Cui Luan Bug Bitten "Mandarin Jade" Oolong Tea - 2017 SpringTaiwan Sourcing
The Cui Luan region of Ren Ai county started oolong cultivation in the 1980s, just when the high mountain jade oolong began to take rise. Nearby to Cui Luan but at a lower altitude was the tea area where the famous Chinese tea company "Ten Ren" acquired their high mountain material in the early days. These tea plantations are not easy to reach since they are located in the very heart of mountains accessible only by long winding steep dirt roads, and thanks to that the region has avoided over-development.
This is the hardest tea for us to decide whether to get or not for this spring collection. We were very interested into this tea's special character thanks to the bug-bitteness, and this character is very rare for teas at this elevation. Like our Cui Luan "Emerald Drop" from 2016 winter, both teas obtained such a unique result "thanks" to the relatively warm weather. What made us felt difficult to decide about this tea is that it has a higher oxidation than most of the "jade oolong" you might expect from a high mountain tea, and because of the weather of this season, most of the high mountain teas will have a tiny bit of "bitterness" (as we already had a lot of this teas this season).
But for its special taste, we think this tea should be worthwhile enough to be presented to you. This is not just because of the unique flavor, but also because of its higher oxidation, this tea should have an aging potential unlike most of the jade oolong in the market, even though we are confident enough to say that all our jade oolongs will be good enough to stand the test of the time. The tea got its name "Mandarin Jade" for its Mandarin orange like aftertaste thanks to the bug bittenness while delivering a subtle jade oolong alike quality.
Harvest: Spring 2017 / 春 貳零壹柒
Varietal: Qing Xin Oolong / 青心烏龍
Elevation: 2100 M
Region: Cui Luan / 翠巒
Oxidation Level: 35%
Roast Level: 0
Best Enjoyed Before: Forever
Fruity and thick. Adapted perfectly to the warmer weather this season. While it's bug bitten it's not typical in that it's still very much a jade oolong. The oxidation is very subtle when you look at the leaves and tea soup, but is more noticeable in the very sweet and thick fruity taste that lingers in the mouth and throat.
Sweet and scrumptious aroma in prepped gaiwan.
First round is crisp yet full. Delightful.
Second has great body and tingles on the palate with full flavor.
As I brew it the flavors are so full and consistent. Really enjoyable with slick sweet complex citrus aftertastes. I'm definitely curious about how this tea will age...Only one way to find out
As an old dog that already had countless high mountain oolongs this spring, there is only one way to describe what tea this is - "untackiness". While most tea farmers were striving to make the same old style of jade oolong teas in this season, the owner of this tea plantation decided to go for something bold and unique - a highly oxidated oolong teas from this elevation (2100M). And the reason for such boldness came with a reason, the material was heavily bug bitten. As a result, this tea contains a Mandarin orange like aftertaste in an old dog's mouth. This flavor was achieved by its higher oxidation, and this process made this tea to have clean but robust overall body to the "water" of this tea. An old dog is very confident that this tea will be able to turn into something very outstanding in the near future with proper storage. Enjoy the 2017 fellow tea lovers!