Competition Grade Shihding Oriental Beauty Oolong Tea - Summer 2017Taiwan Sourcing
In the old days of Taiwan, "Oriental Beauty" was the most refined "Fan Zhuang Oolong" (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 this name 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 north part of the island, using the local specimen named "Da Man". The "Da Man" varietal when processed delicately has a very unique pear-like character. This Oriental Beauty is different from those Oriental Beauties that are produced in the middle part of the island which are processed from Qing Xin Dah Pan (青心大冇) varietal.
This is the successor of the amazing "Shihding Oriental Beauty." Due to this year's unstable weather condition, the bug bitten aroma of this tea is not as strong as the one from last year, although now it has a somewhat "stronger" body than the one from last year. And again, the material was picked by owner's mom and wife because of the relatively small plantation size. You might also noticed that the tea is a little bit cheaper this year, that is because of the weaker bug bitten character. Owner's mom was not quite happy when she knew the price was not expected, but we believe a great tea should also reflect its price on its quality. This will be one of our summer oolongs this year, enjoy!
Harvest: Summer 2017 / 夏 貳零壹柒
Varietal: Da Man Varietal / 大慢種
Elevation: 500 M / 伍佰 公尺
Region: Shihding / 石碇
Oxidation Level: 74% / 分之 柒拾肆
Roast Level: 0 / 無
Ultra smooth, incredible body, high aroma and complex sweetness. This is just pure nectar of the tea gods! From the first cup to the very last this tea is perfect. Very stable output, Balances fruit, sweet, umami, broth, and bitter perfectly. You can tune into one aspect of the tea as you experience it and then tune into something else, or just let it flow through you. very infusable. Bright and lively from start to finish!
This is such a juicy tea. It does really well with long steeps after brewing a few times. I used near boiling water to bring out it's complexities. It definitely has a strong crisp grape like astringency that turns into such lovely sweet and round flavor with lasting body. A treat no doubt.
The power of "Bug Bitten" effect was apparently being used mostly in this spring for our magnificent Egret 17 Baozhong, but this gives us a chance to get a closer look of this varietal called Da Man. Unlike Da Mou (大冇) varietal, which is a ubiquitous varietal in Er Mei. Da Man is a special varietal only seen in the northern part of Taiwan. This varietal, as said before, delivers a unique character that is similar to Japanese pear. Such character will create a "crisp" character that is similar to sparkling wine, and that is why some people will call oriental beauty as "Champagne Oolong" for their crispness. This oriental beauty is exactly that type of classical "Champagne Oolong" you are looking for, and despite the mild bug bitten effect, the quality of this tea is thicker than the one from last year. An old dog would encourage anyone who has not yet tried our superb Shih Ding Oriental Beauty to try this tea as your start!