TeaMasters' sampler for beginners

Discover Taiwan's teas

 

 

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4 items in stock

Price: $ 49.00

Discover the wide range of Taiwan teas with this selection. The goal of this sampler is to help you choose the teas of your first order. You will better understand each type of tea after tasting them, and you'll also better know which type of tea you like best. At the same time, they will make your tastebuds travel to Formosa and enjoy the beauty of whole leaf tea. 

Oolong teas are partially oxydized. This is that last tea family that has been invented, in the 1700s, in the Fujian province, right across Taiwan. It's also the most technical and complex tea to make, because the oxidation level of the leaves varies for each production (for other teas it's always the same) and it can be roasted at varying degrees. Oolongs have the broadest range of flavors, but other factors also influence the tea: the cultivar, the location of the plantation, the season of the harvest, how the leaves are harvested (by machine or hand)...

 

In this sampler, let's start with the biggest tea producing region of Taiwan, Mingjian in Nantou county in the center of the island. There, the most popular cultivar is SiJiChun, which means 4 seasons Spring. Its name means that this tea can be harvested all year long and produce very flowery fragrances. But the best quality for this tea comes from the late winter harvest, called Dong Pian (winter petals). That's when the nights are coolest and preserve the fresh fragrances of the leaves. That's what you can taste on this fresh SiJiChun. Then, it's very interesting to compare it to its charcoal roasted version.  This will allow you to understand the impact of roasting, because these 2 teas come from the exact same harvest. 

We can then compare these lightly oxidized Oolong with a green tea and a white tea from the same region.  

Then, I propose to discover another important cultivar for Oolong tea: Jinxuan. I was created in the early 1980s by TRES (Taiwan Research Extension Station, Taiwan's tea research centre). In Mingjian, I found it in its zhuo yan version, insect bitten and slightly more oxidized than usual. This gives the tea more fruity flavors than its fresh, low oxidized high mountain version. These Alishan Jinxuan leaves come from one of the highest Jinxuan plantations in Taiwan (1250 m). An Oolong is considered 'high mountain' when its plantation exceeds 1000 meters altitude. Spring nights are very cool in Alishan, which helps preserve the fine flavors of the leaves. With this spring qingxin Oolong from Alishan we can taste a smaller leaf cultivar with more power. The difference in aromas with the Jinxuan mostly comes from the cultivar since all other parameters are almost the same. This is currently the most popular Oolong style in Taiwan.

We can find something quite similar with Baozhongs from Wenshan (northern Taiwan). They are also lightly oxidized and barely roasted most of the time. However, their striped shape is very different. They often have subtropical forest aromas as you can experience with this Baozhong

Since we've tasted green and white teas to see how they differ from lightly oxidized Oolongs, I propose that we also taste the other side of the spectrum, fully oxidized tea (red according to Chinese and black in the west). Taiwan's most famous red tea comes from the East coast, next to the Pacific Ocean. Like the zhuo yan Oolong, it's bitten by small green insects called Jacobiasa formosana Paoli. It's made with a Da Yeh Oolong cultivar and the insect bites give this tea its special honey fragrance. 

Let's finish this broad tour with a very unusual tea called Gaba! Its leaves are fermented in anaerobic conditions, in a nitrogen filled chamber. This has a dramatic effect on the taste of the tea. This Japanese innovation is very well suited for evening brews and for people with high blood pressure. 

 

Here's the list of 10 teas included in this beginner's sampler. Each tea is 25 gr, except the white tea with 12 gr:

1. 2017 Dong Pian SiJiChun Oolong from Mingjian

2. 2017 Hung Shui 'Dong Pian' Oolong from Mingjian

3. 2016 Spring green tea from Songboling

4. 2016 Fall Bai Wen white tea from Songboling

5. 2017 Spring Zhuo Yan Jinxuan Oolong from Songboling

6. 2017 Spring Jinxuan Oolong from Ali Shan

7. 2017 Spring QingXin Oolong Ali Shan

8. 2017 Spring 'Subtropical Forest' Baozhong 2

9. 2015 Spring Da Yeh Oolong from Tse Ke Shan

10. 2016 Summer Gaba tea from Mingjian

 

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