Traditional Hong Shui Oolong Tea Tasting Notes | Eco-Cha Tea Club

September 11, 2020

Traditional Hong Shui Oolong dried tea leaves

What makes batch 58 of the Eco-Cha Tea Club qualify as a Traditional Hong Shui Oolong?

4 Reasons:

  1. Origin
  2. Growing Season
  3. Processing
  4. Flavor Profile

This batch of tea leaves was harvested from a family plot of tea in the heart of Taiwan's Traditional Oolong Tea making region: Phoenix Village in Lugu Township. It's a small plot of Qing Xin Oolong tea trees located in the backyard of our friend's traditional 3-sided farmhouse, one side of which is their home-style tea factory.

This crop was harvested from the tips of the new growth that followed this year's spring harvest. So the plants were allowed to vegetate and grow naturally for three whole months, producing new shoots of around 30cm. The leaves picked from the tops of these new branches have a more substantial composition than the fresh new growth that only grows about 10cm before it is harvested. This plot of tea was left alone since spring harvest. So zero pesticides allowed for the Green Leafhopper and other pests to contribute to the character of this crop of tea.

Traditional Hong Shui Oolong brewed tea in a cup

The leaves at the tips of this more matured new growth grew more slowly, making them thicker and tougher than the standard tender new growth that is typically harvested with 50 days after pruning or the previous harvest. This calls for traditional processing methods, which basically means more of everything preceding the tumble heating/kill green phase. So more extensive solar withering, indoor withering, shuffling by hand, and tumbling. Finally, and most significantly, the still withering stage prior to tumble heating was about double the norm for modern Oolong processing, AND the trays of tea leaves were covered with another tray to contain the heat and moisture exuding from the oxidizing leaves. This enhances the thorough oxidation of the leaves.

Traditional Hong Shui Oolong brewed tea leaves

The extensive summer growth preceding the harvest, and the skillfully implemented heavy manipulation of the more substantial leaf material by a professional Dong Ding Oolong Tea master result in an exemplary batch of traditionally made tea in Taiwan's heart of Oolong Tea Country.

Tasting Video

Watch the tasting video for more insights about this tea!

The full flavored character reflects the mastery that evolved from pre-modern tea producing methods — which our friend learned from his grandfather as a teenager. It's a rich, fruity, complex flavor profile with classic mineral notes, and a vibrant, truly satisfying finish. This, this is the real deal when it comes to traditionally made Oolong Tea from Nantou County, Taiwan!

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