NEW TAIWANESE OOLONG TEAS
Careful sourcing is an essential part of the My Cup of Tea ethos. We always make sure our teas come from the best growers and makers, and are harvested and processed in such a way that retains their fullest and most aromatic flavour. For some time we have felt that we wanted to add some new oolongs to our permanent tea range that represent the incredible quality and variety of flavours of tea grown in Taiwan. Our tea trip to Taiwan in January this year was the perfect opportunity to do so, to explore some amazing different types of oolongs made in the stunning high altitude tea gardens of ‘Formosa’ island.
We sourced our two new Gaoshan (high mountain) oolongs from an organic tea garden in the mountainous Nantou county in Taiwan. Grown here at high altitude in the Aowanda forest, where the soil and climate are perfect for growing beautifully sweet and delicate teas, the air is fresh and misty and the tea fields are surrounded by abundant pure water sources. Family owned through three generations since 1925, this farm only uses completely natural fertiliser and manual weed control, maintaining a harmonious environment balance and producing the purest, cleanest teas.
High Mountain teas grow anywhere upwards of 2500 ft. The low temperatures and thin air at such high altitudes mean that the tea plant grows very slowly, which brings out fuller and more intense flavours and results in a very refined and delicious tea. The top youngest four or five leaves are picked by hand, withered in the sun to develop wonderful floral aromas, and shaken and rattled to provoke oxidation. The teas are rolled and then fired to prevent them from becoming fully oxidised like a black tea.
Our High Mountain Oolong is incredibly fragrant and sweet, brewing a deep golden honey-like liquor with a long smooth finish and a fresh floral aroma. After rolling, the flavour of the leaves is developed through a very gentle roasting process for a smooth, rounded cup. With distinct notes of peach and hazelnuts, the leaves can be brewed multiple times, each infusion giving a different flavour profile.
From the same organic plantation in Nantou, our new Milk Oolong is a very floral and aromatic balled oolong. It is made from the Jin Xuan cultivar, a particular type of the tea plant used to make Milk Oolongs that gives the tea its naturally creamy, silky mouthfeel. The hand picked leaves are harvested in early spring before the first rains, and are carefully rolled into tight balls. The tea is then very lightly oxidised, retaining its very green colour and fresh taste. Complex flavours of lilac and jasmine develop as the leaves unfurl. This tea has a long lasting after taste with distinct orchid notes and a sweetness that develops in the mouth.
Our limited edition Pouchong comes from the northern Wenshan region of a Taiwan. Not fully a green yet not wholly an oolong, this tea is very lightly oxidised giving it the refreshing character of a green tea as well as the aromatic and complex flavours and aromas of an oolong. This Pouchong, also known as Bao Zhong, is a typical tea of this northern region, identified by its long bluey-green twisted leaves. The name Pouchong,meaning ‘wrapped kind’, originally derives from the traditional way these teas were packaged in small parcels. Like the High Mountain and Milk oolongs, it can be infused multiple times, and brews a pale yellow liquor with a buttery, smooth mouthfeel and sweet floral notes that fill the palate.