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June, 18, 2018

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Happy Dragon Boat Festival!

Our friend, and go-to teaware vendor for over 20 years, knows that we are always looking for interesting styles of teaware. When he sent us photos of this pretty decorative teapot, crafted in the shape of a swimming fish, only weeks before Dragon Boat Festival, we instantly recognized the cultural significance. To help celebrate the Dragon Boat Festival, we're offering you this special-edition teapot along with 75g of Tie Guan Yin Oolong tea for a limited time! View full article →
June, 17, 2018

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Eco-Cha Tea Club: Light Roast Phoenix Village Oolong Tasting Notes

The truth is, our favorite batches of traditionally made Taiwanese Oolongs have come from this community of family owned farms in the foothills of Phoenix Mountain in Lugu Township. We've been told it's the soil, and the mid-elevation climate that is most conducive to making a traditionally made Oolong Tea. But in our own perception, it's the expertise that comes from generations of tea making that results in the character of tea that we love the most. View full article →
June, 13, 2018

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Eco-Cha Tea Club: Light Roast Phoenix Village Oolong Tea

We recently visited Mr. Liu when we hosted a visitor from Italy who was keen on experiencing the local tea culture. Our guest was truly elated to be served tea by a true artisan of the trade. Mr. Liu served us three different teas that were all locally harvested this past spring. They varied only in their degree oxidation and roasting. And the one that was sufficiently oxidized, but only lightly roasted, immediately impressed us.

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June, 10, 2018

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Dragon Boat Festival Special Offer

A few weeks ago we came across something fantastic that we knew we had to offer to our customers as part of the upcoming Dragon Boat Festival. We'll be announcing a special offer this Thursday (June 14th) first through our newsletter. So, if you haven't already signed up for our newsletter, sign up now here so you can get first dibs on this exciting item. If you sign up, you'll also get $5 off your first order. Not only is this item functional, and useful, it's sure to become a collectors item!

You can sign up for the newsletter at this link: http://eepurl.com/dvZs4L 

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June, 9, 2018

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Sustainability and Responsible Farming—What Does it Entail?

Eco-Cha prides itself on sourcing tea in a responsible and sustainable way. There are lots of definitions and discussions on what this means exactly. These words can represent different things to different people. Here are some of the elements that we feel make a responsible farmer.

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June, 8, 2018

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How to Choose Unroasted Oolong Tea

Here's a simple guide that defines and categorizes Taiwan's unroasted Oolong Tea in a way that will help you find your "cup of tea". View full article →
June, 1, 2018

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How to Cure a Gongfu (Yixing) Teapot

There are many ways to brew up your favorite loose leaf tea, but one of the most meditative and relaxing ways is using a clay gongfu (or “yixing”)  teapot. These Chinese teapots allow you to brew seemingly endless pots of tea while chatting with family and friends. And the brewing method involved with using a gongfu teapot is considered to make the best-tasting tea. But, like any finely crafted tool or cooking utensil, there are some specific recommendations for preparing and caring for a brand new gongfu teapot. Check out our steps below on how to cure / season one before use. View full article →
May, 28, 2018

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Traditional Oolong Tea Making Workshop In Taiwan

Eco-Cha recently attended a Traditional Dong Ding Oolong Tea making workshop conducted by the (Taiwan) Lugu Farmers' Association Dong Ding Oolong Tea Competition judging team. Join us as some of the world's premier oolong tea makers and judges teach their craft to the next generation. 

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May, 25, 2018

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How To Choose Loose Leaf Oolong Tea

It turns out that you can tell a lot by "judging" Oolong tea by it's appearance. Here's a quick list of things to look for when you are looking at dry Oolong tea leaves. 

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May, 13, 2018

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Eco-Cha Tea Club: Eco-Farmed Dong Pian Jade Oolong Tea Tasting Notes

Our friend who is an organic tea farmer kept this batch separate from his normal practice of combining winter and spring harvests for his high grade produce for retail sale. We discovered that he still had a small amount of this harvest left when we visited his farmhouse a few months ago and inquired if he had any unique batches of tea to share. In classic local manner, he modestly replied that he had a batch of Dong Pian Tsui Yu that was harvested last January. Dong Pian in Chinese basically means late winter harvest, and Tsui Yu is a hybrid strain that is translated as Jade Oolong. We tasted it and were captivated by its character, and were delighted to be told that there was enough tea be shared with the Eco-Cha Tea Club! View full article →
May, 11, 2018

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How Alishan Oolong Tea Competitions Are Judged

Taiwan is one of the world's premier Oolong Tea producing regions. As such, tea makers in Taiwan are producing some of the best oolong tea in the world. Taiwan is also the home to tea competitions that makers from all over the island enter their best teas into. First prize at at the largest competitions goes for up to $10,000 USD for 600 grams. 

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May, 6, 2018

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Eco-Cha Tea Club: Eco-Farmed Dong Pian Jade Oolong Tea

Shown above is the more recently planted section of a plot of Tsui Yu, aka Tai Cha #13, aka Jade Oolong. The crop that we are sharing with the Eco-Cha Tea Club this month was harvested in January, which makes it a relatively rare batch of tea in that it was harvested well after the winter harvest. In Taiwan, harvests that occur after December 21st are referred to as "Dong Pian", which is a name that connotes a new leaf growth that is stunted by the winter season. This late winter crop offers a distinctive character based on the slow growth of the new leaves on the tea trees. View full article →
April, 3, 2018

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Eco-Cha Tea Club: Gold Medal Award Dong Ding Jin Xuan Oolong Tea Tasting Notes

With the first brew poured off, the leaves offer a distinctly roasted character with nutty, fruitwood fireside notes. After the second brew the aroma of the brewed leaves turns a bit fruity, with a warming spice sweetness reminiscent of pumpkin pie. The tea has a roasted flavor upfront, followed by a sweetness like grilled fresh corn. Then it moves into a more balanced, rich, complex character and smooth texture. The second visual assessment of competition teas is the purity of color and transparency of the brewed tea. It should be clear and luminescent. View full article →
April, 2, 2018

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Eco-Cha Tea Club: Gold Medal Award Dong Ding Jin Xuan Oolong Tea

This month's batch of tea being shared with the Eco-Cha Tea Club was entered into the winter 2017 Nantou County Tea Trade Association's Dong Ding Jin Xuan Tea Competition, and received the Gold Medal Award. This award ranks within the top 5% of all entries. This competition has been in existence for almost 25 years. It began with the development of Jin Xuan tea production in the early 1990's. View full article →
March, 21, 2018

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Cold Brew Tea Bottle

Contrary to what the recent weather has indicated, spring IS on its way! And while all those pots of freshly brewed hot tea provided warmth and well-being through the winter, it's time to start getting out and about. But there's no need to leave your beloved tea at home. From now until March 31st, order $50 or more of tea and you'll get this free cold brew tea bottle (retail value $15.99) to take your tea along with you! Make your order $75 or more, you'll also get free global shipping! View full article →
March, 13, 2018

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Roasted Leafhopper High Mountain Tea Tasting Notes

The appearance of the brewed tea has gained substance, and become a deeper yellowish gold in comparison to the thinner, lighter unroasted brew. This coincides with the flavor profile in that the roasted version is heartier, with a more balanced character. The aroma coming off the leaves from the initial rinse is reminiscent of buttered carrots or yams. After the first brew, the aroma is more like grilled corn, cooling off into freshly baked scones. The second pour brought on stronger  roasted vegetable notes, but again cooling off into a pastry aroma.

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March, 8, 2018

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Roasted Leafhopper High Mountain Oolong Tea

Last November, Eco-Cha Tea Club members got to experience the original unroasted flavor profile of a Leafhopper High Mountain Oolong, also referred to simply as "bug bitten tea", or "yeh nah day" in the Taiwanese dialect. When we sourced that batch of tea, we conceived of a "secret" plan to first share half of this batch of tea unroasted, then roast the other half in order to give our members the opportunity to taste the difference between the unroasted and roasted versions of the very same batch of  Leafhopper High Mountain Oolong Tea. View full article →
February, 23, 2018

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Red Oolong Tea: Gem Of Taiwan's Southeast Coast

Red Oolong offers a smooth, balanced, mildly sweet, rich but not quite bold flavor profile, with elements of fruit compote, pumpkin pie, and a hint of dried flowers. This ultra-friendly character, combined with the fact that almost all Red Oolong is cultivated naturally on the southeast coast of Taiwan, facing the wide open Pacific, where the sky reminds a North American of the northern west coast, is no wonder why it is rapidly gaining popularity on the international market. Once again, Taiwan leads the way in Oolong Tea innovation!


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February, 6, 2018

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Eco-Cha Tea Club: Premier Crop Organic Jin Xuan Oolong Tasting Notes

These leaves were harvested from young tea trees that were ready for their very first trimming, prompting them to sprout more branches before growing taller. This premier harvest of organically cultivated Jin Xuan Tea plants is what we have chosen to share on the occasion of Chinese New Year with the Eco-Cha Tea Club. The character of this tea conveys the vibrant, nutrient-rich, new growth of young tea trees growing on an organic farm. View full article →
February, 2, 2018

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Eco-Cha Tea Club: Premier Crop Organic Jin Xuan Oolong

Mr. Xie made a life-changing decision 20 years ago by committing to transition the tradition he inherited from his father and grandfather before him to organic tea farming. He did this solely by his own conviction that it was the right thing to do. He came close to failing at first, but his farm survived, and through many years of pioneering experimentation, he succeeded. He is now a leading representative of organic tea farming in his community, and has formed a co-op of neighboring farms to develop his business. In recent years, a younger generation of local farmers are following his example. This is the latest chapter on the local scene that we find truly exciting. View full article →
January, 12, 2018

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Eco-Cha Tea Club: Dong Ding Tie Guan Yin Tasting Notes

This month's batch of tea being shared with the Eco-Cha Tea Club was made by Mr. Su — an 80 year-old artisan of traditional Dong Ding Oolong Tea. He planted a plot of the Tie Guan Yin strain in his backyard several years ago, and this is the second time we've sourced this tea type from him. Mr. Su is our favorite representative of traditionally made tea in Taiwan, and it brings us a special kind of joy to be able to share his tea with our tea club members.

This batch has a particularly sweet character, with slightly tangy, fruity notes and a pleasantly clean lingering aftertaste. It has just enough of that cured, almost fermented character that makes it reminiscent of a traditionally made Tie Guan Yin Oolong. But given that it was only roasted once, it maintains a mild flavor profile similar to a Hong Shui Oolong.

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January, 8, 2018

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Eco-Cha Tea Club: Dong Ding Tie Guan Yin Oolong

Our monthly missions to find exceptional singular batches of tea to share with the Eco-Cha Tea Club have led us full circle back to where we were exactly 2 years ago — in the workshop of our favorite elder artisan Mr. Su. On the day we stopped by and snapped the photo above, we found him tasting his batches of tea one last time before entering them into the world's largest Oolong Tea competition, where he has won Champion Prize. But we were visiting him with another type of tea in mind — the tea we sourced from him and shared with the Eco-Cha Tea Club in January 2016, which we named Dong Ding Tie Guan Yin Oolong. View full article →
December, 13, 2017

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The World's Largest Oolong Tea Competition

Andy recently visited a good friend and long-time Oolong tea supplier in Lugu. It so happened, the Lugu Farmers' Association's Dong Ding Oolong Competition was kicking off at the same timeThis competition is the largest Oolong tea competition in the world and tea farmers far and wide bring their best teas for judging. Check out Andy's behind-the-scenes peek into how a good loose leaf oolong tea is crowned a winner in the world's largest Oolong tea competition. View full article →
December, 8, 2017

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Eco-Cha Tea Club: High Mountain Hong Shui Oolong Tea Tasting Notes

This month's batch of tea being shared with the Eco-Cha Tea Club is a heavily oxidized, unroasted Oolong Tea harvested from the lower lying slopes of the Shanlinxi region. The character of this tea is an intriguing combination of Oolong and Black Tea. The aromatic qualities offer a rich sweet profile like fruit compote. On the palate, it has a broad range of flavor, with a base of deep musky notes into a complex fruity body with subtle hints of citrus in the finish. The aftertaste lingers with a dry headiness comprised of interesting sweet/tart and astringent tones. View full article →
December, 4, 2017

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Eco-Cha Tea Club: High Mountain Hong Shui Oolong Tea

This month's batch of tea being shared with the Eco-Cha Tea Club is truly a unique find that came to us only via our dear friend and teacher. We met him about 20 years ago, and only in recent years have begun to call upon his expertise and deep roots in the local industry. After decades of managing his family farm and apprenticing under local masters, he has simplified his position by renting out his factory to tea farmers and working with them to support their farming methods and tea making styles. View full article →