Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Another Advent Chaxi

This Chabu isn't a Christmas theme, but the red borders and the flowers suggest a festive spirit in a time of darkness...
And the reason I chose these black, brown and red colors, is to harmonize them with the color and spirit of this excellent Taiwanese Oolong: the 2019 summer Oriental Beauty tradition from Hsin Chu!

Make no mistake, this is the Oolong that requires the most skill and luck to make. It's no wonder then that the first prized OB sell at a higher price than the first prized Dong Ding Oolong! Both these Oolongs require a good amount of oxidation and careful roasting. (OB requires more oxidation than a Dong Ding Oolong, of course, which means it takes longer to produce). But OB also needs luck and the cooperation of small green crickets (jassids) that bite the tea buds, triggering a chemical response from the plant. This is what gives a very bright honey note to the tea.
So, this is a tea that sees its quality vary greatly. And while top quality sells at a high premium, it's increasingly difficult to find good quality at a reasonable price. Well, this 2019 OB tradition manages the quality and reasonable price. The honey notes from the jassid bites are most obvious in the first brews. They unfold along very ripe and fruity fragrances, while the taste is sweet with a lingering aftertaste that gathers on the middle of the tongue. The flavors mix well with Christmas cookies like Spekulatius! It feels cozy and comfortable. The brew shines like golden sunlight.. 
Note: Why do the best OBs come from Hsin Chu? (and not from Wenshan or China?)

1. The fact that OB was invented there is just part of the explanation. Farmers in Hsin Chu have become focused on OB, while farmers in Wenshan are masters of Baozhong. Each process requires skills and experience...
2. Because farmers in Hsin Chu are focused on OB, they are planting the cultivar that is the best fit for OB: Qingxin DaPang. (In Wenshan, only very few farmers have planted Qingxin DaPang).
3. I'm still giving away free samples of overseas OB (for OB orders in excess of 30 USD), so that you can compare Hsin Chu OB and OB grown outside Taiwan and taste the difference!

No comments: