Taiwan is mostly home to Oolong, semi-oxidized tea. It is famous for its High mountain Oolongs, which are particularly low oxidized. However, in recent years, there is a trend (a diversification) towards highly or completely oxidized teas. The Guei Fei Cha I wrote about in my last post is an example of this trend. Another good example is the Red tea based on Da Yeh Oolong from the East Coast. And Taiwan's Tea Research and Extension Station is fueling these innovations with R&D on new tea cultivars designed for red tea production: Their last 5 new tea cultivars (No 18 to 22) are all designed to make red tea.
The new red tea I'm about to introduce is not made with a new cultivar. On the contrary, it is made with the most traditional Taiwan tea tree: the luanze (Qingxin) Oolong. It is made with organically leaves grown in Nantou in Spring 2007. They have been fully oxidized AND then roasted four times!
View: the dry leaves are small, losely rolled (like Oolong!) and a little broken (due to the oxidation process). They unfold well: the roasting hasn't been too strong.
Smell: A little cinammon, ripe mellon and dried fruits. The smells are mellow, warm and sweet, but they are not jumping to your nose. Very pure, but discreet and restrained. (Quite the contrary of the red tea made from Da Ye Oolong, which is so intensely aromatic.)
Taste: The strength of the luanze Oolong cultivar is clearly on display. The taste is so sweet and round. Hummmmmm. I still tasted a 'minty' freshness here too. And the roasting has added a dryness that comes with more sweetness during the long aftertaste. It's almost like candy.
Conclusion: This red tea is so round and lacking astringency that it is probably best drunk in gongfu cha fashion without sugar and milk. Few leaves and long brewing times will bring the extra long aftertaste to shine. The ripe, sweet fragrances are a very good fit to Christmas cookies and sweets.
This innovation is so new that the farmer hasn't found a name to describe this tea, yet. He has asked for my readers' help. If anybody has a suggestion after tasting it, please let me know (by e-mail). The 3 best entries will receive prizes. The first prize is this RED clay Yixing Shui Ping teapot. And, who knows, maybe one of you will write tea history and become the inventor of this tea's name!
Remark: Tea in 75 gram pack at the same price as the Organic Red tea from the East coast.