Eco-Cha Club # 48: Alishan High Mountain Black Tea

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Black Tea
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Butternut Squash, Caramel, Cherry, Chocolate, Citrus, Cocoa, Coffee, Drying, Oats, Peanut, Savory, Sugar, Sweet, Sweet Potatoes, Tannin, Vanilla, Yams
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Edit tea info Last updated by Daylon R Thomas
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From Eco-Cha Artisan Teas

Complex, sweet fruity aroma. Malty, thick caramelized sugar with citrus notes.
Dry, pleasantly sweet, lingering finish.

Oxidation: Medium
Roast: Unroasted
Harvest: Small batch
Season: Summer 2019
Region: Meishan, Taiwan
Elevation: 1200m

We continue to be delighted with our
source of Alishan Tea that we
discovered a few years ago. It is a
residential farm, run by a husband and
wife team, with an onsite factory, and
surrounded by pine and bamboo forest
in the Alishan High Mountain Tea area of
Taiwan. It embodies pretty much
everything we aspire to support in the
local industry, and represent to tea
lovers around the world.
Eco-Cha Tea Club’s batch #48 is Alishan
High Mountain Black Tea. It has a very
balanced, integrated flavor profile, and
oers subtle notes of a Qing Xin
Oolong. The brewed leaves still have a
greenish hue, even though the stems are
quite reddish, indicating nearly full
oxidation. It is an interesting hybrid of
tea types, but definitely acts more like a
Black Tea made from the small leaf type
Qing Xin strain.
The leaves were harvested from the
bumper crop, following this year’s
spring harvest. They were allowed to
mature enough to oer a substantial
brew with a balanced character that is
neither bitter nor astringent. It has
brown sugar/oatmeal cookie profile with
subtle notes of citrus (we taste
bergamot), coee, and cocoa. It’s an
amazingly integrated flavor profile that
makes it hard to distinguish individual
The brewed tea is a bright copper/red
with beautiful transparency and
luminescence. It’s refined yet substantial
character allows it to be brewed with
less leaves to oer more complexity, but
it can also handle a higher leaf:water
ratio and still maintain a balanced
character. We recommend starting at
1:20 leaf to water ratio and using above
90*C water, starting with a 40 second
brew time, 30 seconds for the second
brew, and adding 10 seconds per brew
from there on.

Batch #48 of the Eco-Cha Tea Club is an
Alishan High Mountain Black Tea. Our
source of Alishan High Mountain Oolong
and Alishan High Mountain Jin Xuan
Oolong makes Black Tea from his summer
crop of Qing Xin Oolong tea leaves. The
summer crop is actually a bumper crop
from their spring harvest. The new leaf
growth that was too immature to pick at
spring harvest is allowed to continue
growing to at least half maturity before it
is harvested and processed as Small Leaf
Black Tea.
This source has only been making Black
Tea for 3 or 4 years, but this year they’ve
made significant progress in producing an
exceptional High Mountain Small Leaf
Black Tea. We believe it’s at least partially
because they allowed their leaves to
mature a bit more than in previous years.
This is recognizable in the appearance of
the brewed leaves, and we think that it is
also the reason that this batch is much
less astringent. In our experience, the
previous batches we sampled from this
source were fickle to brew, and easily
became astringent. This character
coincided with the fact that the leaves
were quite young.
With each visit to this farm, we find
ourselves uttering “This is the most
beautiful tea garden”! A prominent reason
we say this, beyond the fact that it is quite
pretty from almost any point of view, is
that it is on a residential farm,
interspersed with big trees, and
surrounded by forest. It is also at the top
of the hill, with no further development
above it. At 1200m, the climate provides
ideal growing conditions, and is
environmentally more sustainable than
more remote, higher elevation tea farms.
The owners of this farm and factory are a
couple in their early 40’s that are really in
their prime of their career as specialty tea
producers. It is truly a pleasure to visit
them — so much so that we seize any
opportunity to head into the hills of
Alishan Tea Country to see what they are
up to!

About Eco-Cha Artisan Teas View company

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1 Tasting Note

1705 tasting notes

I thought I reviewed this one…oh well.

I had this one two years ago, plowing through half of the 75 grams. I saved the other half which has been untouched for two years, and I re-discovered I had it when I inventoried some of my tea.

I delayed reviewing because I had initially mixed feelings on the tea. I fell in love with it the first time around since it has the sweet cocoa flavor I look for with enough citrus, caramel, or sugar sweetness to balance out the incredible dry cocoa/hot chocolate powder and yammy notes, not to mention an incredible aroma like fresh medium roasted coffee, but the remaining sessions tended to yield a more drying tea when I went with Eco-Cha’s 7 grams instructions. It had the same flavors, but it tasted like stale chocolate bars, sesame seeds, and raw sweet potato skins. There were times where the tea bordered on vegetal on the squashy end, other times more sweet. While this tea is far from bitter, it could be a little bit tannic like coffee, which was interesting to taste in a black tea. I finished the half of this tea fast, but was let down by the dryness until I fell in love with it on the last session of it 2019.

I decided to open back up, and it’s still as fresh as it was nearly two years ago. I am going to finish it quick before it dries out too much like the other half did. It retains all the notes as I brewed up between 4-5 grams gong fu, and I brewed it 35, 25, 35, 40, and 55 so far. I changed the water ratio a few times from 4-3.5-3.5-3.0-and finally 2.0 oz to savor the flavor. The experiment actually worked and yielded some nice flavor, adding a little bit of vanilla and cherry hints in the later steeps. I am going to go at it one last time, but I think I’ve spent the tea at it’s height.

Of the Tea Club’s blacks, this one was my favorite because it’s a complex flavor pleaser that I’d rate between an 87-92. I was also more satisfied with this black tea because the club went through a phase of doing nothing but Jin Xuans, Bug Bitten, or GABA oxidized teas that started to taste the same after a while. Some of them were too fruity even for me which is saying something-a lot of them tasted like pluot or papaya with an intense caffeine dose bordering on the effect of some purple teas….which can give me bad headaches. This tea was a lot more easy going and flavorful, and while my main criticisms are the dryness and lack of staying power, I’m relieved that I saved this tea.

Flavors: Butternut Squash, Caramel, Cherry, Chocolate, Citrus, Cocoa, Coffee, Drying, Oats, Peanut, Savory, Sugar, Sweet, Sweet Potatoes, Tannin, Vanilla, Yams

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