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!
With the arrival of our spring batch of TaiwanDong Ding Oolong Tea, we were inspired to brew it alongside ourTraditional Dong Ding Oolongas well as our current edition of theEco-Cha Tea Club— which also happens to be a Traditional Dong Ding Oolong. All three teas were harvested this spring from the same community in Lugu, Taiwan.
Dong Ding Oolong Tea Country is the biggest hub of Taiwan tea culture. Soon after the KMT took control of Taiwan, the area on and around Dong Ding Mountain was determined to be the best location to develop tea cultivation.
Given the fact that Tie Guan Yin Oolong Tea entails the most extensive processing methods, offering a rich, bold, and complex character — we've found that letting a newly made batch settle for a few months allows it to achieve optimal results. So, we only just now offering our winter 2021 batch. And just for fun, we did a cupping together with our winter 2018 and our spring 2020 past batches
Eco-Cha is launching a new category of Taiwan Tea in our store! More often than not, our favorite teas are only available in small quantities. This means that they are likely to sell out occasionally, until we are able to procure the next batch. Each batch is noticeably different from each other, while being the same type of tea. So we decided to create a "Limited Edition" category designated to distinctive quality teas that are in limited supply.
Taiwan's Tea Research and Extension Station has produced dozens of hybrid tea cultivars. But there are three hybrid cultivars created in Taiwan which are by far the most popular. These are Jin Xuan(Tai Cha #12), Tsui Yu(Tai Cha #13), and Four Seasons Spring.
We taste tested our three new batches of winter High Mountain Oolong Tea -- Shan Lin Xi, Alishan, and Li Shan. We can see the difference in the oxidation levels of the tea leaves in the coloration of the brewed tea. We can see a higher degree of oxidation in the Shan Lin Xi and less oxidation as we move to the Li Shan.
The tea name Tie Guan Yin Oolong can represent different things. First, it is the name of a tea tree cultivar that originates from Anxi Province in China. This cultivar was brought to Taiwan generations ago, and continues to be popular, although less commonly found than other tea strains. Since Eco-Cha is an exclusive purveyor of specialty Taiwan Tea, we represent this name as a unique processing method that was developed in Muzha, Taipei over 50 years ago.
We have become close friends, and this is a unique connection in our 25 years of involvement with tea producers in the local Taiwan tea industry. This farm is a rare resource, given its environment and micro-climate. The owners have faced many challenges and only in the last few years have developed their organic farming to a stable situation. Now, with some support and guidance, we believe they will soon be producing some of the best organic tea in Taiwan!
Our Hong Oolong Tea comes from Meishan Township, Chiayi County, Taiwan. Meishan is the northeastern corner of the Alishan tea producing region, and in our perception, it generally offers the best Alishan Tea. So, even though Hong Oolong is not commonly made in this region, Eco-Cha (at long last!) has chosen this source for specific reasons.
We are very happy to finally be able to offer the pre-modern version of Dong Ding Oolong Tea! We've waited for years to source this local traditional specialty from our friend who simply has more demand than supply from his family plot of tea in Phoenix Village in Lugu Township, Taiwan.
Over the course of our chat, catching up on spring harvest, competition, and other tea related topics, we realized that this artisan of Traditional Tie Guan Yin Oolong is the single most patient and painstaking tea maker we know. The amount of time and serious labor he puts into making a very minimal amount of tea is just so far off the charts of any other type of tea production we've seen. Oh, and he won first place prize a year and half ago, amidst top 2% and top 10% prizes that he is awarded consistently in the Muzha Farmers' Association Traditional Tie Guan Yin Oolong Tea competition.