This photo was taken on our final sourcing trip for spring 2021 harvest of Taiwan Oolong Tea. This is in Lishan on May 17, at the highest elevation tea growing region on the island - Huagang. It turned out to be a very rewarding trip, and we are very happy with the day's harvest that we sourced. You can come along for the ride by watching our video below!
Before Li Shan, we headed up to the Taipei area to visit our source of Wenshan Baozhong Tea in Pinglin on May 13. We were mildly taken aback when we walked in and he had 10 bowls of tea pre-brewed, cooled down, and waiting for us to taste, but once we started, we were totally into it!
As we sipped and commented randomly about this and that, the farmer and craftsman of this tea said that this spring's harvest turned out surprisingly well. "The quality of this year's tea is all quite good." is what he said to be exact. And we know him well enough to know that he wasn't just blowing his own horn. It was very interesting and educational to sip each day's harvest slowly and steadily, back and forth, repeatedly. Then we drained the bowls and did a second brew, which offered more revealing qualities about each batch. In 20 minutes, we had it narrowed down to 2 batches.
We went and had lunch, came back, and brewed these two days fresh. It was clear which one we wanted. Still fresh, but with adequate oxidation. He said that our choice pick could be entered into competition, but that the soup was slightly yellow, and perhaps not light green enough to hit the competition standard. We care not about the color frankly. It was bright and transparent, and had the balance of flavor we prefer. Here we are below carrying our share of the bounty home with us. We'll have this batch on the shelf and up for sale next week!
We sourced our Shan Lin Xi High Mountain Oolong on May 8, two days after the final day of harvest from our source. We went up the mountain to check out the first day of harvest on April 28. We saw for ourselves that the drought conditions throughout the spring growing season only had a minimal effect on this micro-climate as well. Basically, the new leaf growth was still slightly immature as a result, but still abundant. So we concluded that northern Taiwan, the highest elevation regions, as well as Shan Lin Xi fared well through the drought. Here's the video of our Shan Lin Xi spring harvest recon mission:
The Alishan High Mountain Tea growing region was most obviously impacted by the drought. Alishan in in southern Taiwan, at lower elevations than the northern High Mountain Tea growing regions, and it's hotter. This climate, in conjunction with no rain allowed for very little growth this spring. On our first visit in early April, we had little hope of procuring a quality batch of spring tea. But we learned a lesson in the significance of micro-climates. Because just on the other side of the same mountain, there was sufficient moisture to produce a fine spring crop! Check our blog post for the full story.
At mid-elevation Lugu, our family run farms also fared well enough, despite the drought conditions. The yield was much less, but still more than half the normal volume, and quality was good! Here's the vid of our Traditional Dong Ding Oolong in the making:
The earliest sourcing trip this year was for our Bi Luo Chun Green Tea in Sanxia. Northern Taiwan is significantly cooler and wetter than the rest of the rest of the island. This, combined with the fact that our crop was harvested in late February, provided us with the best batch of Bi Luo Chun we've sourced to date! Here's the video of our road trip to source it:
So there it is, a quick round up of how our spring 2021 sourcing turned out. You can check the product pages of any of our teas for details and browse our blog as well! All hail Taiwan Tea!
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