We had ideal weather conditions for the summer harvest of Shan Lin Xi High Mountain Oolong, following a growing season that was conducive to uniform new leaf growth on the tea bushes. The previous spring growing season was unusual in that it remained cool through May! So the spring crop was slow growing and somewhat similar to a typical winter growing season, although we had sufficient rainfall.
Here we are with our friend who we only see at tea harvest time. He plays an essential role in tea harvests — as manager of the team of tea pickers. He needs to ensure that enough pickers show up on any given day of scheduled harvest. He then records the amount of leaves each picker harvests by weight, and pays them accordingly. On site, it looks like a very casual scene of colorfully clad tea pickers on a mountainside chatting away in the spectacular scenery. But this guy needs to transport those pickers from the town at the foot of the mountain all the way up to this farm deep in the hills by early morning. During the busy season, it can be quite stressful. But this guy has been doing this for decades, and his attitude is always golden!
Above is our closest tea farmer friend who manages this farm consisting of three sizable plots of tea on the same mountainside. He does the farm work, and his lifelong friend and colleague does the processing of the leaves. They have both been professional tea judges in the world's largest Oolong Tea competition for decades. We've known each other for over 20 years. He has taught us a great deal of what we know about the local tea tradition and the current industry state of affairs. It's connections such as this that have enabled us to represent the local culture and professional Taiwan Tea industry.
We've visited this farm and the factory that processes the seasonal produce every harvest for many years, and we learn something new every single time. It takes decades of living here in this community to understand it to any significant extent. Occasional visits on tea sourcing trips can be profound in and of themselves, but this does not provide any depth of understanding. That's simply a fact that we have learned as a result of living here for 30 years, immersed in the world of tea.
Watch the tasting video, comparing spring and summer 2022 batches of Shan Lin Xi High Mountain Oolong to learn about how they compare with each other and why!
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