Flavor: Crisp autumn, smoky aroma. Balanced, caramel/nutty character. Roasted, heady finish.
Garden: These tea leaves were harvested in spring from the Alishan region and oxidized about twice as much as a standard High Mountain Oolong. The leaves were roasted by one of the most skilled roasters in the local industry. In recent years, he has won 3rd and 10th Place, and multiple top 2% awards in the Lugu competition of more than 6000 entries.
Harvest: Hand-picked, medium batch. Alishan, Taiwan. Spring 2021.
The flavor profile of this competition standard can vary to an extent, but it must exhibit quality leaf that was processed with skill and care. The basic characteristics of Lugu Competition Tea are a rich, robust, yet smooth flavor profile that is a balanced composition of sweet, bitter, astringent, aromatic and has a lasting finish that is both heady and exceptionally satisfying. The individual aromatic and flavor notes can include caramel, toasted grains, fruit compote, pipe tobacco, fire roasted yams... the list goes on! It's a complex and full flavored tea!
Given that these leaves have been well groomed, meaning that they have been destemmed and sorted to glean the prime leaf material from the crop, less leaves can be used in brewing. While we generally recommend a 1:15 leaf to water ratio for most rolled leaf Oolongs, we suggest a 1:17 or so ratio for Gongfu style brewing. We've really enjoyed varying our brewing methods with this tea, as it behaves differently with each one. It does quite well Grandpa style as well. We used 10g of leaves in a 500mL mug, filled it with boiling temp water, and drank it until it got a bit strong, then just added room temp water from there on. We got at least two full mugs worth of deliciously brewed tea!
The name of the competition is included to designate it as competition grade tea, i.e. tea that was prepared for this competition. To meet the quality standard for the Lugu Farmers' Association Dong Ding Oolong Tea Competition, the leaves must be sufficiently oxidized in order to be suitable for medium roasting. The leaves must also be quality stock that was hand-picked in either spring or winter. The competition entries undergo extensive scrutinization, and almost half of all entries are disqualified. The 55% or so that get entered are then graded into several tiers of awards.
This batch of spring tea is from the Alishan High Mountain Tea growing region. The leaves were picked while still young and not fully mature. While this stage of leaf growth can be ideal for roasting, it requires a slower, incremental roasting method to effectively remove all moisture from the leaves, and proceed to gently toast them to perfection. After the initial roasting, the master knew that they needed to rest for a while before continuing the roasting process. There was not enough time before the competition teas needed to be submitted to bring this batch to completion. That is how this batch of tea became available to us, rather than being entered into last spring's competition. He waited a couple months before continuing to roast these leaves to degree of the competition standard.
Mug: 8g tea in 300ml 100°C water. Steep for 3 minutes. Re-steep. Adjust to taste.
Cold Brew: Use 6g 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: Start with a 1:18 leaf to water ratio, e.g. 10g of tea leaves for a 150mL teapot. Use boiling temperature water and brew for about 50 seconds. Increase brewing time with each successive brew. The leaves can be brewed 6 times.