This year, Taiwan didn't have a very cold winter. This early spring favored early harvests of the fastest growing tea species (Jinxuan, Tsui Yu, Si Ji Chun). The slower, more traditional luanze (qingxin) oolong kind comes last. A farmer I called in Pinglin told me this Wednesday that only 20% of the luanze oolong crop had been harvested so far in Wenshan. Most of the rest will be by the end of next week (the higher, the later). This is excellent news, because the current weather is just gorgeous and perfect for tea. We have cold nights and warm days, a climate similar to the high mountains and which helps give spring tea a crisp and fresh fragrance.
The weather had made a first change on the day of Qing Min Jie (April 5), the official start of the oolong spring season. It had started to rain almost without interruption for 10 days (here in northern Taiwan, which is always more rainy than Central Taiwan). Now, starting this week, it is dry and sunny again.
Therefore, I'm quite optimistic to find good high quality Wenshan Baozhong (luanze cultivar) this year. Of course, to make a good tea it is not enough to just rely on heaven (weather). You also need good soil and skilled people. Ah, I almost can't wait!
I live in Taiwan since 1996 and have been studying tea with Teaparker. He's a worldwide tea expert and author of over 30 tea books. The study of tea isn't just theoretical, but it's also rooted in daily practice. It's a path of continuous improvement. As my brewing technique improves I get access to better teas and better accessories. These things go hand in hand. My blog documents my learning since 2004. And I have set up an online tea boutique with my selection of top quality teas, accessories and tea culture.