Lao Cong Zi Ya
Harvest: Spring, 2011
Growing Region: Yuchih Township, Nantou County, Taiwan
Varietal: Indigenous Purple Shoot Mountain Tea (台灣紫芽山茶)
Age of Tea Plant: 86 Years (Planted in 1925)
10 Gram Sample Available
This very special black tea is made from one of Taiwan’s indigenous wild tea species: Purple Shoot Mountain Tea (紫芽山茶: Zǐ Yá Shān Chá). Wild-growing tea varietals were discovered and reported by the Dutch East India Company as early as the mid-1600’s, and in 1925, during the Japanese Colonial period, a branch of what is now known as the Tea Research and Extension Station was set up in Yuchih County near the beautiful Sun Moon Lake to study Taiwan’s wild mountain tea varieties.
The Purple Shoot Mountain Tea plants used to make this black tea were planted here in 1925, and they have been under the care of the family of the amazing husband and wife team who produced this black tea since 1954, when the wife’s Grandfather acquired the land use rights to these very special wild-growing gardens from the government. The husband and wife team who produced this black tea took over the gardens in 2001, and they have spent these 10+ years researching and perfecting their methods of producing the best tea from these now very rare, 86 year old, indigenous, wild growing tea plants.
Appearance, Flavor and Aroma:
This tea’s dry leaves are long and curly with a slight purplish hue, particularly around the veins and midribs, and the stems are a unique orange/coral color. The aroma of the dry leaves is mild with hints of citrus. When steeped, this tea produces a full-bodied, crystal clear, bright amber infusion. The flavor of the infusion is that of a refined black tea with hints of citrus, mild bitterness and low astringency that leaves a lovely and lingering aftertaste over a series of infusions.
As usual, I suggest Gong Fu style preparation with this tea. Rather than sticking to a specific weight of tea leaves to water volume measure, we recommend simply filling your gaiwan or Yixing style teapot 1/4 to 1/3 full of dry tea leaves, use water just under a boil and a series of short steepings. If you prefer to use a weight to volume measure, try starting with 7 grams of leaf in a 150 ml gaiwan or teapot.
For Western-style steeping, start with about 3 grams of leaf (good luck getting this leaf to fit in a teaspoon measure) per standard size cup. Use water just off the boil, and steep for 3-5 minutes. Adjust the amount of leaf, steeping time, and water temperature used according to your preference.
General steeping guidelines for the different categories of Chinese tea and a short downloadable “how to” video on Gong Fu style tea preparation are available on our Chinese Tea Steeping Guide page.