Taiwan today grows around 20% of the world’s oolong teas, where oolong production has started about 150 years. The Taiwanese tea makers changed the way oolong teas are processed. This change resulted in Chinese counterparts opting for significantly less oxidation than creating a more gentle, floral, and aromatic tea.
This is one of the most expensive teas I have ever purchased. I still cannot say if it was a good purchase or not. My liking for roasted oolong teas has been very strong since I started my tea journey. But recently I started to enjoy high mountain oolong teas without a heavy roast. For instance, if I compare this tea with this one (from the same vendor), I have to say that I like the latter better. I do not know what made me change my preference, maybe the level of roasting? I felt that roasting may have reduced the beautiful floral fragrance. I do not know. This is still a good tea, though. Let me tell you more about it.
This tea comes from Lishan, which is the second-highest mountain in Taiwan. The tea cultivar is Qing Xin or green heart which has thick leaves and grows in high altitudes. The latitude of the tea field is 2480m. This is interesting because I was reading Tony Gebely’s Tea: A User’s Guide that most high mountain oolongs are usually less oxidized and unroasted to show off the extraordinary qualities that these high mountain teas possess. This tea was roasted, maybe a little too much (it was baked for 72 hours in 5 days) and I think that perhaps it is because it was a winter tea. I’d have loved to compare this tea with a batch from the same cultivar that is not roasted as much. I really think that less roasted version of this tea would be more complex and delicate.
Source: Joseph Wesley Uhl. “The Art and Craft of Tea”
Tony Gebely. “Tea: A User's Guide.”
Origin: Lishan, Taiwan
Harvest time: Winter 2020
Leaf colour: Tones of dark green and brown
Liquor colour: Birght yellow
Tea Aroma: Toasted and slightly floral (dry leaves) and smoky (west leaves)
Tea taste: Elegant sweetness with roasted flavours and slight smokiness
1. Place 5 g of this tea in a porcelain gaiwan and add about 100 ml water at around 95°C.
2. Rinse after 5 sec.
3. Steep for 10 seconds for the second time and increase the consecutive steeping time by 10. You can re-steep this tea about seven times.