In the photo above we are tasting our three new batches of winter High Mountain Oolong Tea. Shan Lin Xi is on the left, Alishan is in the middle, and Lishan is on the right. 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 on the left, and less oxidation as we move to the right.
Lishan High Mountain Oolong Tea is first in line for winter harvest, being the highest elevation. Our batch of Lishan winter tea was picked in the second week of October. It was processed in the classic High Mountain Tea fashion, with minimal oxidation, and high temperature tumble heating. It offers a flavor profile that we noted as: Garden fresh aroma. Tender baby greens delicately sautéed in butter with a hint of arugula. Mild, lasting, savory finish.
Our winter batch of Shan Lin Xi High Mountain Oolong was harvested on Halloween, and was processed by our friends who specialize in making tea that is suitable for the Lugu Farmers' Association Dong Ding Oolong Tea Competition. Since the quality standard for this largest and most prestigious Oolong Tea competition is a medium roasted Oolong, the leaves need to be significantly oxidized to achieve optimal results. The flavor profile we noted for this batch of tea is as follows: Rich, subtly sweet, forest aroma. Smooth, balanced, soft savory notes. Clean, herbal finish.
Alishan High Mountain Oolong winter tea was harvested the first week in November. This source also professionally produces tea for competition players. It's a specialized niche in the market, and only the most competent tea makers are willing to put their tea making skills to work to offer this type of tea. There is more risk involved in the making, and it is not the flavor profile that has been heavily promoted over decades of High Mountain Tea production.
The primary reason that High Mountain Tea was designed as a minimally oxidized unroasted tea is that it lends itself to consistency, and it requires minimal processing, so it can be produced in higher volumes on a daily basis. We are most interested in supporting the most skilled tea makers, and simultaneously offering our customers a more specialized product. While it varies from the market standard of quality, we are confident that it is a more skillfully made tea, with deeper more refined qualities.
We noted the character of our Alishan High Mountain winter tea as having: Fresh buttery pastry aroma. Creamy, mild green leafy flavor notes with a hint of citrus. Lingering floral/vegetal finish. The Alishan winter tea is a happy medium between the Lishan and the Shan Lin Xi, offering enough fresh vibrant character while being mellow, full-bodied, and satisfying.
Check out our tasting video for the full details on both seasonal variations as well as a deeper look from the inside of the local specialty tea industry in Taiwan!
LET US KNOW!
Please post any questions or comments you may have in the comments section below!
If you enjoyed this post and would like to hear more about the specialty tea industry here in Taiwan, follow us on YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram and please subscribe to our newsletter. Subscribe now and get $5 off your first order!