Longan Charcoal Roasted Oolong Tea | Eco-Cha Tea Club

January 06, 2017

The picture above was taken when we picked up this batch of tea from our friend's home in Nantou, Taiwan. He was blending together smaller batches of tea leaves that had been roasted in separate traditional basket roasters. This was the total amount of this batch that was made from 36 kg of Shanlinxi High Mountain Oolong that was harvested last spring. The leaves had to be specially sourced from a farmer who was willing to put the time and effort into oxidizing the leaves considerably more than a standard High Mountain Oolong. The oxidation level is essential for optimal results of extensive post-production roasting.

These leaves have undergone 8 separate roastings over a few months, for a total roasting time of about 50 hours. Our friend first prepared his tea leaves for charcoal roasting by roasting them 3 times in a conventional oven roaster at low temperature of 80 -100°C. This provides a "base" roasting level that the charcoal roasting can proceed from more efficiently. The leaves were then handed over to a specialized charcoal roaster who charges a standard fee, regardless of how many roastings are needed to achieve the desired results. In this case, it was 5 roasting sessions of incrementally increasing heat, starting from about 90° and finishing at 120°.

Above is a woven bamboo basket with a screen at the bottom on which the tea leaves are placed. Only a certain amount of tea leaves can be put in a given tray in order for the leaves to be roasted evenly.

There is also a specific thickness to the the layer of ash that is necessary to insulate the heat rising from the burning charcoal embers at the base of this insulated stainless steel roaster in order to produce a consistent low temperature for a slow-roasting effect. Notice how the ash is formed into a mound, so that the most intense heat that is generated at the center is properly insulated.

Above is a shot of Longan charcoal that was just ignited. After the charcoal has burned considerably to achieve an even, lasting heat source, a layer of ash is applied for insulation. 

Our friend, who is a professional roaster himself and consistently achieves high awards in local competitions for his skill, keeps this chunk of Longan charcoal on display in his tasting room, acting as an air purifier as well as a symbol of a tradition that he is dedicated to representing. So much traditional knowledge and skill has gone into the making of this month's batch of tea — not to mention time and energy, that we feel it stands alone in representing the deep tradition that is alive an thriving here in the heart of Oolong Country in Taiwan.





Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.


Also in News

Traditional Dong Ding Oolong Leaves
Traditional Dong Ding Oolong Tea

November 22, 2020

We are very happy to finally be able to offer the pre-modern version of Dong Ding Oolong Tea! We've waited for years to source this local traditional specialty from our friend who simply has more demand than supply from his family plot of tea in Phoenix Village in Lugu Township, Taiwan. 

View full article →

Eco-Farmed Special Roast Oolong Tea dry leaves
Eco-Farmed Specialty Roast Oolong Tea Tasting Notes| Eco-Cha Tea Club

November 16, 2020 1 Comment

Batch 60 of the Eco-Cha Tea Club brings us to a full five years of offering monthly editions of specialty Taiwanese teas! This month's edition was cultivated and crafted by one of our most respected sources of naturally farmed tea. He not only employs the most radical natural farming methods we know of, he also is continually refining processing methods to bring his produce to its fullest potential, based on the growing conditions of each season. Mr. Xie also produces our GABA Oolong Tea, which, like this month's batch, is one of his signature products.

View full article →

Eco-Farmed Special Roast Oolong Tea farm
Eco-Farmed Specialty Roast Oolong Tea | Eco-Cha Tea Club

November 16, 2020

This batch of tea was harvested last spring, and processed as a medium oxidized Oolong. The stems were then removed in preparation for extensive roasting. Mr. Xie proceeded to roast these leaves four times in total. The first roasting was done in the standard convection type oven to remove all remaining moisture from the leaves. The following 3 roastings were done in an oven designed for roasting coffee beans! 

View full article →