2016 February Xue Li from Gankou, southern Taiwan
Cultivar: Xue Li
Harvested by hand: February 15th, 2016
Origin: Gankou, southern Taiwan
Process: green tea (tumbling oven dried)
Records for this Gankou tea go back to 1876. Originally, this tea cultivar, Xue Li (snow pear) comes from Anxi, Fujian. Here, in the south of Taiwan, the plantation is located in the Gankou village and faces the Pacific ocean. The climate conditions are very tough: strong sunshine, little rain and strong winds. Between the tea bushes, dry wood and leaves provide a protection for the soil and help retain the moisture. This also helps to prevent weed naturally. The process for this tea is also unusual for Taiwan: green tea instead of Oolong! As expected, this green tea tastes quite differently than most green teas. The leaves are small, but bigger than tips. The warm weather near the ocean makes the leaves grow very quickly, while remaining thick. Unlike green tea from the north of Taiwan, this green tea is less about freshness and finesse than it is about strength and full body. It tastes a fruity with a sweet and sour mouthfeel and triggers a lot of salivation in the whole mouth. It exudes sunshine and the raw energy of the Pacific Ocean. A unique tasting experience! This year, I had the chance to get the 2 best crops of the year: this one from the middle of winter and the one from early spring. Their differences are due to their season: the winter leaves are milder and smoother in taste, while the spring leaves are more fragrant and powerful. Tip: proceed with short brewing times.