We went up to film on the first day of spring harvest by our source of Shan Lin Xi High Mountain Oolong Tea. The early morning was sunny, but the fog rolled in early, and we were socked in by noon, diminishing our aspirations for getting lots of scenic drone footage! But this is representative of the daily weather — particularly in this micro-climate of a ravine that faces northeast.
Our friend chose to only use one pot, or tumble heater, for the fixing stage. This would make it a slower and more relaxed tea making session, while allowing the leaves that were picked later in the day to oxidize more — resulting in a more uniformly cured batch of tea.
The photo above shows new leaf growth at the optimal growth stage for harvest, particularly given this year's drought conditions. Normally, the leaves would be a bit larger. But the most essential factor is that there is sufficient new leaf growth that is still in its vibrant growth stage. This is most obviously indicated by pert V-shape contour of the newest growth. The leaves lower down on the newly sprouted branches will eventually flatten out, and settle into their more "permanent" vegetation stage. It's the new, vibrant leaves that are mature enough to have substance, but tender enough to be optimal raw material for premium Alishan High Mountain Oolong Tea.
The Chairman of Taiwan's Department of Agriculture made an appearance in our neighborhood (Zhushan) to conduct a field survey of the impact drought conditions have made on crops of spring tea. The Tea Research and Extension Station reported that yield is down 30-50% from average at lower elevations, and higher elevations are not much better.
A lot of care and know-how goes into the making of fine artisan teas here in Taiwan, and the same can be said about the packaging of tea. Ever wonder how tea is packaged? The local packaging services in tea producing regions are all family-run businesses. In acknowledgement of their important role, we wanted to show you one and how they package tea.
Taiwan produces some of the world’s best teas. Learning when, where and how to procure them only comes from many years of involvement in local tea industry and culture. Here we give you an inside look at what's entailed in bringing you some of the best of Taiwan's teas.
These leaves were brought into the factory the afternoon before we showed up at the end of February for our share of early spring Bi Luo Chun Green Tea. The raw leaves in this photo have set overnight, slowly wilting and subtly transforming in their chemical constituents. Our batch was already completely processed, having been picked and delivered to the factory the morning prior. These leaves were picked within 14 days of sprouting. And they will grow faster as spring advances. It is this earliest new spring growth that produces the finest quality Bi Luo Chun, and this year is our earliest spring procurement yet.
For many people in Asia, the start of the Lunar New Year is what Christmas is to folks in most Western countries. Shops and business shut down for a week so people can go home to spend time with family. Festive decorations abound everywhere you look, and Taiwan was no exception. Here is what things looked like on the ground from Bamboo Mountain (Zhushan), Taiwan.
Tea is deeply embedded in the fiber of society in Taiwan. From bubble tea shops to chatting with friends over gong-fu brewed tea, most people here either consume or at least encounter tea in some way in their daily lives. Beyond the fact that it's the most commonly consumed beverage, we wanted to know what tea means to the person on the street in Taiwan, so we started asking them.
We have never felt more privileged and excited about representing a tea source than we do about this one. We feel so strongly about this farm and its owners that we are making a documentary film of their lives that led them to the place where they are now. We look forward to sourcing tea from them for years and years to follow!
It is important to know how much caffeine you are consuming, but with so many different teas, sizes, and brands; it can be tricky to figure out exactly how each tea stacks up.
Ready-to-drink bottled teas have caffeine values listed on the bottle, but how does the caffeine in ready-to-drink tea measure up with loose-leaf tea, or a tea bag? What about steep time? Is double the amount of tea double the caffeine?
Our Hong Oolong Tea comes from Meishan Township, Chiayi County, Taiwan. Meishan is the northeastern corner of the Alishan tea producing region, and in our perception, it generally offers the best Alishan Tea. So, even though Hong Oolong is not commonly made in this region, Eco-Cha (at long last!) has chosen this source for specific reasons.