Flavor: Fresh foresty, herbal aroma. Balanced, soft savory and vegetal notes. Satisfying, clean/dry finish.
Garden: This farm is managed by an innovative farmer who inherited his family farm, and has continued to expand his farm management to other plots of tea in the Shanlinxi region. Mr. Chen has been a professional tea judge for over 20 years, and continues to hone his skills as both a farmer and professional representative of specialty Oolong tea.
In recent years, he has focused on cultivating tea, and works in cooperation with a local colleague with whom he contracts the processing of his tea. We also know this colleague – Mr. Zhang, who is younger, but very skilled and sought after as a contracted tea maker. A great deal of the tea that he supervises the processing of is procured for entry into the Lugu Farmers' Association's Dong Ding Oolong Tea Competition. Mr. Zhang is also a professional tea judge who is highly motivated in his career.
Harvest: Hand-picked in medium batches, winter 2020. Shan Lin Xi, Nantou, Taiwan.
One of the prominent qualities of Taiwanese high mountain oolong is the fragrance that exudes from the freshly brewed leaves. Especially after the first and second brews, hold the un-lidded teapot near your nose and inhale slowly to experience the volatile aromatic oils that are being released from the freshly moistened and heated leaves. From there you can enjoy the evolving aroma of each successive brew. The fragrance is the most intriguing and subtle quality of a fine high mountain tea.
This tea carries distinct qualities of adequate oxidation of the leaves during processing. This is evident in its sweeter, mellowed aroma and smooth, balanced flavor. Its aroma is slightly less floral and more foresty or pastry-like. Oxidation offers a more substantial, less green brew that is complex, yet balanced and smooth on the palate. In addition to this, Mr. Chen had his leaves dried more extensively at the final stage of rolling and drying to remove any remaining moisture in the stems of the leaves. This cures the leaf more thoroughly, stabilizing the flavor profile and prolonging shelf life. It also subtly mellows the flavor further to offer a softer, sweeter, more balanced brew.
This winter crop was harvested significantly earlier than normal, since this section of the farm was pruned slightly after the spring harvest. So the new growth following the pruning grew faster than the rest of the farm. It was then oxidized significantly more than standard High Mountain Tea, with the intention of making into Dong Ding Oolong. But it was not quite oxidized enough to produce optimal results as a Dong Ding. So we decided to source this entire day's harvest from this very small section of the farm for our winter batch of Shan Lin Xi High Mountain Oolong.
Our source of this tea is firmly committed to the practice of transporting the freshly picked leaves to a factory at about half the elevation of the tea farm in order to provide ideal climate conditions for processing. Specifically, there is more sunshine and less fog at lower elevation, along with more available outdoor space to provide an optimal environment for solar withering - the initial an pivotal stage of Oolong Tea processing. It is this level of professionalism combined with the more environmentally friendly aspect of using a factory located in a residential area rather than on a remote high elevation tea farm that makes us committed to this source of quality Taiwanese High Mountain Tea.