2016 Spring green tea from Songboling

  Code 209

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Cultivar: Experimental code name '209'
Harvested by machine on April 20th, 2016
Origin: Songboling, Mingjian, Taiwan
Process: green tea (tumbling oven dried)

In order to create the Jinxuan and Tsui Yu, Dr. Wu Zhenduo at the Tea Research and Extension Station (TRES) started with over 200 different tea cultivars. These teas were also planted by farmers, so that the TRES could study their characteristics and select the best suited cultivars for Taiwan's Oolong market. This cultivar was code named '209' at that time, but didn't get to be selected by the TRES. However, the farmer kept harvesting these trees and they provide different aromas than the SiJiChun, Jinxuan or TsuiYu cultivars that are dominant in Mingjian.

This '209' cultivar has small, light green leaves (see pictures). It's actually better suited for green tea than for Oolong. The low yield and the green tea suitability are probably the reasons why TRES didn't select this cultivar for Oolong production.

Its dry scents have hints of light oxidation, which is why its brew is yellow instead of green. The brew itself reminds me a little bit of Japanese Sencha. The taste has a light astringency on the tongue due to the machine harvest. However, thanks to the slight oxidation, the taste is also quite sweet and comfortable on the stomach. My advice is make short brews with these leaves. It's very interesting to compare this green tea to the Oolong version made from the same leaves. This comparison is a better explanation of what differenciates green tea and Oolong than any book on the subject!

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