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Flavor: Fresh, mild herbal aroma. Balanced, floral and fresh vegetal notes. Clean, fragrant aftertaste.
Garden: This batch of tea was cultivated on a family-run residential farm in Ruifeng Village in the north-western area of the Alishan region. It is operated by an elder tea master and his two middle-aged sons. Their farmland has been developed as High Mountain Qing Xin Oolong Tea garden for the last 20 years. They own and run their own private tea factory in their home that is just big enough to process their produce, but not a commercial facility. In our view, this style and size of operation is the optimal setup for producing this type of tea.
Harvest: Hand-picked, medium batch, from Ruifeng, Chiayi. Spring 2016
Alishan High Mountain Oolong is a vibrant, fresh green oolong with a mild, subtly sweet character that makes a popular choice in this category. This batch is sufficiently oxidized which mellows the green leaves into a milder, more full-bodied and balanced brew. As with all quality High Mountain Oolongs, there is a smooth viscosity to the texture of the tea, while maintaining its clean, fresh character.
High Mountain Spring Tea is known for its fresh, floral and mild herbal aromatic qualities. It offers a delicate balance of sweet and astringent qualities that leave an especially clean mouth-feel combined with a lingering, fragrant finish in the nose. Its a refined and complex combination of floral and sweet qualities with the inherent bitter/astringent character of tea leaves that gives Alishan High Mountain Oolong its claim to fame.
This batch of tea comes from Ruifeng Village in the Meishan Township of Chiayi County, Taiwan. Ruifeng, Ruili, and Zhangshuhu have increasingly become the most popular sources of Alishan High Mountain Oolong in the last 15 years or so. Originally, Alishan tea was made famous by the newly developed area on the south-western foothills of Alishan, with the most famous place name being Shizuo. This area is along the main tourist route leading to Alishan, and the local tea industry flourished and developed as a result. While fine quality tea is still produced in this area, it has become somewhat over-popularized and over-developed.
The relatively newer area of tea production in Meishan Township in the north-western foothills of Alishan is where local industry people tend to seek out sources in the last 10-15 years. In recent years, we've grown to prefer Ruifeng, Ruili, and Taihe over Zhangshuhu for seeking our sources within our preferred parameters. Although Zhangshuhu is higher up the mountain, and where we sourced tea for many years over a decade ago, it is more environmentally impacted by tea farm development, and there are now large-scale farms and factories in this village.
Just a bit down the mountain in neighbor high-elevation valleys, we've discovered that there are more family-run operations and smaller farms. We firmly believe that this makes a difference not only on a sustainable level, but also in terms of the quality of tea produced. When farms are owned and run privately, it is much more likely that there is more care and responsibility that goes into the management of them. This, combined with smaller capacity factories results in smaller quantities of tea leaves being processed on a daily and seasonal basis. This smaller batch factor allows for more customized processing, and is also typically done by the farmers/owners themselves, who are more invested and take more pride in their processing methods and quality of their product.