Year Two Of The Eco-Cha Tea Club

December 16, 2016

Traditional tea picking baskets in Muzha — Tieguanyin Country

We are now entering our second cycle of the Eco-Cha Tea Club, sharing unique batches of tea that we scout out in our ongoing involvement with the people who grow and craft them. These singular batches are not found on the market, but rather are discovered by sitting down in the homes of our tea farmer friends and being served whatever they are spontaneously inspired to put in their teapots. Of course, most of them already know what we find most exciting, and are happy to share their batches that are typically too small or too special for wholesale. They prefer to keep these batches to share with friends who visit and especially appreciate them for their distinguished character.

We thought we'd share some snapshots that reflect our adventures in discovering the batches we shared last year, and the people and places that made it happen. The above image represents one of the most inspiring resources that we've gotten to know in the last year. This guy is a pioneer who cultivates his plots of tea completely naturally, without irrigation, fertilizers or pest control. Two of our favorite batches to date in the Eco-Cha Tea Club were harvested from this plot and skillfully  crafted by perhaps the most innovative tea farmer we know. We just visited him a few days ago and picked up a sample of his freshly cured harvest of late winter Four Seasons Spring. We very much look forward to what new surprises next year will bring from this farm!

This factory has become our favorite spot for learning about traditional tea making. Here we are hanging out with this father and son team who craft our traditional Dong Ding Oolong and where we just recently sourced December 2016's Eco-Cha Tea Club batch. Super humble, kind folks who are true to their local traditional specialty tea.

 

For us, Mr. Su in the above photo is the "Godfather of Oolong Tea". He is still actively crafting traditional batches of tea that we feel privileged to be offered. He's the guy who made the popular batch of Tieguanyin Dong Ding Oolong. We will be sure to keep tabs on the small batches that he puts his 60 years of experience into making.

The home shown above is where Andy first began learning about tea processing some 20 years ago with his old friend Mr. Chen. This is another local family who is successfully keeping their tradition alive and thriving.

The shot above was taken roadside on our spring rounds in Alishan Country. It's one of the most picturesque tea farm areas in Central Taiwan, and where some of the best High Mountain Tea comes from.

Above, our friend's mom finally sits down after spending the afternoon combing their plot of just behind their home in Phoenix Village, Lugu. After picking all morning with the hired team of pickers, she made a second round of the whole plot, picking what the fast-moving team missed.

The shot above simply shows some tea-making soul. We took this photo on our visit to our Lishan source during last spring's harvest. It's a beautiful farm, modest by High Mountain Tea production standards, with an onsite non-climate controlled factory. When the high elevation sun shines through the transparent roofing and leaves are spread out on top of the factory, it gets warm quick! And that's the way it should be in making premium tea.

The lighting was just right to capture the personality of these well-used bamboo tea trays in a small family-run factory. These racks both symbolize and realistically represent the tradition of hand-made Oolong Tea. When we walk into a factory and see only these bamboo trays, and not the large mechanized steel screen shelving that modern tea factories are equipped with, we instantly recognize the small scale production and traditional hands-on skill that are employed. This is mostly where we find these unique batches that we share in the Eco-Cha Tea Club. This is where we discover small, unorthodox batches of tea made by some of the most qualified and experienced craftsmen in the world.

So we invite you to join us as we continue on our endless journey to seek out and discover singular seasonal batches of tea that are one-of-a-kind specialties, not available anywhere else. We will continue to tell the story of each batch of tea we select, sharing photos that offer windows into this rich world of Taiwanese tea and the culture in which it flourishes. We will tell you all about the tea, where it comes from, how it's made, and share a sip-along-with-us tasting video with each unique batch. Come along for the adventure with the Eco-Cha Tea Club as we make another cycle around the sun, drawing us to remote mountainous regions around the beautiful island of Taiwan!





Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.


Also in News

Eco-Cha Tea Club: Charcoal Roasted High Altitude Oolong Tea Tasting Notes
Eco-Cha Tea Club: Charcoal Roasted High Altitude Oolong Tea Tasting Notes

May 14, 2019

Tea grown at high altitude is known for its substantial composition and smooth texture, particularly when the leaves have been sufficiently oxidized. This batch of tea offers that creamy texture and subtle complexity of flavor as a base, with a pronounced charcoal roasted component at the forefront. The charcoal roast is prominent in the first few brews, and the underlying complexity of the tea flavor comes through more and more with each brew.

View full article →

Shan Lin Xi high mountain tea harvest
New High Mountain Teas Are In!

May 09, 2019

Spring growing season had a long slow start this year, due to almost no rain until the beginning of April. The long awaited rain gave the tea trees what they needed to bring their spring buds into maturity. And we got a full week of good weather toward the end of the month, which turned out to be perfect timing for both our Shan Lin Xi and Alishan High Mountain Oolong sources.

View full article →

Eco-Cha Tea Club: Charcoal Roasted High Altitude Oolong Tea
Eco-Cha Tea Club: Charcoal Roasted High Altitude Oolong Tea

May 08, 2019

We feel that the constitution of these tea leaves that were grown at high altitude with optimal farming methods, and crafted by some of the top tea producers in the industry, is what makes this batch so special. We cherish both the knowledge and the quality tea that Mr. Zhuang generously shared with us. We will miss him dearly.

View full article →