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.
The photo above shows all three Li Shan High Mountain Oolong harvests of 2022. Our spring batch is on the left, late summer in the middle, and winter on the right. It was an educational as much as an enjoyable experience to brew each of our Li Shan 2022 batches side by side. Tasting each one brought to mind the growing seasons and harvest conditions of each, and simultaneously brewing them distinguished their differences.
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!
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.
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!
On the occasion of International Tea Day, Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs posted a video on their Youtube channelabout Taiwanese tea culture in which we participated. Eco-Cha was asked to share a day in the life of our world of tea. So the first introduction was to our tea family and mentors Tony and Lisa Lin. We just sat in the backyard and had tea, like we usually do, and talked with the film makers about the local industry and culture.
Spring 2022 Taiwan high mountain tea harvest is slowly but steadily working its way up the mountain! Lower and mid-elevations were harvested by mid-April. Alishan High Mountain Oolong was mostly harvested by the last week in April, as Shan Lin Xi High Mountain Tea picking began.