Origin: Alishan, Taiwan
Plucking Season: Spring
Introduction: Alishan is a range of 18 mountains located in central Taiwan. The region is famous for its dense cloud cover and beautiful peaks. Ancient stands of cypress and brilliant cherry trees are inhabited by a plethora of birds and wildlife.
Alishan is one of Taiwan’s best known tea growing regions and famous for its Gao Shan Cha “high mountain tea”. Due to its elevation and cooler climate, the leaf grows slower attaining a higher concentration of sap and essential oils which contribute to the tea’s flavor and aroma.
This is a roasted Alishan, giving a warm, toasty depth to the floral, honey-like aroma and flavor.
In making Alishan oolong only the newly sprouted leaves are plucked. They are then ‘withered’ in the sun (weather permitting) or indoors on special bamboo trays for a few hours to reduce moisture.
Once a suitable suppleness is achieved in the leaves, traditional rolling techniques (which include wrapping the leaves in cloth and binding it tightly into ball shape) are applied in conjunction with light roasting in a rotating tunnel roaster. Successive re-rolling and re-roastings are done to achieve the optimum shape and flavor. A final roast is given to complete the processing.
Apart from elevation, season and age of the plants, oolongs can be evaluated by the quality of leaf and the processing art. The leaves should be tightly rolled and should not crumble with gentle pressure (crumbled leaf is a sign of over-roasting or stale leaf)
Flavor Profile: Deep, roasted, wild-honey-like aroma and flavor. Enough roasting to give depth, yet without disturbing the more subtle, sweet floral qualities of the tea.