Traditional Lugu Oolong Tea Tasting Notes | Eco-Cha Tea Club
Batch #52 of the Eco-Cha Tea Club brings us back to our roots of local tea culture— since our introduction to Taiwanese tea began in Lugu, way back in 1993! Both the source of this tea and its flavor profile invoke those memories of our early days here in Taiwan.
As you know from the sourcing blog post, this tea was made by an independent farmer who manages his own plot of tea and cures it in his home factory. His factory would now be considered rudimentary by today's tea production standards, but we believe that it is an essential factor in giving his tea its authentic and substantial character. The leaves were skillfully and substantially oxidized when processed, a prerequisite the sweetness and complexity. They were then roasted extensively for over 25 hours total — comprised of 3 separate roasting sessions done over several weeks.
The flavor of this batch of tea embodies the classic Taiwan Oolong profile, with a sweet note that is most immediately recognized, followed by a complexity that includes mild bitterness and astringency to make all the flavor notes pop. It's got a rich, dense sweetness akin to roasted yams and butternut squash, and an interesting tanginess like stewed or dried apricots. The later brews bring out the roasted character more, adding smoky notes that bring it into the realm of a fine whisky. It's the kind of flavor profile that you won't tire of easily, if ever!
You can see from the brewed leaves that the roasting process was done with finesse. The leaves maintain the original green color, and are still supple and open fully with brewing. They are not burnt or "petrified" by over-roasting.
In short, this tea maker truly does his best — starting with his family land on which he cultivates the local specialty produce, and cures himself, with all the skill and knowledge that he has gained from over 20 years of hands-on experience. This is why we chose the simple, direct name of Traditional Lugu Oolong Tea for this edition of the Eco-Cha Tea Club!
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We can see in the photo of the dried leaves above that they were hand-plucked while still very young and tender. This is evident not only by the size of the leaves, but also in the protective fur that is still on the whitish colored leaf buds. It is this stage of leaf growth, along with the heirloom cultivar of tea tree that give Bi Luo Chun its distinctive character among Green Teas — especially when it is from the first flush of spring tea buds!