Eco-Cha Tea Club: Traditional Lugu Oolong Tea Tasting Notes

June 12, 2019

Traditional Lugu Oolong Tea dried leaves

Batch #43 of the Eco-Cha Tea Club is from a farm located just below the Shanlinxi High Mountain Tea growing region, in south-eastern Lugu Township. This plot of tea was planted about 20 years ago, and has been maintained by Mr. Zhang, an independent tea producer — who we see as an authentic traditional tea maker. He manages the entire production of his tea himself, and processes it in his own modest home factory, without the help of air-conditioning. This is a rarity in Taiwan these days. He sells all his tea to a small group of long term loyal customers who buy his seasonal produce.

Traditional Lugu Oolong Tea pitcher and cup

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.

Traditional Lugu Oolong Tea brewed tea in a cup

The brewed tea is substantial and smooth, with a limpid appearance and a clean, refined character. It is this combination of factors that represent careful moisture depletion when the leaves were being cured, as well as skillful oxidation and roasting. In sum, a fine example of a traditionally made Oolong Tea. The most striking quality of this brew in our experience is the later notes of oatmeal cookie and caramel, perfectly balanced by a crisp, dry finish!

Traditional Lugu Oolong Tea brewed leaves

The uniformity of coloration in the brewed leaf reveals that the oxidation was done masterfully, without obvious bruising or damage to the integrity in the leaf structure. This combined with the fact that the leaves have remained supple and mostly green in appearance show the time consuming and painstaking care that went into the post-production roasting.

Traditional Lugu Oolong unroasted spring tea sample

Finally, we want to mention our bonus gift included in this month's edition of the tea club. We were able to procure some of the newly harvested spring tea from Mr. Zhang before he began roasting it. We wanted to offer our Tea Club members the experience of comparing and contrasting the finished product from last winter's harvest with the unroasted spring harvest. This sample of unroasted spring tea will allow the tea club to know the effects of roasting in the flavor of the brew.

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