Nov. '19 acquisition trip (TAIWAN)

Travel logs and questions
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Ethan Kurland
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Tue Nov 19, 2019 3:05 am

Over in Asia & not surprisingly for my palate, tea from Taiwan is what seems special.

Taking advantage of some exceptionally good finds:

Hehuan Black that is the project of the oldest son of my main source for tea. Last year he used his crops from this farm to produce oolong which was tasty but did not have depth & durability that he wanted. This year leaves from the same fields were used to produce the best black tea, surpassing the Championship Black that I love. What a nice surprise!

I was allowed to purchase small amounts of an oolong that was aged 22 years & an oolong that was aged 14 years; as well as a small amount of the aged oolong that I have had (Father's Love, aged 5 + years).

I'll write about these in more detail when I return home & make 2 or 3 packets of each tea available.

Cheers, EThan
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debunix
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Tue Nov 19, 2019 9:15 am

Interesting that the black tea was so much better than the oolong from the same leaves. I can imagine that the leaves fundamentally might have properties best expressed as black tea due to their varietal/genetics; or due to the weather/climate/harvest conditions; or that the processing as black tea might have been better due relative comfort/skill/experience of the tea maker with black vs oolong tea in general. What do you think accounts for it?

And: better than your championship black sounds delicious. Noting to myself to check my black tea supply levels....
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pedant
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Tue Nov 19, 2019 4:36 pm

awesome! thanks for telling us about your travels and findings.

i'm interested in trying the teas, but if others beat me to the punch, that's understandable.
Ethan Kurland
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Tue Nov 19, 2019 11:19 pm

pedant wrote:
Tue Nov 19, 2019 4:36 pm

i'm interested in trying the teas, but if others beat me to the punch, that's understandable.
Don't worry. Few people read my thread. You should be able to obtain some when I'm home in < 3 weeks.

In Thailand now where inflation since last visit seems to be about 20% or more for things that effect tourists. Also amazing how baht keeps getting stronger. Still a great place to eat & swim. Cheers
Ethan Kurland
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Thu Jan 02, 2020 11:50 am

debunix wrote:
Tue Nov 19, 2019 9:15 am
Interesting that the black tea was so much better than the oolong from the same leaves. I can imagine that the leaves fundamentally might have properties best expressed as black tea due to their varietal/genetics; or due to the weather/climate/harvest conditions; or that the processing as black tea might have been better due relative comfort/skill/experience of the tea maker with black vs oolong tea in general. What do you think accounts for it?

And: better than your championship black sounds delicious. Noting to myself to check my black tea supply levels....
A lot of the black tea that I have tasted from Taiwan are cultivars that have often or usually been used for oolongs including the one that has won competitions for black tea many times, which I call Championship Black.

Hehuan Black is made by someone who seems more comfortable with blacks than oolong since his father won oolong competitions for 20 years before dropping out of them to judge them. The Alishan Black is made by someone who tried to produce a medium oxidized unroasted oolong last year which turned out with a fairly wide array of flavors that were a bit too weak for the tea to be considered good enough. (Finding an excellent, unroasted oolong that is 50 - 70 % oxidized has proven to be a challenge.)

I prepare these teas using water that is around 96C (+ or - a couple of degrees), i.e. water a little cooler than the commonly used "full boil", as I might with highly oxidized oolong. Perhaps that is related to the leaves used, I don't know.
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debunix
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Thu Jan 02, 2020 2:33 pm

Interesting that they're using oolong cultivars.

It would be so interesting if one could taste the same leaves, harvested at the same time from the same plants, but processed for white, green, green/light roast oolong, traditional roast oolong, and black teas: an academic exercise insofar as no one grower/processor would be expert in all processing techniques, but still, wouldn't it be fun to try?
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