Cultivar: Jinxuan Oolong
Origin: Zhu Shan, Nantou county, Taiwan
Hand harvested on March 27, 2012.
Process: Rolled, unroasted Oolong
Brewed competition style: 3 grams for 6 minutes in the white competition set.
This spring's Zhu Shan Jinxuan harvest has benefited from perfect weather conditions. First, Taiwan had a long and cold winter that let nature rest and regenerate. While it rained sufficiently during winter (trees need water), the weather turned sunny, dry and cool during the harvest of this area. Such conditions are very close to those in high mountain areas and explain the high quality of this spring's crop.
The light yellow brew has a wonderful clarity and shine.
The taste is mellow with a light and fresh lingering sweetness.
The natural, milky and flowery fragrance is soft and sweet. The oxidation is slightly stronger than on most Jinxuan (see the red edges of the open leaves below) and I have requested a second drying of the leaves to make the tea more stable. The result is an absence of bitterness and just a slight fruity astringency.
On the top right, we can see that insects have attacked a tea leaf. This is always a good sign that shows that the farmer has minimized the use of pesticides.
Quality starts with hand picked tea leaves from smaller plantations. The hand pick hurts the leaf the least. A whole leaf releases less astringency than a machine harvested leaf.
Conclusion: this batch of Zhu Shan Jinxuan Oolong tastes pure, sweet and fresh. It's an very good value for everyday drinkers of fragrant Oolong. This year, this is particularly the case!
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.