Light Roast Yushan High Mountain Oolong Tea Tasting Notes
The chunky nuggets of dried leaf shown above are the winter produce from an isolated organic farm in Dongpu, the northern trailhead for Taiwan's highest peak —Yushan, or Jade Mountain. The leaves were significantly oxidized, making them suitable for the light roasting that was done by an elder Oolong Tea master in Lugu.
The leaves brew an exceptionally substantial, smooth, balanced tea with a very satisfying savory/sweet profile. The brewed leaves put forth fresh, buttery green leafy aromatic notes, like sauteed Swiss Chard. The tea is viscous, with an evenly balanced complexity of warming spices and unrefined sugary notes — cardamom, palm sugar, and butternut squash come to mind.
Both the richly sweet flavor profile of the lightly roasted leaves and the slightly yellow hued appearance of the brewed leaves are signs of the Green Leafhopper. And given that the second half of the winter growing season had no rain, and temperatures remained warm, it's likely the leaves were "bug-bitten" on this organic farm, and the constituents in the leaves remained until harvest.
It's an amazingly balanced composition that can withstand concentrated brews. But we recommend starting a bit light on the leaf:water ratio to capture the more subtle aromatic and flavor notes. You can always brew stronger later, we like to remind ourselves!
This batch of tea is special due to the microclimate high up in a remote mountain gorge, and the fact that it is organically cultivated with no other farming in the vicinity. It was also roasted by our favorite traditional Oolong Tea master — because we wanted this singular batch of organic winter harvest to receive the treatment it deserved!
We look forward to hearing about your experience of this batch of tea being shared in the first month of the Lunar New Year. And be sure to put up your red door paper for prosperity and good luck!
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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!