FREE GLOBAL SHIPPING ON ORDERS $35 OR MORE.

Roasted Leafhopper High Mountain Oolong Tea

March 08, 2018

A leafhopper, the mystical bug behind "bug bitten tea."

Last November, Eco-Cha Tea Club members got to experience the original unroasted flavor profile of a Leafhopper High Mountain Oolong, also referred to simply as "bug bitten tea", or "yeh nah day" in the Taiwanese dialect. When we sourced that batch of tea, we conceived of a "secret" plan to first share half of this batch of tea unroasted, then roast the other half in order to give our members the opportunity to taste the difference between the unroasted and roasted versions of the very same batch of Leafhopper High Mountain Oolong Tea.

Xueba National Park in northern Taiwan

This batch of tea comes from the most recently developed High Mountain Oolong Tea producing region, located in northern Taiwan. Here in the industry, it is most commonly referred to as Guanwushan, in the vicinity of Xueba National Park (photo above). The rugged high elevation slopes of the northernmost central mountain range provide an ideal climate for High Mountain Tea production.

This crop was harvested in June, when the new leaf growth following early spring harvest was allowed to grow naturally. In effect, it was an invitation for the legendary Green Leafhopper to come and perform its magic. This tiny grasshopper-like insect likes to feed on the sap of the new leaves, which results in a chemical composition in the leaf that offers a unique honey-essence flavor in the tea. The Leafhopper is what creates the renowned Oriental Beauty Oolong Tea from northern Taiwan, and the subsequent Concubine Oolong produced in central Taiwan.

The tea leaves were allowed to oxidize significantly more than a standard High Mountain Oolong Tea. The effect of the Leafhopper, combined with a customized processing results in a particularly full-flavored, strong character.  Tea leaves of this constitution literally have more substance that results in a bold and complex flavor profile.

Brewing up some tea

Our dear friend who we first met over 20 years ago was kind enough to share half of the amount of tea that he sourced with us. He knows we are always looking for special batches of tea for our Tea Club, and invited us to come taste this one. He never says "Do you want some of this tea?", but the invitation to taste it is itself is his way of offering it. And when we asked him if he would be willing to roast half of our share, he did not hesitate.

After decades of managing his family farm, A-bao now specializes in tea roasting. He sources tea from many sources, and carefully considers the character of each batch and roasts the leaves according to his assessment. He roasted this batch of tea twice, for a total of nearly 20 hours, starting at less than 100°C and finishing at over 120°C. We are excited to be offering this educational experience of two versions of the same batch of "bug bitten" High Mountain Tea with our Tea Club members.

If you're not part of the Eco-Cha Tea Club and would love a chance to taste and sample unique, hard-to-find artisan teas from Taiwan, sign up for the club here!





Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.


Also in News

Eco-Cha Tea Club: Honey Oolong Tea Tasting Notes
Eco-Cha Tea Club: Honey Oolong Tea Tasting Notes

August 12, 2018

The extensive oxidation and minimal roasting offer a flavor profile that has the rich, density of Small Leaf Black Tea while still maintaining enough freshness to give it complexity and vibrancy. Sweet, ripe fruity notes balanced by mildly astringent nutty/woody tones. Add to this an unmistakeable honey essence in both the aroma and on the palate. It's a proper Oolong in its complexity, and a signature bug-bitten batch of tea.

View full article →

Eco-Cha Tea Club: Honey Oolong Tea
Eco-Cha Tea Club: Honey Oolong Tea

August 07, 2018

A mom, dad, and son team manage their small family farm and process their crops on their own. And the recent spring harvest offered the pleasant surprise of one day's harvest turning out to be Honey Oolong. This name is properly used when the flavor of the tea has a distinct honey character that results from the Green Leafhopper working its magic. The Leafhopper (jacobiasca formosana) is a tiny green bug that likes to feed on the sap of the tender new leaf buds.

View full article →

Harvesting Loose-Leaf Tea: Machine-Clipped VS. Hand-Picked
Harvesting Loose-Leaf Tea: Machine-Clipped VS. Hand-Picked

August 04, 2018

As the specialty tea industry rapidly gains popularity around the world, topics like this one are increasingly mentioned in blogposts, newsfeeds, and on social media platforms. Unfortunately, this type of commentary is mostly hearsay, and lacks objectivity. It was just such a post that recently prompted us to offer a more thorough perspective from the industry here in Taiwan.

View full article →