Eco-Cha is launching a new category of Taiwan Tea in our store! More often than not, our favorite teas are only available in small quantities. This means that they are likely to sell out occasionally, until we are able to procure the next batch. Each batch is noticeably different from each other, while being the same type of tea. So we decided to create a "Limited Edition" category designated to distinctive quality teas that are in limited supply. These teas will only be offered in our medium (75g) size, and be represented by a black label.
Eco-Cha's Charcoal Roasted High Mountain Oolong Tea has been on our menu for over a year, but we have not been able to keep it on the shelf! This is also one of our all time favorite teas, and a lot goes into making it. So, this is the tea that got us thinking about a limited edition category.
This tea is sourced by our mentor, Lisa Lin, and she roasts it a few times, over a few months, before bringing it to the master charcoal roaster for the final roasting. This extensive roasting process, done with care and decades of experience, are what make this tea special. The leaves are also from Shan Lin Xi — our overall favorite High Mountain Tea producing region. Lisa procures tea once or twice a year that she determines to be fit for extensive roasting. The batches are small, and we certainly aren't her only dedicated customer!
The flavor profile is rich, mellow, and complex in a very balanced way. It sips smooth and silky, with an amazingly satisfying finish. It is the most akin to an aged single malt scotch of all our Oolong teas.
Our second limited edition tea is new to our menu! We recently shared this batch of Lugu Competition Dong Ding Oolong Tea with the Eco-Cha Tea Club. You can learn about the source, the competition, and the tea in our blogpost.
The flavor profile of this competition standard can vary to an extent, but it must exhibit quality leaf that was processed with skill and care. The basic characteristics of Lugu Competition Tea are a rich, robust, yet smooth flavor profile that is a balanced composition of sweet, bitter, astringent, aromatic and has a lasting finish that is both heady and exceptionally satisfying. The individual aromatic and flavor notes can include caramel, toasted grains, fruit compote, pipe tobacco, fire roasted yams... the list goes on! It's a complex and full flavored tea!
Shown above are the brewed leaves of Charcoal Roasted High Mountain Oolong on the left, and Lugu Competition Dong Ding Oolong on the right. The most obvious and significant difference between these two teas is that the competition tea has been well groomed. This means that the stem material was removed by machine and then by hand, along with any leaves that were discolored or misshapen. The appearance of the dried leaves is a significant percentage of the overall assessment of the tea. Grooming the leaf material allows for uniform roasting, and results in a more concentrated, refined brew. The composition of competition grade tea is basically the cream of the crop that has been further processed (roasted) to meet the quality standard of the competition.
Outside of competition, leaves are almost never groomed. The original leaf material is rather scrutinized for what it is. So if the leaves are too immature ore overly mature, or too varied in size, this will be noted. The appearance of brewed leaves also indicates the quality of processing. Tea masters are able to see if leaves were depleted of their moisture properly, as well as the quality of how they were rolled and dried. Although the Charcoal Roasted High Mountain Oolong still contains stem material, the overall leaf stock is uniform and well processed. Add to this the expertise that went into the post production roasting process, and we have a premium quality limited edition tea!
We encourage you to experience both of these teas, in order to compare and contrast their qualities. These two selections are a perfect opportunity to explore the subtle intricacies of specialty Taiwan Tea.
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