Oolong Tea

2014 Oolong from Eco Cha

ecocha2014

I am lucky enough to have won a contest a few weeks ago that Eco Cha held via their official Twitter. My winning tea was 150g of Jin Xuan, 75g of Four Seasons Spring and 75g of Shan Lin Xi High Mountain. A magnificent lot of Oolong picked this year (2014) and a wonderful introduction to the company.

About Eco Cha 

www.eco-cha.com

Eco-Cha was created to represent the artisan tea industry in Taiwan. Following decades of direct contact with farmers and learning the history and current trends of tea culture, we founded our company in order to share this experience that continues to captivate us. We recognize that tea lovers around the world have developed a level of appreciation for fine tea that warrants a responsible resource to learn more about this hand-crafted product that is rooted in an age-old tradition. Eco-Cha aspires to offer you a unique opportunity to understand and experience the world of tea culture in its current state in Taiwan. – Taken from their website

Their website offers a small selection of especially chosen teas (mostly Oolong) with ample information (such as area grown, height, brewing tips and harvest dates) as well as wonderful gift sets to suit everyone. While they may not be the cheapest source for tea they offer high quality artisan teas that you are not likely to find advertised anywhere else and to sweeten the deal they offer a $6 global shipping rate with free shipping with orders over $75.

The first tea I am going to try is:

ecocha2014jinxuan

Jin Xuan Oolong Tea

http://eco-cha.com/collections/all-tea/products/jin-xuan-oolong-tea

This batch of tea was sourced from an artisan who won first prize in both spring and winter of last year’s Nantou County Jin Xuan Dong Ding Oolong Tea Competitions. His co-op of farmers use no weed killers, and chemical analyses for fertilizers and pesticides show their samples to be a small fraction of the accepted amounts set by international standards. A prime example of sustainable methods combined with community-based expertise. 

Harvest: Machine cut in medium batches. April 2014. Nantou, Taiwan. 

Elevation: 400m 

Steeping Method:

Gongfu Teapot – 200ml 

Water Temp – Freshly boiled 

Leaf – 5g 

Steeping Time – 5 minutes

ecochajinxuan2

The Oolong balls are small/medium in size and are made up of  brown, dark green, burnt yellow and medium green coloured leaves. I can see no impurities on the leaves such as spots or loss of colour nor can I see twigs/sticks amongst the balls. A quick sniff-spection reveals a beautiful sweet and floral scent with a touch of cream and butter.

ecochajinxuan3

ecochajinxuan4

Once steeped the tea is yellow in colour with a highly buttery and floral scent. In flavour this is of medium strength with sweet floral and creamy butter notes that melt in the mouth and leave a fresh yet fragrant after taste. Also has some vegetal notes that resemble sweetcorn. Very fresh and delicious overall, more floral than milk and I think the balance is perfect.

Rating – 8.5/10

………………………………………………………………………………………………..

ecochaseasons

Four Seasons Spring Oolong Tea 

http://eco-cha.com/collections/all-tea/products/four-seasons-spring-oolong-tea-1#tab-1

This tea garden is a prototype of sustainable tea farming, and is an anomaly in its region This farmer only harvests 3 times a year as opposed to the common practice 5 or 6 times a year. This allows the plants to grow more naturally and maintain optimal nourishment. Almost all tea in this region is machine harvested, but this farmer hand picks these leaves. He is dedicated to the highest quality possible by producing small amounts of carefully crafted tea. We are very excited about this new source.

Harvest: Hand-picked in small batches, only 3 times a year. April 2014. Song Bo Lin, Nantou, Taiwan. 

Elevation: 400m

Steeping Method:

Gongfu Teapot – 200ml 

Water Temp – Freshly boiled 

Leaf – 5g 

Steeping Time – 5 minutes

SAM_3321

The Oolong balls are medium/large in size and are made up of  brown, dark green, burnt yellow and medium green coloured leaves. I can see no impurities on the leaves such as spots or loss of colour nor can I see twigs/sticks amongst the balls. A quick sniff-spection reveals an elegant sweet and floral scent with a touch of grass.

ecochaseasons2

SAM_3327

Once steeped the tea is golden yellow in colour with a sweet floral and grassy scent. In flavour this is of medium/strong strength with sweet floral and grassy yet vegetal notes. The somewhat greenness flavour makes this taste very fresh.  Quite earthy vegetables but green like string bean or sweet pea.

Rating – 8/10

………………………………………………………………………………………………….

SAM_3306

Shan Lin Xi High Mountain Oolong Tea 

http://eco-cha.com/collections/all-tea/products/shan-lin-xi-high-mountain-oolong-tea

This farm is managed by a husband and wife team who transformed their plot of virgin high mountain bamboo forest into a tea garden just ten years ago. This spring’s tea was harvested in five days with an average of 250 pounds of tea made per day, which is in contrast to around 1000 pounds a day from larger productions in the area.

Harvest: Hand picked in small batches. May 2014. Shan Lin Xi, Nantou, Taiwan. 

Elevation: 1525m

Steeping Method:

Gongfu Teapot – 200ml 

Water Temp – Freshly boiled 

Leaf – 5g 

Steeping Time – 5 minutes

ecocha-shan2

ecocha-shan3

The Oolong balls are medium/large in size and are made up of  brown, dark green, burnt yellow and medium green coloured leaves. I can see no impurities on the leaves such as spots or loss of colour nor can I see twigs/sticks amongst the balls. A quick sniff-spection reveals a wonderful sweet grass and floral scent which is lightly perfumed and vegetal.

ecocha-shan4

ecocha-shan5

ecocha-shan6

Once steeped the tea is yellow in colour with a sweet grass scent. In flavour this is of medium strength with pure sweet grass and sweet flower notes. Also some vegetal notes too. Sweetpea, sweetcorn, fresh asparagus and buttercup all in one delicious, smooth yet vibrant tea.

Rating – 9.5/10

…………………………………………………………………………………………………..

This has been a wonderful introduction into the artisan tea world that is Eco Cha and I can happily say that I will be back. Out of my three Oolongs I found the Shan Li Xin High Mountain the tastiest and it has everything I look for in a low oxidised Oolong. It’s freshness and purity makes it one of the nicest I have tried. I highly recommend Eco Cha and I want to thank them very much for giving me the opportunity to taste these wonderful Oolong.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s