The above garden is our ongoing source of Shan Lin Xi High Mountain Oolong. In July of last year, we began offering a roasted version of our all-time favorite High Mountain Oolong in our limited edition tea series. Read the blogpost here. We initially shared that batch of tea with the Eco-Cha Tea Club, then offered the remaining amount as a limited edition.
We procured our winter 2022 batches of Sanxia Bi Luo Chun and Wenshan Baozhong Teas at about the same time. Since these teas are produced in close geographical proximity, and share a deep cultural history, we decided to brew them simultaneously to offer a perspective on how they compare and contrast with each other.
Taiwan High Mountain Oolong Teas are typically harvested 3 or 4 times a year. Between the most popular spring and winter harvests, there are usually summer and/or fall crops. In recent years, we've been dedicated to sourcing these "in between" harvests as much as possible. We do this for two reasons.
We proudly announce our Limited Edition series of Eco-Cha Teas! This exclusive selection is comprised of teas that are both top quality and limited in supply. Some are teas that we've offered previously and some are new additions to our in-store menu. All of them represent Taiwan's tea culture and world class professionalism.
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.
Our summer 2022 batch of Alishan High Mountain Jin Xuan Oolong is an exemplary representative of this category of Taiwan Tea! It is lightly oxidized, offering pronounced milky/buttery notes which the Jin Xuan cultivar is famous for. Given the weather patterns through the early spring growing season compared with the late spring growing season — the second flush offers a more classic Alishan Jin Xuan flavor profile.
It's the above award that inspired us to have the second half of our winter 2021 stock of Shan Lin Xi High Mountain Oolong roasted by our close friend who cultivated it. He entered his own roasted version from this same crop into the Lugu Farmers" Association Dong Ding Oolong Tea competition and received Top Category Award (within the top 2% of all entries). When we heard the news, we promptly requested his services to roast the remainder of our procured share in the same fashion as this top award winning tea!
Taiwan's Tie Guan Yin Oolong, as it is made in the Muzha tradition, is the most heavily oxidized and heavily roasted of all Taiwan's renowned Oolong (partially oxidized) tea types. The photo above shows the leaves when they are approaching the desired degree of oxidation, before the tumble heating/kill green step of Oolong Tea making.
Eco-Cha's source of Eco-Farmed High Mountain Oolong is the most remote and natural setting of a tea farm that we have seen in Taiwan. Located on aboriginal land, adjacent to Yushan National Forest Park, it's got a lot going for it — thanks to the husband and wife team who manage it. Our spring batch of tea is a 50/50 blend of two days harvest from their two plots of tea. These two days of harvest were entered separately in the this year's national organic tea competition, and both received awards.
Spring Tea is the most popular among Taiwan's High Mountain Tea fans. Generally speaking, spring harvest offers the most aromatic and fresh flavor profile. In the end, however, each batch of tea has its own unique character. So we are going to take this opportunity to taste all 3 of our spring High Mountain Oolong Teas simultaneously, and while doing so, offer some background information about each growing region and how they differ from each other.
Above we can see the Pinglin District to the southeast of Taipei, but still within New Taipei City limits. Pinglin is not far at all from Taiwan's largest metropolis, but it feels more remote and rural than most developed regions on the island of Taiwan. It really feels like a relic of the past, in stark contrast to the modern city nearby. This rural community that produces a world-renowned tea is a historical landmark in its own right. We are privileged to represent this specialty tea in the international tea community.
Our spring 2022 batch of Li Shan High Mountain Oolong Tea is now on the shelf! Li Shan is a place name that means Pear Mountain. Li Shan High Mountain Tea is the most prestigious name of Taiwan Tea overall. It is home to the highest elevation tea farms on the island of Taiwan, and the climate is ideal for producing the best quality leaf — in the world, arguably!