2016 Spring Oolong '209' from Songboling
Cultivar: No. 209
Harvested by machine on April 20, 2016
Origin: Songboling, Mingjian, Nantou (Taiwan)
Process: Light to medium oxidation, well 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). This makes them well suited for green tea process, but it's also possible to turn them into Oolong. The comparison of this Oolong with the green tea made from the same leaves is very helpful to understand the differences in taste and aromas of green tea and Oolong.
The dry leaves smell like a mix a Tsui Yu and Tie Guan Yin. The brew itself has a high pitch with apricot and forest notes. It is a little bit astringent due to the machine harvesting method, but it has a typical Oolong roundness. Short brews will help get the best out of those leaves.
Conclusion: This Oolong '209' adds diversity to our experience of Taiwan's low elevation Oolongs, which are typically Sijichun, Jinxuan and Tsui Yu.
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