We recently sourced our spring 2020 Tie Guan Yin Oolong Tea from one of our favorite tea makers — ever. Here's the story of our sourcing trip.
Eco-Cha is based in central Taiwan, where we've lived and learned about tea for most of the last 30 years. But since we established our brand and made it our mission to represent all of Taiwan's renowned tea types, we've gotten to know some true artisans in northern Taiwan. Namely, our sources of Wenshan Baozhong, Sanxia Bi Luo Chun, and Muzha Tie Guan Yin. When we visited our source of Tie Guan Yin to taste spring tea this year, we had a bit of an epiphany.
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.
We sat down at his humble tea table and tasted three different batches of tea that he made in the last couple of months (given the extensive roasting process). Each of these minimal batches were roasted for something like 40 hours or more. This is the post production work. He also withered, oxidized, tumble heated, rolled, steamed and dried each batch by himself! The primary processing alone takes 3 days to make less than 20kg of tea! In a word, his work truly an artisan craft — more than any other tea making method that we've seen.
So how does this Tie Guan Yin taste? Well, to begin with, every single batch this artisan makes tastes distinctly different, and he can effortlessly elucidate the reasons why, as if they were road directions. This, in our perception, is the definition of a master. On our way home from our visit to this master, carrying our small and precious amount of his spring tea, we sent a message to our mentor in Lugu about our realization that our sources of Tie Guan Yiin and Wenshan Baozhong are arguably the most dedicated and skilled tea makers we know.
The flavor profile of Tie Guan Yin Oolong from Muzha, Taipei is not for the timid palate. It is a very strong, rich, deep, smoky, and complex character of tea. You can watch our tea tasting video for our take on what our current batch of spring Tie Guan Yin Oolong has to offer.
If you'd like to try some of this tea, click here !
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