Flavor: Fresh herbal/floral aroma. Delicate, complex vegetal character. Clean, lasting nose finish.
Garden: This garden is located on the west side of the Lishan region, situated directly above a reservoir, and at the top of a ridge. It is well managed by a couple with 30 years of High Mountain Tea farming experience.
Harvest: Hand-picked, medium batch, Heping, Taiwan. Spring 2019.
In notable contrast to our choice of last spring's batch of tea from this same source, we chose the lesser oxidized batch this year. This is simply due to the flavor profile of the brewed tea. We chose the batch with the most complexity and intrigue in its character. On first tasting, we chose the middle level of oxidation among three different days of harvest. Then we tasted the two samples we preferred twice again in two different brewing conditions, with different water sources. We finally chose the more standard version of a high elevation tea, which is harvested on the younger side, and less oxidized.
While we tend to support significant oxidation of unroasted teas, it really comes down to the brew. There are many contributing factors determining how a given batch of tea will taste in the end. It really is a complex equation that is impossible to pinpoint in one or two (or 5!) factors, such as oxidation or weather conditions. There are conditions that are not generally known, beyond the assessment of the tea makers while they are processing a batch of leaf. Oxidation can potentially result in a flatter, monotone profile that typically is resolved with varying levels of post production roasting. Since we offer our High Mountain Oolongs without post production treatment, we found the comparatively greener batch to be our preference of this spring's harvest. We find it refreshing to come full circle and offer a more standard quality of Lishan High Mountain Oolong for this spring's pick!
We visited the Lishan farm and factory during spring harvest last year and observed the overall scene. The source is a family we befriended over a year ago, and feel very confident about working with. Their home is in Alishan, where they run a renowned factory, cooperating with local growers, and producing competition grade award winning tea for many years now. They have recently leased a plot of tea in the western side of the Lishan region, on the top of a ridge, directly above a reservoir. This micro-climate is a significant asset. Their tea making skills are in high demand among wholesalers here on the ground. Many wholesalers buy their tea in large quantities without even tasting it. They have numerous long term customers who buy their produce consistently.