Flavor: Sweet, creamy aroma. Smooth, well-rounded character. Lingering fresh vegetal finish.
Garden: This tea garden is a prototype of sustainable tea farming, and is an anomaly in its region This farmer only harvests 3 times a year as opposed to the common practice of 5 or 6 times a year. This allows the plants to grow more naturally and maintain optimal nourishment. Almost all tea in this region is machine harvested, but this farmer hand picks these leaves. He is dedicated to the highest quality possible by producing small amounts of carefully crafted tea. The weather conditions during the spring growing were ideal this year— especially at this elevation.
Harvest: Hand-picked in small batches. December 2018. Songbolin, Taiwan.
The late winter (Dong Pian) harvest of Four Seasons Spring leaves were picked fairly young, as Dong Pian crop should be. They were skillfully oxidized to produce a balanced, substantial, mild vegetal flavor that lingers long after drinking.
This batch was has undergone a follow-up dry roasting to preserve its freshness by eliminating any moisture that may have remained in the stems when processed. This roasting was done with a relatively new innovation of a tea roasting oven that is equipped with infrared bulbs. Infrared, combined with low heat, has a more thorough, penetrating effect that roasts the leaves more uniformly.
Around 1981, a Mu Zha tea farmer in Taipei County discovered a naturally occurring hybrid oolong in his tea garden that proved to be particularly suitable to the climate on Taiwan. Since then, it has gained popularity for its reliable produce and unique flavor and character. Now it is cultivated extensively as a signature oolong tea that is unique to the island of Taiwan. The name “Si Ji Chun” was chosen for the plant’s prolific year-round leaf growth, allowing for at least four harvests annually that produce a fresh, fragrant character of tea that is unique among oolongs.
This batch of tea leaves come from the most active tea maker and merchant we know. This man enters virtually every Oolong Tea competition in Taiwan, including the largest and most prestigious Oolong Tea competition in the world. He consistently achieves high ratings in all of these competitions.
In the last several years, he has formed a cooperative with his neighboring farmer friends who share the same high standards of cultivation and processing. This is in order to collectively produce a significant enough volume to be able to compete with larger scale productions of tea in this region, while maintaining the quality control standards of small, privately-run farms. Wholesale dealers of tea typically buy tea from large scale producers in quantities of thousands of pounds per harvest.