2021 Spring Traditional High Mountain OolongFloating Leaves US
This was the first tea I ever saw processed from start to finish! My friend who owns the farm was lucky enough to hire an award winning Dong Ding tea master whose won many accolades for his Dong Ding teas. His style of tea making is more traditional, opting for a heavier oxidation that brings out a more savory broth, along with rounder floral fragrance. Actually high mountain oolong was first persued by farmers from Dong Ding, when they visited Alishan and realized the weather was suitable for making Dong Ding style oolong.
This kind of tea is harder to find these days, because most farmers find it more profitable to make the greener version of high mountain. Those teas are definitely more flashy, and catch the attention of new drinkers much more easily. Tea like this takes a little more experience to appreciate, but I personally find it to be very comfortable and smooth. So it was really a fortuitous thing to walk into a situation where they were making this kind of tea! Everyone was super generous with their expertise. Even the youngest worker working on the fermentation step had been doing it for 15 years.
This tea comes from a medium sized garden near the indigenous Atayal people's village Smangus, a remote village in Northern Taiwan known for virgin old growth forests and ancient cypress trees. Not many farmers are growing tea up there, and this specific garden is newly planted. Its just undergoing its first picking season. Beautiful ecology, with lots of wild animals and plants around the tea bushes. Roughly located at 1500 meters. The 'sea of clouds' and mountain mist are beautiful in the morning.
Passionfruit, mango, banana and guava notes fill out this tea's complex fruity fragrance, along with a round floral fragrance. The old school tea guys describe more traditionally processed oolong as having a specific kind of florality, where the modern counterparts are bright and crystal clear with jade broth, this tea has a rich and round floral character, slightly less forward, and full bodied. Beautiful in a very different way. More 'fat'.
The broth is rich and smooth, and coats the mouth thickly. It has more of a capacity to warm up the throat than its modern counterparts, and feels slightly warming as it enters the body. It is more oxidized, 20% roughly speaking, and dips much more into the ripe fruit end of the flavor spectrum. However it is unroasted, and still carries the freshness of Spring oolong.
Don't expect this to be a brilliant, jade broth high mountain tea that we are more used to drinking these days. This is a rich and comforting old school tea, with the added complexity that high elevation brings.
Leaves were picked while still very tender, so brew with less leaf than usual for high mountain oolong. So if I usually use 6 grams, I'd use just about 4 grams for this tea. Very economical!!
- Harvest Location : Jianshi Township, Hsinchu, Taiwan
- Harvest Date : 4/27/21 ;)
- Cultivar : Qing Xin Oolong
- Farming Method : Conventional
- Altitude : 1500 meters