Classical Oriental Beauty Oolong Tea - 2016 SummerTaiwan Sourcing
A fortunate surprise find for us this summer, this is a classic-styled Oriental Beauty we obtained in a very limited quantity. This oriental has everything you want from a oriental beauty - conspicuous white feather, distinctive flavour thanks to the bug bitten effect and the master's hand.
High quality Oriental Beauty has an extremely high price due to limited production, more complicated processing method, and a higher labor cost. Every single leaf must be picked when it is still a bud so it will be tender enough to be processed as Oriental Beauty. But it also cannot be picked too early otherwise the "bug bitten" effect will not be as strong.
In the old days of Taiwan, "Oriental Beauty" was the most refined "Fan Zhuang Wu Long" (番莊烏龍), a name which came about in the early 20th century literally means "a tea for selling to uncivilized people", because the foreigners (especially British) consumed and enjoyed this style of tea very much. As a result, a legend says that the name "Oriental Beauty" came from Queen Elizabeth who was a big fan of it.
Another more persuasive name for "Oriental Beauty" is "Bragging Oolong" (椪風茶), which earned thisname because of the extremely high price it garnished when sold to the British merchants during the colonial era. As we already know, Oriental Beauty must suffer from the bites of "leaf grasshopper", causing the "after-bitten" tea leaves to look extremely ugly and cheap according to the old time standard which made the tea farmer feel extremely desperate. But a tea is still a tea, the tea farmer who did not give up on the material decide to process it into heavily oxidized oolong anyway to see if it could be sold. When this tea was desired at such as high price by the British merchant, the farmer who invented this tea immediately shared this news with his friends and neighbors. Sadly, no one believed him at the beginning, and some people even accused him of bragging, which is how Oriental Beauty got the name "Bragging Tea", a name is still widely used in the southern part of Taiwan.
This Oriental Beauty from Summer 2016 was grown in the middle part of the island, using the most classical specimen named "Qing Xin Da Mao". The quantity of this years Oriental Beauty suffered from a very unstable summer weather, causing the overall reduction in production (approximate 1/3 of it compared to last year). However, we believe this is one of the most "classical" Oriental Beauty for the price which everyone could be looking for despite its slightly higher price. If our Oriental Beauty from last summer did not disappoint you, then this year's selection is a must try.
Harvest: Summer 2016 / 夏 二零一六
Varietal: Qing Xin Da Mao / 青心大冇
Elevation: 400 M
Region: E Mei / 峨嵋
Oxidation Level: 80%
Roast Level: 0
Aging Potential: High
Oriental Beauty, or Dong Fang Mei Ren, or Bai Hao oolong haha - is definitely an important tea to taste each season. This is a pristine example of this type of teas characteristic flavors. Sweet, smooth, rich, and complex fruity spicy flavors and aromas fill the senses. I brewed 5-6 grams in my 160 ml gaiwan and used a few different cups to have fun tasting the differences. All in all it steeped 7 times and more...was really potent too. I felt rushes of fresh blood and oxygen circulate throughout my body and had to go on a hike afterwards! This is exquisite tea.
Oriental Beauty has a character that is similar to wine - each year actually matters, so you might find some oriental beauty collector discussing about the "vintage" of oriental beauty. This year's oriental beauty has a better quality than the one from last year. It has the same "Pomelo Cake" aroma and so on, but this year it is a bit stronger, and the whole body has a much more robust character than the year 2016. Overall this tea is very satisfying to an old dog's palate, and an old dog think you should be too!