Eco-Cha Tea Club: Light Roast Concubine Oolong Tasting Notes

March 14, 2019 3 Comments

Eco-Cha Tea Club Light Roast Concubine Oolong brewed tea in pitcher and cup

It's an especially exciting occasion when we are able to offer a batch of bug bitten tea with the Eco-Cha Tea Club. Namely because each batch of tea that has been affected by the Green Leafhopper is by definition unique. The extent to which this magical equation of the tea plants reacting to the bugs feeding on their young leaves results in endless variations from leaf to leaf. In other words, each leaf is affected to a different degree, and by the time it is harvested and processed, it is impossible to know how it will actually taste. And the truth is, not all bug bitten batches of tea end up tasting delicious, but this one did!

Eco-Cha Tea Club Light Roast Concubine Oolong brewed tea in a cup

Concubine Tea is a name that was coined by the Lugu Farmers' Association, following a major earthquake in 1999 in central Taiwan. Many farms were left untended for months afterwards, which resulted in a lot of "bug bitten tea" by the time tea farmers were able to harvest again. It's a name used to describe tea that is made from leaves that were affected by the Green Leafhopper , and processed in the fashion of Dong Ding Oolong Tea, but slightly less roasted. This month's batch of tea was only roasted once, and we just happened to taste it just after it came out of the oven for the first time, so we are calling it a light roast.

We were captivated by the flavor profile with the first sip when our mentor Lisa Lin brewed for us on an impromptu visit to her home. It's vibrant, fresh, complex, and also smooth and balanced. Its overall profile carries delicate floral aromatic notes, and a distinct honey-like flavor suspended in a thick, smooth composition. The most distinctive aspect of this batch is that it maintains a very fresh character while having no green vegetal or herbal qualities. It's an amazing balance of delicate floweriness and freshly baked scones. In sum, it's a proper tribute to the magic of bug bitten tea!

Eco-Cha Tea Club Light Roast Concubine Oolong brewed tea leaves

We feel that there is some authentic serendipity in the opportunity to share this month's batch of tea for a couple of reasons. First, we just happened to stop by after Lisa completed the initial roasting of the tea, and got to taste it, and ask if we could purchase it just as it is, without further roasting to bring it closer to the standard of Concubine Oolong. Secondly, Eco-Cha's Andy originally connected his mentor to this source of tea 3 years ago, and Lisa has been buying bug bitten tea from them ever since. She then proceeds to roast the leaves with a deep intuitive attention to their character that is batch specific. It's this mix of factors that we continue to find our inspiration from, not to mention that we can share it with our Tea Club members around the world!

Eco-Cha Tea Club Light Roast Concubine Oolong Gong fu brewing method

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3 Responses

Eco-Cha
Eco-Cha

April 24, 2019

Mack, thanks for the suggestion. We’ll see about adding in Chinese where it makes sense.

Cheers,

The Eco-Cha Team

Mack
Mack

April 24, 2019

Really enjoying and appreciating all the content on the site. One little thing I’d like to see is the actual Chinese names of the teas and production methods included somewhere in the notes or reviews, so that I can discuss these terms better with local tea experts and afficionados in their own language. This particular tea is a good case in point: assuming “concubine” is the actual term they use locally, there are probably something like half a dozen different characters that could incorporate. Even simple terms like “jin xuan” are hard to guess at.

Anyhow, thanks for all the info.

Nicholas Kusanto
Nicholas Kusanto

March 26, 2019

Hi eco cha,

Was quite excited to try this. The descriptors you use helped me actually identify similar flavor profiles to a lishan tea I had tried somewhere else. Makes me think that while it might not have been marketed as a jassid bitten tea there might be some evidence of such. Just received the package yesterday and here are a couple notes from my first two sessions.

I am new so take my recommendations with a grain of salt!

Don’t over stuff your gaiwan. It can get a bit bitter if you dont control leaf to water ratio.

It has an agava syrup sweetness rather than a honey sweetness. I mean that its a but more subtle, which gives you a nice balance with the astrigency. I still feel I can taste faint vegetal notes in the tea that remind me of taiwanese gaoshan cha.

It tastes darker than it looks. Can be steeped multiple times. The flavor profile is much more interesting than a typical gaoshan cha.

Any help with tasting technique will help a lot!
Thanks again!
Nick

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