Flavor: Delicate, fresh vegetal aroma. Smooth, balanced, subtle herbal character. Clean, satisfying finish.
Garden: This farm is managed by an innovative farmer who inherited his family farm, and has continued to expand his farm management to other plots of tea in the Shanlinxi region. Mr. Chen has been a professional tea judge for over 20 years, and continues to hone his skills as both a farmer and professional representative of specialty Oolong tea.
In recent years, he has focused on cultivating tea, and works in cooperation with a local colleague with whom he contracts the processing of his tea. We also know this colleague – Mr. Zhang, who is younger, but very skilled and sought after as a contracted tea maker. A great deal of the tea that he supervises the processing of is procured for entry into the Lugu Farmers' Association's Dong Ding Oolong Tea Competition. Mr. Zhang is also a professional tea judge who is highly motivated in his career.
Mr. Chen employs a registered traceability program where he keeps a record of all his farm management activity, including all specs on fertilizers and pesticides that are administered. This program also conducts an annual inspection of the harvested tea leaves for trace chemical residue, and the results are consistently a fraction of the accepted levels. In addition to this, the factory that processes his tea is annually inspected by a government authorized sanitation program that includes testing of the tea leaves being processed at the time of inspection.
Harvest: Hand picked in medium batches, Summer 2016. Shan Lin Xi, Nantou, Taiwan.
One of the prominent qualities of Taiwanese high mountain oolong is the fragrance that exudes from the freshly brewed leaves. Especially after the first and second brews, hold the un-lidded teapot near your nose and inhale slowly to experience the volatile aromatic oils that are being released from the freshly moistened and heated leaves. From there you can enjoy the evolving aroma of each successive brew. The fragrance is the most intriguing and subtle quality of a fine high mountain tea.
This tea carries distinct qualities of adequate oxidation of the leaves during processing. This is evident in its sweeter, mellowed aroma and smooth, balanced flavor. Its aroma is slightly less floral and more fruity or pastry-like. Oxidation offers a more substantial, less green brew that is complex, yet balanced and smooth on the palate. This batch is another exemplary high mountain tea from the Shan Lin Xi area.
The summer growing season provided an optimal balance of sun and rain combined with the typical afternoon arrival of fog rising above the heat from the valley floor. Since early June, we've had fairly consistent daily cycles of morning sunshine turning to cloudy skies and thunder showers by late afternoon. This is better-than-normal summer weather, which often has days on end of hot sunny weather and no precipitation. Ample precipitation, but also hours of daily sun provided beneficial growing conditions for this crop. And furthermore, there was clear weather with no afternoon rain on July 4th, when this batch was harvested. This provided ideal atmospheric conditions for proper oxidation of the tea leaves when they were processed. So we feel privileged to have procured an unusually well processed batch of summer tea from an old friend that we have decided to source tea from since last summer's harvest, and after observing his responsible and progressive approach to producing a distinctive tea that offers him a niche in the local industry.