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February, 18, 2021

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Taiwan Lunar New Year Lanterns

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. View full article →
February, 12, 2021

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Competition Grade Wenshan Baozhong Tea | Eco-Cha Tea Club

Upon arrival, we were immediately led to the tasting table where there were two bowls of brewed tea leaves on the tea tray with less than 30mL of cold tea in each. We were ordered to taste them without any introduction to what they were. We immediately recognized them as freshly produced Baozhong Tea of high quality, but there was only enough left for two small sips. After first sip, we were told that one of them was much more expensive than the other, and then asked which one we liked. We took the second sip and picked one, saying that it was a bit more fragrant, and were met with a scowl and a sigh. It was the most honest facial expression we've seen in ages. The expression above was probably 10 minutes after that moment, but still holds some of the humor and angst! View full article →
February, 12, 2021

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Competition Grade Wenshan Baozhong Tea Tasting Notes | Eco-Cha Tea Club

Batch 63 of the Eco-Cha Tea Club was harvested in November 2020, processed, and then sorted to remove stem material and any discolored leaves in preparation for the winter 2020 competition and the New Taipei City Farmers's Association.

The distinctive quality of Baozhong Tea is that the leaves are shuffled well to induce uniform oxidation, but they are only minimally rolled. This keeps their physical composition in tact. The leaves are not damaged by pressure rolling. This locks in a fresh, green quality that put Baozhong Tea in a category of its own.

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February, 10, 2021

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What Does Tea Mean to You?

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. View full article →
January, 25, 2021

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Eco-Farmed High Mountain Oolong Tea

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! View full article →
January, 10, 2021

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Competition Grade Wuyi Oolong Tasting Notes | Eco-Cha Tea Club

Wuyi was once the specialty tea cultivar of choice in the historical Songboling tea growing region in southern Nantou County. But it got replace with more prolific cultivars in recent decades. We are grateful to have a chance to experience this tea strain that really does stand on its own in comparison to the more popular strains. It has a robust character when made as a lightly oxidized, unroasted tea. And its hardy nature is able to withstand extensive roasting that other strains cannot. View full article →
January, 9, 2021

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Competition Grade Wuyi Oolong | Eco-Cha Tea Club

Batch 62 of the Eco-Cha Tea Club comes from the same plot of tea as last month's batch. When we tasted this month's batch of unroasted Wuyi Oolong, following the heavily roasted batch that we shared last month, we were inspired to offer these two very different tasting teas back-to-back. Tasting these two batches of tea that were made from basically the same raw produce (different seasonal harvests), but processed differently, provides an educational experience on how significant processing methods are in determining the final product. View full article →
December, 24, 2020

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Caffeine Calculator 4.0: Now With Bottled Iced Teas and More Loose-Leaf Teas!

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? 

The Caffeine Calculator makes all this easy. 

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December, 17, 2020

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Hong Oolong Tea

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. View full article →
December, 13, 2020

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Heavy Roast Wuyi Oolong Tea | Eco-Cha Tea Club

With natural farming, the trees mature more slowly, as they must fend for themselves and build immunity to naturally occurring pests without the artificial assistance of chemical farm products. But as our friend from whom we source this tea explained to us today, when the trees eventually develop a stable immunity, they are significantly different in their constitution than conventionally farmed tea trees. And this means the quality of leaf that is harvested from these trees is also notably different. View full article →
December, 13, 2020

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Heavy Roast Wuyi Oolong Tea Tasting Notes | Eco-Cha Tea Club

We are kicking off our sixth year of the Eco-Cha Tea Club this month, with batch 61! And this month's batch of Heavy Roast Wuyi Oolong is a record breaker in that it is definitely the most thoroughly roasted batch of tea that we have shared to date. We think this tea will be appealing at this time of year — especially for our members who live in colder climates. This is a very hearty, rich, and warming brew. So we like to think it will make the holiday season even cozier! View full article →
December, 3, 2020

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Alishan High Mountain Tea Winter Harvest

We took this photo last spring when we slept out at this spot in order to catch the early morning harvest. It gives you a sense of the environment and the extent of farm development in this area of the Alishan High Mountain Tea producing region. It is one of the reasons we've chosen this farm as our source. This area was already developed as a rural farming community before the onset of modern tea production in Taiwan. The family farms were simply repurposed to grow tea when High Mountain Tea became popular. So, the development of tea production in this area has had less environmental impact than most other High Mountain Tea producing regions in Taiwan. View full article →
November, 22, 2020

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Traditional Dong Ding Oolong Tea

We are very happy to finally be able to offer the pre-modern version of Dong Ding Oolong Tea! We've waited for years to source this local traditional specialty from our friend who simply has more demand than supply from his family plot of tea in Phoenix Village in Lugu Township, Taiwan.  View full article →
November, 16, 2020

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Eco-Farmed Specialty Roast Oolong Tea Tasting Notes| Eco-Cha Tea Club

Batch 60 of the Eco-Cha Tea Club brings us to a full five years of offering monthly editions of specialty Taiwanese teas! This month's edition was cultivated and crafted by one of our most respected sources of naturally farmed tea. He not only employs the most radical natural farming methods we know of, he also is continually refining processing methods to bring his produce to its fullest potential, based on the growing conditions of each season. Mr. Xie also produces our GABA Oolong Tea, which, like this month's batch, is one of his signature products. View full article →
November, 16, 2020

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Eco-Farmed Specialty Roast Oolong Tea | Eco-Cha Tea Club

This batch of tea was harvested last spring, and processed as a medium oxidized Oolong. The stems were then removed in preparation for extensive roasting. Mr. Xie proceeded to roast these leaves four times in total. The first roasting was done in the standard convection type oven to remove all remaining moisture from the leaves. The following 3 roastings were done in an oven designed for roasting coffee beans!  View full article →
November, 12, 2020

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Presenting at Taiwan's Organic Tea Forum 2020

A few months back we were asked to give the keynote presentation at Taiwan’s Organic Tea Forum — part of the tea expo that's happening at the Taipei World Trade Center this weekend. Here we feature some of the fantastic people we've met and the stories they shared with us during our preparation for this event. View full article →
November, 2, 2020

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Shan Lin Xi High Mountain Oolong Winter 2020

Mr. Chen had initially intended to make a more heavily oxidized, traditionally made Dong Ding Oolong style tea from this day of harvest. But due to the conditions on the day of harvest, the degree of oxidation in the leaves fell short of what is optimal for making Dong Ding Oolong. We tasted it on the day after it was processed, and appreciated the character of significantly oxidized leaves that offer a substantial composition and very balanced flavor profile which makes a pleasant and satisfying, yet less pronounced alternative to the standard character of a High Mountain Oolong. So we offered to buy the day's harvest in full, given it was only a small fraction of what is normally harvested and processed in one day. View full article →
November, 1, 2020

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Caffeine in Oolong Tea (2020 Guide)

Does Oolong Tea have caffeine? Yes, and this guide shows you exactly how much caffeine is in Oolong Tea, and precisely how Oolong tea caffeine content is related to the way you brew, how long you steep, and even the type of growing and processing methods used. View full article →
November, 1, 2020

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Does Tea Go Bad?

The shelf life of tea is a common topic of discussion among tea drinkers. We often see questions such as:

  • Can tea go bad?
  • How do I keep my loose leaf tea fresh?
  • Which teas have longer or shorter shelf lives?

Let's look at some of the factors that affect how long your tea stays fresh.

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October, 26, 2020

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Li Shan High Mountain Oolong Winter 2020

This year's winter batch is closer to the classic Li Shan High Mountain Oolong in that it is less oxidized than our recent batches from this source. Minimal oxidation offers more aromatic complexity, and a more delicate and fresh flavor profile. Watch the video below for a detailed tasting of this new batch in comparison with the previous fall batch of tea, as well as last winter's batch — all from the same farm, made by the same craftsmen. View full article →
October, 22, 2020

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2020 Nantou Global Tea Expo

The Nantou Global Tea Expo is by far Taiwan’s largest tea event and this year marked the 11th year of the annual event. The event featured various hands on activities, performances, formal tea services representing many different cultures, and literally hundreds of tea vendors selling their tea. This year included a pig roast competition! Our organic tea farmer friend Edan was the only one who could say that his award winning organic tea was for sale on site, AND show up in the capacity of a professional pig roaster! View full article →
October, 10, 2020

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Eco-Farmed High Mountain Oolong Tea | Eco-Cha Tea Club

We can see how naturally these tea trees are allowed to grow. It's a wholly different farming method than conventional farming, and the produce from a farm like this is also next level. In our perception, based on visiting tea farms in Taiwan for over 20 years, this source is a rare and precious find. The combination of a pristine geographic location with an ideal micro-climate for tea production, and the natural farming methods are just not to be found. In a word, we love this farms, as well as its caretakers! View full article →
October, 10, 2020

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Eco-Farmed High Mountain Oolong Tea | Eco-Cha Tea Club Tasting Notes

This crop of tea is the most recent growth picked from new branches on the trees that were allowed to grow for four months or so, similar to our recent batch of Traditional Hong Shui Oolong that we offered last month. As with last month's batch, this tea was also affected by the Green Leafhopper, and other pests. This is inevitable, given that this is an organic farm and the summer months are most susceptible to bugs! View full article →
October, 7, 2020

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Charcoal Roasted High Mountain Oolong Spring 2020

Our newly arrived batch of Charcoal Roasted High Mountain Oolong was harvested in spring 2020 from a farm at 1400m elevation in the Shan Lin Xi High Mountain Tea growing region. Compared with our previous batch from the same farm that was harvested in fall 2019, this new batch is noticeably more substantial and balanced in character.  View full article →
October, 1, 2020

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Alishan High Mountain Jin Xuan Oolong Tea Fall 2020 Harvest

It brews a clear, bright, yellow/green tea with a balanced creamy savory aroma and a satisfying savory scone flavor profile, with subtle floral notes in the finish. It's character really comes forth after the brew has cooled to room temperature. View full article →