Eco-Cha Tea Club: Light Roast Phoenix Village Oolong Tasting Notes
The home of tradtionally made Taiwan Oolong Tea
Phoenix Village is located just above Dong Ding Mountain, and is home to the densest population of traditional tea artisans in Taiwan. Our friend's father, who is a recognized elder of this tradition, supervised the initial processing stages of this batch of tea.
The truth is, our favorite batches of traditionally made Taiwanese Oolongs have come from this community of family owned farms in the foothills of Phoenix Mountain in Lugu Township. We've been told it's the soil, and the mid-elevation climate that is most conducive to making a traditionally made Oolong Tea. But in our own perception, it's the expertise that comes from generations of tea making that results in the character of tea that we love the most.
This batch of tea was processed as a traditional Dong Ding Oolong Tea. But when Grandpa Liu roasted it once, he decided that the flavor profile and overall character of tea offered something unique, so he wisely went no further. And so it is that we tasted a particularly impressive light roast Oolong Tea just in time to procure the remainder of this batch.
The aroma is strikingly reminiscent of fresh scones, cinnamon and brown sugar. The brewed tea offers a thick, smooth mouth feel, with notes of Swiss Chard sauteed in butter. Overall, is has a balanced, sweet and mildly astringent character, with pronounced buttery, brown sugar and savory dark green leafy vegetal qualities. In sum, it's the definition of satisfying! It has the clean, refreshing characteristics of any quality Oolong Tea, but it is so pleasant in its delivery! We find it to be simply delectable.
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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.