Thursday, May 18, 2023

Shan Lin Xi Oolong, spring 2023

The harvest of this Shan Lin Xi plantation starts at 6:30 AM. The weather is usually drier in the morning than in the afternoon, so it makes sense to start early and pick as many leaves as possible before the fog comes with its moisture.
This year, the harvest in this plantation was delayed by a week to May 10th, because of the dry and cool weather. And while usually the harvest takes place on two or three consecutive days, this year, the second harvest day was 6 days after the first, because the leaves still needed to grow! It's only in some parts of the plantation that they were deemed big enough for a harvest on May 10th. 
This farmer loves his high mountain Oolong fine and concentrated. That's why he didn't hesitate to take a risk and harvest his field earlier than others. That's why this year's batch includes smaller leaves than usual. This means more power and aftertaste.
But the lack of rain and irrigation also means that the leaves have grown very unevenly this year. Their appearance isn't very appealing if you like you leaves with the same size. However, I feel that this unevenness adds to the natural feel of Oolong tea this year. It's like on a farmer's market: the vegetables come in various sizes and shapes, unlike in the supermarket. These vegetables have more taste and flavor than those neat looking mass produced carrots or tomatoes! The situation is similar with this family owned plantation. The real quality isn't seen on the outside, but felt when it's inside!
2 years ago, I wrote an article inspired by Sinatra's 'Come fly with me to the moon'. I mentioned that the pictures from this mountain look as if we were flying, as if we had an eagle eye! And guess what?! Today I saw an eagle flying over the plantation! Beautiful!
Walking up and down in the sun is difficult. It's even more difficult when you have to pick up lots of tea leaves and carry a big basket to hold them! But hand picking is essential to achieve the highest quality and the sweetest taste!
What is amazing is the smell of the dry leaves. They exude lavender fragrances and pine mountain fragrances very similar to those I smelled in the plantation. Tea is really a excellent absorber and transmitter of fragrances! 
After my tour of the plantation, it's time for some tea in the plantation! The weather is already started to become more foggy!
I found a spot where I could put a spring Shan Lin Xi Chaxi. I boiled mineral water in my silver kettle and brewed the 2023 spring Shan Lin Xi Oolong.
I wasn't in a very comfortable position, but it was totally worth it! Perfect harmony of tea, place and man! And I was even able to share a cup with the son of the farmer who came along to help!
Not everyone has the chance of coming to Taiwan and even fewer get to drink Oolong tea in the high mountains. But with my selection of high mountain Oolongs, I'm your help to obtaining some of the finest and freshest leaves from Taiwan
The quality of this year's Shan Lin Xi is outstanding and reminds me of DaYuLing for its power. 



EG said...

Hi Stéphane,
The environment looks so healthy and pristine, you will certainly make many customers happy with that tea. Congrats on such a successful purchase!

EG said...

Congrats on a great purchase! I love see the photos and grasping the origin of this tea! So beautiful!