HomeNewsShan Lin Xi High Mountain Oolong Tea | Fall 2023
Just getting to do the first home cupping of our new fall batch of Shan Lin Xi High Mountain Oolong Tea! We of course tasted it in the farmer's home before procuring it, and knew it was quality, but brewing it at home is the definitive assessment. Logically, it primarily has to do with the water that is used to brew the tea leaves, but there are many contributing factors that determine our experience of a cup of tea — including what we ate for lunch (if it's an afternoon tea session)! So, we feel most assured about our take on a given tea when we have brewed it at our own tea table. And this brew shown above was a pleasure.
These leaves were harvested about two months after the tea trees were pruned, following the summer harvest. The fall growth is all tender new leaf material without fibrous stem material. This allows for much more uniform processing of the leaves, in the removal of moisture and oxidation. This batch was harvested about 3 weeks later than usual in the growing season due to the pruning that followed summer harvest — late enough to forfeit a winter crop. This is a significant economic compromise for the farmer, but that is simply how it works out over cycles of responsible and sustainable farm management.
Although there was a light, wispy fog up at the tea garden by 10 a.m. on the day of harvest, the leaves were transported down the mountain — from 1500m on the farm to about 700m elevation at the factory. It was a warm and sunny day in the village where the leaves were processed, offering optimal withering conditions. The character of the brewed tea is a classic fall batch — not overly fragrant, but substantial in both its aromatic and flavor profile. A smooth, balanced brew that results from tender leaf material and skillful processing.
Check out the video of our ride up to the farm on the day of harvest and get a feel for where these tea leaves grew!