon, diminishing our aspirations for getting lots of scenic drone footage! But this is representative of the daily weather — particularly in this micro-climate of a ravine that faces northeast. 

View full article →

Fo Shou Oolong Tea
Fo Shou Oolong Tea Tasting Notes | Eco-Cha Tea Club

May 10, 2021

The complex and somewhat addictive (it's very easy to drink copious amounts at one sitting!) character represents an authentic artisanal tea. This cultivar is not easily processed into a tea with this level of refined character. We attribute its quality to the man who unquestionably puts more effort and heart into producing extremely small batches of tea than anyone else we've met — by far!

View full article →

Fo Shou Oolong Tea tea leaf
Fo Shou Oolong Tea | Eco-Cha Tea Club

May 10, 2021

Batch 66 of the Eco-Cha Tea Club is a Fo Shou Oolong Tea produced in Pinglin, Taiwan. The Chinese Fo Shou (佛手) means Buddha Hand. The name refers to the tea plant, or cultivar, which classifies as a large leaf type. This puts it in the category of Assam, and wild strains of tea, along with the Taiwanese hybrid cultivar — Red Jade #18.

View full article →