The World's Largest Oolong Tea Competition Spring 2016
Now over 40 years running, this spring's Lugu Farmers' Association Dong Ding Oolong Tea Competition consisted of 6,441 entries. This pioneering tea competition was designed to maintain and promote a standard of high quality in the production of this traditional type of Oolong Tea.
Nearly half of the overall entries are disqualified from the competition in the long arduous task of judging the quality of each tea. The judging is done in a highly systematized process that has been developed over decades by leading professionals.
primary tea judging
Below is a snapshot of the initial grading process. Stage one of the tea judging involves six teams of six individuals who have undergone rigorous training and testing to become licensed tea judges.
These preliminary judges are all local residents of Lugu Township, and virtually all of these judges are tea farmers. The Lugu Farmers' Association designed the judging process this way to integrate the production standards of locally produced tea with the commercial promotion of this traditional tea that has become world renowned. The producers of this local specialty have been trained to be professional tea judges, which has improved their tea making knowledge and skills.
secondary tea judging
Below is a shot of the single finalist team of national tea judges employed by the government funded Tea Research and Extension Station. Without going into too much detail, the judging process takes weeks of continuous assessment to finalize decisions on the award winning teas.
extended tea tasting method
Notice that the there are two tea bowls per cup in the image below. This shows that the highest ranking teas are brewed twice for the most rigorous comparisons of the highest quality tea entries. Three grams of tea leaves brewed for six minutes undergo assessment by the most qualified professionals, and then are brewed for a second time to determine their full spectrum of consistency. In a word, this is serious business! More information on Taiwan's tea competitions can be found in our comprehensive overview.
Here is the tea being packaged and sealed with the farmers' association certification of authenticity. So much work and resources are involved in representing some of the world's highest quality tea, guaranteed by dozens of individuals with generations of experience behind them!
We've observed this competition for over 20 years now, providing English translation of its methodology and representation of this local treasure of Dong Ding Oolong Tea. And along the way, we get to participate in the celebration of our tea friends receiving awards for their exhausting efforts that we've witnessed year after year.
Our purpose is to let tea lovers around the world know how much time, energy, and resources go into producing this level of quality tea. Only then will they understand the value that this competition has created for it.
Below is a shot our friends who we procure tea from regularly. A husband and wife team with their son and daughter pose for a photo with the mayor of Nantou County and other local officials for their 5th place award.
We were offered a share in this 5th Place Award winning tea that was sold out within a week. A few of our fans took advantage of this exclusive offer to purchase this prize winning tea in its certified packaging, which makes it some of the highest valued tea in the world.
We were there on that rainy morning when the tea was distributed to its owners to pay personal tribute. It was a hectic scene, but our friends remained calm as they retrieved their award winning tea to take home, and distribute it to their loyal customers who reserved their shares in the prize.
The Lugu Farmers' Association Dong Ding Oolong Tea competition has unquestionably set a precedent for all other tea competitions in Taiwan, and now in mainland China. We feel honored to have observed this evolution of the specialty tea industry in recent decades.
If you found this post useful 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!
Leave a comment
Comments will be approved before showing up.
Also in News
Batch 63 of the Eco-Cha Tea Club was harvested in November 2020, processed, and then sorted to remove stem material and any discolored leaves in preparation for the winter 2020 competition and the New Taipei City Farmers's Association.
The distinctive quality of Baozhong Tea is that the leaves are shuffled well to induce uniform oxidation, but they are only minimally rolled. This keeps their physical composition in tact. The leaves are not damaged by pressure rolling. This locks in a fresh, green quality that put Baozhong Tea in a category of its own.