Flavor: Mildly smoky aroma. Smooth, mellow, roasted yam, full-flavored character. Heady, long-lasting finish.
Harvest: Hand-picked, medium batch. Lushan, Taiwan. Spring 2018.
A few months ago, some of our most loyal and appreciated supporters encouraged us to source a high end charcoal roasted Oolong, similar to the one we offered a couple years ago. We thought it was a great idea, and began visiting the local tea roasters we admire most to see what was available. After many visits and tea tastings, we realized that the last source we sought out should have been the first! Perhaps because they are our friends for well over 20 years, we just didn't think to ask at first. In fact, they consistently have some of the finest roasted Oolong available. And this batch represents their specialized role as local industry professionals with deep roots, connections and roasting skills.
There was a limited amount of the finished product available, but our friend reassured us that he has more of the same batch of tea from last spring, he just hasn't roasted it yet. So we hope to keep this batch on the shelf for a while at least!
The aroma that exudes from these leaves during their initial steeping is a rich caramelized, nutty character with a hint of smoke. The tea is complex, hearty, and smooth, with a pleasant balance of bitter and sweet notes in the finish. It's similar to a traditionally made Dong Ding Oolong, but the leaves grown at higher elevation have an even more substantial composition.
This batch of tea was sourced by our friend in Lugu, who is a master roaster and professional tea judge. He specializes in sourcing bug bitten batches of tea and roasting them to perfection. He has been sourcing tea from the area of Lushan for decades — cooperating with the local aboriginal farmers who are prone to more natural farming methods. This is why he has been able to source bug bitten tea. The bug bitten effect is batch specific, and sometimes not very noticeable in the flavor profile of the brewed tea. This batch seems to have a hint of the honey-like character of bug bitten leaves, but is very subtle, and could simply be the result of well-oxidized tea leaves.
These tea leaves were allowed to oxidiize significantly more than a standard High Mountain Oolong, as per the request of our friend who sourced and roasted them. He did the initial roasting in a standard modern tea roasting oven in preparation for the final roasting in a woven bamboo basket roaster. The skillful art of roasting tea is in the ability to comprehend the composition of the leaves before the roasting begins, and to perceive the transformation they go through in the long, slow roasting process. This perceptual ability becomes more essential as the leaves reach their optimal composition. We think our friend is a virtual wizard in this respect!
Mug: 6g tea in 300ml 100°C water. Steep for 4 minutes. Re-steep. Adjust to taste.
Cold Brew: Use 5g of tea per liter of water. Brew tea at room temperature for 2-3 hours, and enjoy. Or you can put your cold brew bottle in the fridge to brew overnight and be ready to drink the next day.
Gong Fu: 9g for a 150 ml pot. Use boiling temperature water and brew for about 50 seconds. Increase brewing time with each successive brew. The leaves can be brewed 6-8 times.