Gaofeng Organic "Citrus Noon" Oolong TeaTaiwan Sourcing
We finally located a Gaofeng plantation that is organically grown, and the environment is super clean even though the elevation is only 1500 meters. We were extremely fortunate to find the plantation and the factory that process it. However, there is a problem.
Like all of the high elevation tea factories this day (or even for those at lower elevation), processing tea has become just another "daily routine" most of the time for economic reason. Most of the teas were processed not for creating great tea, but simply for creating something that can be called "tea," and this is why lots of tea drinkers are suffering from stomach issue when drinking the commonly known "jade oolong."
It is not clear now whether the purpose of jade oolong creation was to simply please the domestic market or more because of that most of the tea factories constructed at the time found it extremely difficult to process "traditional" oolong tea given the circumstances and conditions such as the labor cost and tough geographic set-up. Moreover, a new concept of "higher elevation equals better quality" began to surf among the mind of tea drinkers thanks to the invention of "Tea Art". After decades of development since 1980s, jade oolong has became a new norm for Taiwanese tea market, and this trend also transformed how westerners perceive Taiwanese tea. At the end, the so called "High Mountain Jade Oolong Tea" became a unique scene in the world of tea and synonym of "Taiwanese Tea." The traditional process (which takes lots of care and detail) gradually disappeared from the market (due to the rise of Jade Oolong processing) and eventually the knowledge was lost from the new generation of tea maker.
Fortunately, the knowledge was finally re-discovered again, and this will be probably the very first oolong tea to be processed this carefully from elevation this high. We were probably more amazed than anyone at the scene when this tea was created, and that was not because we have successfully created it, but mainly because to witness and realize the tradition being "revived" from high elevation material is one of a kind experience (For those who don't know yet, we were already experimenting with this tradition at a lower elevation tea garden).
Despite this being a high mountain oolong tea, we do not have to categorize this as another jade oolong again, for this tea does not resemble one. We simply call it "oolong tea" this time, and since the dry tea aroma performs exactly like citrus and because the material was harvested at noon, it was named "Citrus Noon." The light roast version will carry a pleasant chocolate like flavor in your mouth with the same smooth character.
This tea will forever change your perception of high mountain oolong tea, not a jade oolong, but simply an oolong!
Harvest: Spring 2018 / 春 貳零壹捌
Varietal: Qing Xin Oolong / 青心烏龍
Elevation: 1500 M / 仟伍佰 公尺
Region: Wushe Gaofeng / 霧社 高峰
Fermentation Level: 25% / 分之 廿伍
Roast Level: 0 ~ 2 / 無 ~ 貳分
These spring teas are curious for me because Simon has been doing so much experimentation with processing teas in a way that balances the stomach and yet preserves character. Citrus Noon proved fun to explore - and I will keep playing for sure. This tea has so much in the aroma, lots of citrus and fruity goodness. It was a joy to stop and take the 15 seconds to slowly smell the drying gaiwan lid. The one that is "run dry" has more of a popping quality with subsequent smooth citrus medium bodied joy. It is its own flavor, unique to Gaofeng. The light roast is a little less in your face. Smoother if only by a little, and the light chocolate note is there. It is a little stronger to me in overall body feel. These gaofeng teas tasted new, yet somehow classic.
Our first attempt to create a "traditional high mountain oolong" was unprecedented, and an old dog was right there with the creation of this tea. The result, not because this is "our" tea that we think it's great, but the result is more than just a success. This tea changes how people perceive high mountain oolong tea is - a tea that will make you feel very comfortable to drink all day without feeling stomach ache. It will also stand the test of time without the need to vacuum seal it because this was how the tradition was done to preserve traditionally processed tea. The tea contains a almost peanut butter like aroma in the dry stage and the structure feels incredibly refine. Once savoured that citrus like shall coat your nostril very softly without any effort. All an old dog can say is welcome to the Neo-Classical era of high mountain tea. This will surprise you!
Stephen Colbert Cups this tea on his #tea4tuesday webisode!