Thursday, January 02, 2014

Jinxuan Dong Pian - a late winter harvest

Zhushan, Jinxuan plantation
Which is the best season to make fresh Oolong on Taiwan? Spring or winter? Spring is more fragrant and floral, say some. Winter brings a sweeter taste, say the others. So, is it a draw? Actually, there is a special time that combines the lightest floral scents with a very sweet taste: it's the late winter harvest! It happens mostly at lower altitudes when the temperatures unexpectedly rise to spring levels. A few days before, the trees were still resting in the cold and all of a sudden they are fooled into thinking that it's spring again! 
But the nights are still very cold (colder and longer than in spring) and this helps preserve the very light fragrances of the leaves.
Such harvests yield less leaves than regular season harvests and are very dependent on the weather. But the quality can be so good that prices will often be 30 to 50% higher than for regular spring or winter harvests!

Cultivar: Jinxuan Oolong
Harvested by hand on December 19th, 2013
Origin: Zhushan, Nantou county

Process: rolled, low oxidized Oolong. No roasting.

Material used: My small qingbai porcelain teapot on ivory white teaboat and qingbai classic cups. A mini qinghua jar. A newly designed green Chabu.
The scents combine a natural milky frangrance and very fresh and refined flowers (lily flowers and orchids). The dry leaves are quite big in size and one may easily mistake them for high mountain Oolong!
The brew is clear and bright with a light yellow color.
The porcelain teapot adds refinement and grace when preparing this tea. The neutral impact of the porcelain helps not to loose the light aromas of this tea (as would be the case in a porous clay teapot). A teapot is also easier to handle than a gaiwan: you have no fear of burning your fingers when pouring the tea in the cups.
These winter petals (Dong Pian) convey the sweet and cool feeling of a sunny winter day in Taiwan. The aftertaste is both fresh and mellow.
Lightly oxidized and not roasted, this Jinxuan Oolong is at its finest and freshest. It's not a tea suitable for aging, but is best drunk young and quickly!
A first glimpse of spring!

1 comment:

Israel said...

Lovely set up, lovely photos!