We brewed our spring batch of Shan Lin Xi High Mountain Oolong Tea alongside the freshly picked summer batch to observe the differences between these two consecutive harvests from the same source. These two batches exhibited the classic seasonal traits of spring and summer high mountain tea.
Above is our choice pick of spring tea from our source of Wenshan Baozhong Tea. It was a surprisingly smooth process of choosing which day's harvest we wanted. At first, when we walked in and saw his tea table maxed out with 10 bowls of pre-brewed tea, and were invited to taste them and choose which one we want, it was rather intimidating!
The photo above shows new leaf growth at the optimal growth stage for harvest, particularly given this year's drought conditions. Normally, the leaves would be a bit larger. But the most essential factor is that there is sufficient new leaf growth that is still in its vibrant growth stage. This is most obviously indicated by pert V-shape contour of the newest growth. The leaves lower down on the newly sprouted branches will eventually flatten out, and settle into their more "permanent" vegetation stage. It's the new, vibrant leaves that are mature enough to have substance, but tender enough to be optimal raw material for premium Alishan High Mountain Oolong Tea.
This year's winter batch is closer to the classic Li Shan High Mountain Oolong in that it is less oxidized than our recent batches from this source. Minimal oxidation offers more aromatic complexity, and a more delicate and fresh flavor profile. Watch the video below for a detailed tasting of this new batch in comparison with the previous fall batch of tea, as well as last winter's batch — all from the same farm, made by the same craftsmen.
In the end, each seasonal crop has its own unique combination of contributing factors that give it a slightly different aromatic and flavor profile than other seasons. We really enjoy experiencing these seasonal variations from the same plot of tea processed in the same basic way. We encourage our High Mountain Oolong fans to follow suit in order to more fully understand this type of tea and how it can vary from season to season.
This batch of Alishan High Mountain Jin Xuan Oolong summer 2020 harvest has a very pronounced buttery character. Starting with the leaves put into the pre-heated tea judging cup, they exuded a pronounced buttered toast/popcorn aroma. But the flavor profile is replete with an uncanny buttered popcorn note, it's almost unbelievable! How can tea leaves do this?! It's not only buttered popcorn either! There are distinct floral and vegetal notes that balance out the incredulous and delicious buttered popcorn flavor. OK, enough repetitive description! Click hereto get your share.
Taiwan is home to some of the finest tea in the world, particularly in the Oolong category. Yet, not all Taiwanese teas are widely recognized or understood by name. So here is an overview of the top ten most famous teas from Taiwan.
The inspiration for this post began when we first tasted our spring batches of tea this year. Especially for the three teas that we'll take a look at here, we immediately thought upon tasting each of them, they are noticeably different from last winter's batch. So first, let's list the main points to observe in comparing seasonal batches from the same source of tea.