Country of Origin: Taiwan
Region: Hinchu County
Grade: Special Oolong
Altitude: 400 – 1200 feet above sea level
Manufacture Type: Traditional orthodox
Cup Characteristics: A premium rare tea with burgundy depth. Delicate toast and jam notes finish the cup.
Infusion: Tending black (noting the longer fermentation time for this type of oolong)
Ingredients: Luxury oolong tea.
While tea ceremonies are usually associated with Japan, Taiwan, which has an incredibly rich tea culture in its own right, also
has intricate ceremonies that are gaining more widespread attention. Possibly the most interesting and unique of these is the
Wu-Wo ceremony developed by Grand Master Tsai Rong Tsang. The ceremony is heavily rooted in Buddhist philosophy –
“Wu” translated means a void, absolute emptiness, while “Wo” means self – very Buddhist. The ceremony begins by inviting
people over for tea, each person bringing his or her own tea with them. Everyone brews enough cups to serve all the other
guests seated around the table. In this way, everyone brews and serves tea, no one leads and no on e follows. In keeping with
the Buddhist theme, there are seven principles that must be adhered to:
1. No special treatment is given to social ranking.
2. There are no rewards.
3. Keep your mind open.
4. Be positive and always try to improve your technique.
5. Follow the rules and never come late.
6.Cooperate with everyone present.
7. People of all religions and beliefs may participate.
So, what kind of tea would customarily be brought to such a ceremony?
Enter the Black Dragon – Super Fancy Formosa Oolong. (Oolong means Black Dragon in Chinese). The favored tea of many
Taiwanese connoisseurs, oolong is immediately recognizable due to their stout, crinkled and rolled leaf style. When infused,
the tea unfurls revealing full leaves with bruised, slightly reddish edges. The light liquor and palate cleansing profile make this
tea the perfect companion to a relaxed afternoon appreciating the finer things in life.
So how is it made? In Taiwan, making Oolong is considered a precious art. To make one as fine as this, requires years of
formal training to master. From nursing new seedlings, to planting, nourishing the bushes, and properly selecting the best time
to pluck the leaves, the intricacies of Taiwanese tea husbandry are passed down from one generation to the next. The great
masters believe that it is only through the transfer of carefully protected secrets that the finest specimens can be produced.
Production involves rolling the fresh leaf followed by a brief fermentation period. Once the leaves have begun to turn brown,
they are fired under high heat to capture the unique and highly intricate flavor profiles. It is interesting to note that a shorter
firing produces teas with an almost peach-like character while a longer firing will produce a rich amber cup with bakey notes.
Super Fancy Formosa Oolong undergoes a slightly longer firing than some others and subsequently produces a cup that is
exceedingly smooth, somewhat toasty and long on the finish. An exceptional tea, entirely worthy of a celebration of its own.