Batch 59 of the Eco-Cha Tea Club is from a certified organic farm located on the periphery of Yushan National Park. Yushan, or Jade Mountain is not only the highest peak in Taiwan, but also in all of east Asia. This farm is the closest developed land to the park, in a remote mountain valley.
The photo above is the first vista of the Yushan National Park region when traveling south on Highway 21. This road runs through three of Taiwan's most popular mountain scenic regions: Sun Moon Lake, Yushan Natioinal Park, and Alishan National Park (where 21 ends, and becomes Highway 18). Beginning with this bridge, this stretch of road offers some of the most impressive mountain scenery on the island. And about 15km south of this point is where we turn left and head east to Dongpu and Shalixian, where this month's batch of tea comes from.
This batch of tea was harvested on September 3, and we slept out at the farm to be there when the team of pickers arrived at 6:30 a.m. and capture the event. We are so impressed with this couple's work and the story of how they came to transition their inherited family farm to being certified organic that we are making a documentary video of it. A husband and wife manage this farm that has been fully certified for 3 years now. They began transitioning to organic ten years ago when they decided to stop using chemical farm products. More about that story in the documentary. Stay tuned!
The tea trees were allowed to grow naturally following the spring harvest, with no further harvest or pruning through the summer months. Allowing substantial new growth nourishes the plants and strengthens their root base. Only the growing tips of the new branches were picked by hand, but leaf growth was slower, as the plants already had a new growth phase in the previous months. So these leaves were thicker, a bit tougher, and with considerable more substance than if it was new growth immediately following a harvest, or even more so — a pruning.
In the photo above, Hwy 21 can be seen in the background as it winds its way southward, and the main valley leading up to Jade Mountain is to the left of this photo. We can see how naturally these tea trees are allowed to grow. It's a wholly different farming method than conventional farming, and the produce from a farm like this is also next level. In our perception, based on continually visiting tea farms in Taiwan for over 20 years, this source is a rare and precious find. The combination of a pristine geographic location with an ideal micro-climate for tea production, and the natural farming methods are just not to be found. In a word, we love this farm, as well as its caretakers!
This tea starts off with a warming spices/mild savory aroma, and brews a smooth, thick texture, with floral, honey, and tangy notes, and ends with a balanced, sweet/dry, lasting finish. Find out more here!
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