To most people, teas from Taiwan are synonymous with high mountain oolongs. Officially, these are the four top subregions for the tea: Alishan, Shan Lin Xi, Li Shan, and Yu Shan. We already carry quite a few Alishan’s, to find one from the others, we have been relentlessly searching. It has to be one comparable to those from Alishan but individualistic enough.
Shan Lin Xi — literally Stream of Cypress Woods — is an area deep in a national reserve in the mountainous central area of the island country. Two hour driving from the station in the small city of Chia Yi, you will have climbed 1000m on the curvy roads deep in the sparse village areas with dense tall trees and quite many degrees lower than down there. Tea patches are hidden here and there amongst forests, occasional clusters of bamboos and a great diversity of wild plants.
The same Chin Hsin Gan Chi cultivar grown here yields leaves that seem to have acquired a different character, a somehow lighter yet more complex, more stimulating tinkle. Previously when I was still operating a teahouse, some customers came to do Zen with tea as the medium. I guess this Shan Lin Xi Oolong can be one for it too.
Net weight: 70 g (2.5 oz) in Kraft-alu pillow pack
Deep in the mountains in Xishuangbanna in southern Yunnan tea trees grow wild amongst other woods and plants in Bulang Shan. Ethnic mountain people, particularly women, bring with them wood ladders and a plank for platform for plucking in tea season, perhaps as it has always been since antiquity. As a continuation of this tradition, Bulang Silver Spring is hand-processed and slow dried over wood charcoal the same way. This shengcha puer is bright and refreshing when consumed as a new tea, or can be put away for maturity.
Deep in Wudong, the most revered area for Fenhuang Dancong production, the village of Shèmen ( sheh-mehn ) is home to one of the most elusive traditional style oolongs. Here the Shè ( 畬 ) tribe settled a thousand years ago and began producing oolong to bake it in a way that was copied in Wuyishan a few hundred years later to produce Wuyi oolongs. Tea Hong’s double baked and matured Shèmen Dancong is our best attempt to reconstruct the same tea of the peace-loving and hard-working Shè people 10 centuries ago. This old style oolong gives a clear and most eloquent definition of the tea term yan-yun — music from the rock. The term has been mostly employed to describe better Wuyi oolongs yet it has never been more beautifully defined by this Phoenix tea. If you ever wonder about the relationship of the oolongs between the two regions, this may well be the link you are looking for.
Net weight: 40 g (1.4 oz) in Kraft-alu pack
The very same cultivar which leaves that make the black tea, Fragrance of Taiwan — Red Jade — is employed to make this unique white tea. Where the black tea has an upfront distinctive character which tea novices may need time to grow into, the white tea version is a lot friendlier for understanding this wonderful camellia formosenisis species with.
Hong Yu Deep White has the light and easy first impression like other white teas, but that will grow in your palate to the roundness of an aged black tea and the floral character of an oolong. An unmistakable gastronomical signature uniquely its own seamlessly holds all elements together as a continuum of olfactory-palatial sensation experience.
Guifei Oolong ( or Honey Concubine Tea, literally translated ) is a deep-baked, medium oxidation ( 25 ~ 30% ) oolong produced from the Ruan Zhi cultivar in the Dong Ding ( Cold Peak ) area. It is different from the traditional Cold Peak oolong. The leaves of Guifei are bitten by green leafhoppers before plucking. The bug attack triggers a chain of biochemical reactions in the leaves that result in the complex honey notes that typify this tea. It was inspired by the way Oriental Beauty acquires its unique taste profile. However the two teas taste very differently through each’s own unique oolong processing approaches and pluck timing.
The tea was invented after the devastation of an earthquake in September 1999, when the farmers had to create more revenue to rebuild their lost homes.
Fired to perfection by our producer Chen Yu Wen, the tea was awarded Silver Medal in the annual Guifei Oolong competition, and aged to perfection at our own den in Hong Kong.
Please choose from two package options:
Kraft-alu pillow — Content net weight: 70 grams (2.5 oz)
Original tin can — Content net weight: 150 grams (5.3 oz)
Some people like their green tea soft and sweet, others may prefer a good umami. Yet this leaf shoot tea is neither. Its bitterness is accented by its sharpness on a bold, full body. After Longjing, of all the other green teas from the Zhejiang region, my personal strongest preference goes to Kaihua Longding. To me it is an alternative to a shot of single malt in a heavy evening, or an afternoon kick of espresso. Its pleasant aftertaste is paralleled by neither.
Since encountering the true quality of this tea, I have always wanted to put it in my collection, only to be refrained from extraordinary high asking prices. Genuine ones are rare after all. It has been extremely fortunate, after 13 years, to have located our current farmer willing to sell at this affordable price so we can offer it here to you.
Tea Hong’s Dragon Tip is Kaihua Longding at its very best.
Most green tea varieties made in Taiwan are processed with an approach so minimalist that the quality of the harvest and the characteristics of the cultivar almost entirely dictate the resultant taste profile. Processing skills are needed there to optimise it but when the weather or harvesting condition are not good, there is not a lot one can do during processing to salvage the quality.
In order to deliver the very best representation of what a premium Taiwan green tea can be, we have chosen a flavourful cultivar that many have used to produce black teas and Oriental Beauty with for our green tea: TTES#17*.
Tea Hong’s Snowy Egret is made in a specially designated farm from only the first flush of Bai Lu and masterfully handmade by the farm’s owner. Still, a fine harvest like this one in offer cannot be taken for granted every year.
Renaissance of a millennium old tribunal yellow tea
For the same refreshing, cleansing sensation as the finest Huangshan Maofeng, ample green tea’s health constituents, yet with the absence of astringency, a yellow tea like Huo Shan Huang Ya ( i.e. Yellow Tips ) is a best choice. This superb first flush selection is produced almost like a Maofeng green tea but lightly oxidised by covering the tea when it is still very warm during processing. The heat converted some of the leaf constituents into simpler sugars. This particular step gives a softer, sweeter and much easier taste but as delightfully quenching and more body. The concept of this technique has been millennium old, yet it is only in recent years that really fine tasting products become available and accessible. Distinctive as Tea Hong’s Huo Shan Yellow Tips is still rare.
Net weight: 40 g (1.4 oz) in Kraft-alu pack