Flavor: Fruitwood, rhubarb, wet stone aroma. Balanced character with stone fruit, vanilla, and mineral notes. Clean, sweet/dry finish.
Harvest: Hand-picked, singular small batch, fall 2019.
This family owned tea garden is located in central Lugu Township and is mostly comprised of heirloom Qing Xin Oolong tea plants. Every year, after the spring harvest, the tea trees are pruned. The following season of growth is left to fend for itself, without the help of pest control. This is how our current batch of tea came to be what it is — a crop of tea leaves cultivated without the help of modern farm products, and processed using traditional Oolong Tea curing methods.
The leaves being "bug bitten" essentially means that the constituents in the leaves are significantly altered by the immune system response in the tea plants. The altered constituents results in a distinct flavor profile that can vary greatly. But basically, bug bitten tea leaves offer a character and substance that stand apart from the standard of conventionally grown leaf.
The final product of these bug bitten leaves being well oxidized, and then delicately roasted offers a well-rounded, balanced flavor profile with a fruity character and a dry, clean finish. We get notes of stone fruit —plums or cherries, hints of vanilla, with mineral undertones. This combination of flavors adds up to a classic traditional Oolong Tea character.
This very small fall harvest of naturally cultivated Oolong leaves was painstakingly processed by a father and son team who are top representatives of their local tea industry. The most inspiring fact is that the son is wholeheartedly inheriting his family's tradition, and this small batch of tea is testimony to that.
The name "Hong Shui (Red Water) Oolong" has been a buzzword in Oolong circles in recent years. But the tea makers who have inherited their local tradition say that this is simply a new name for tea processed like their grandfathers taught them. It used to just be called "Oolong Tea"!
With the onset of High Mountain Tea, the preference of tea being a golden rather than reddish hue became popularized. And while there is a rationale to this in terms of the intricacies of the oxidation process, it's a complex issue. Basically, the differentiation of golden vs. reddish is based on distinguishing the qualities of the tea being more or less similar to Black Tea. However, when we tasted this batch of tea, and noted the coloration, the father of this family promptly brewed another batch of tea he had made previously. This batch was more golden in color, but the flavor profile was more akin to Black Tea! It was sweeter and thicker, but more monotone, and lacked the bitter legs that give a classic Oolong its "hui gan". So we feel that this batch is testimony to a tradition — before the age of marketing lingo and "tea professionals" who know a whole lot about tea , except how to actually make it!
Mug: 7g tea in 300ml 95°C water. Steep for 3 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.1:18 ratio of leaves to water. Brew with boiling temperature water for about 50 seconds, then 40 seconds, then increase brewing time with each successive brew. The leaves can be brewed 5-6 times.