Pinglin Natural Farming "Red Monkey" Oriental Beauty Oolong Tea - Winter 2019Taiwan Sourcing
We met Mr. Chen, a friendly farmer in Pinglin by pure luck (most of the great farmer we met are under luck). We were at Pinglin to meet with another farmer who was also known for his tea, and we did not expect to meet Mr. Chen at all. However, under the guidance of destiny, Mr. Chen became our farmer to cooperate.
This varietal "White Fur Monkey" originated from Fujian province of China, and later brought to the northern part of Taiwan in the early 19th century. White Fur Monkey is a rarely seen varietal in today's market. Not only for its difficulty to maintain organically, its extremely low production yield when growing all natural is the main reason that makes farmers try to "stay out of trouble" when they heard about it. For this reason we were astonished to hear that Mr. Chen is running a plantation with this varietal, and asked him sincerely to allow us process it into our own tea with his winter harvest. Winter is usually not the best season to process Oriental Beauty oolong, but we were very eager to try the potential of this varietal and this plantation!
The harvest quality was supreme grade for Oriental Beauty processing. However, this means the production like mentioned previously, would turn out very little. With such small quantity we treated the material with extra care during every stage. The interesting part was doing "killing green" in the morning, because an unbelievable amount of white fur exploded from the killing green machine during this stage, making the entire room floating with furs of "white fur monkey."
"This is why my wife doesn't really like dealing with this tea," As Mr. Chen noted , "She has to do extra cleaning every time after this whole mess."
The final result of this tea is not as pungent as traditional rolled oolong at the beginning, so we let the tea sit for two months after the charcoal roasting "refining" stage to stabilize it. It now has a gentle fruity profile only white fur monkey has. Taiwan Sourcing is always excited to discover new place and new varietal. With the discovery of this new place, we hope we will build a life-long relationship with Mr. Chen, and this tea will be the symbol of this new friendship.
Harvest: Winter 2019 / 冬 貳零壹玖
Varietal: White Fur Monkey / 白毛猴
Elevation: 580 M / 伍佰捌拾 公尺
Region: Pinglin / 坪林
Fermentation Level: 75% / 分之 柒拾捌
Roast Level: 0 / 無
This tea has a unique nose that is slightly roasted grain and honey with some fruits. Cozy. The leaves are very soft and tender, beautiful to behold. The flavors are complex at first being the grainy sweetness of the roasting on top of the beginning of honey and dried fruit of good oriental beauty. There is a rawness and strength to this tea even though it has such teeny tiny leaves. It keeps steeping with greater depth and comfort. Really interesting varietal and clean growing make for another excellent edition to the collection.
An old dog has been nosing around for this particular varietal before the founding of Taiwan Sourcing. This varietal is just too difficult to find even with the rising popularity of Oriental Beauty. Normally what an old dog encountered in the market are the conventionally grown one, and this fact made an old dog an young dog again when he discovered this plantation grown by Mr. Chen (By the way, there are really a lot of Mr. Chen in the tea farming world). The tea at this stage still needs more aging, but an experienced tea lover will certain realize the potential of its unique quality. If you are the few lucky people who got this tea, don't finish it too fast, because we are not sure about what will happen in 2020.