Winter Sprout, from mountains of central Taiwan January 25 2015, 0 Comments
We traveled to San Francisco to see family in the beginning of this year and got to visit the very wonderful Song Tea & Ceramics store.
We have followed them on Instagram for a few months by then and was thrilled to be able finally see the store in person and meet Peter, the owner. Peter came from Red Blossom Company and had over a decade of experience in tea sourcing and buying. He very kindly welcomed us with a flight of tea tasting while patiently explaining each tea and why it was special. Sampling his beautiful collection was a real treat. We left feeling energized knowing someone is bringing such wonderful selection to the people of SF while feeling pretty excited about trying the varietals we brought home.
Winter Sprout was harvested in a tea garden high up in the mountains of Shan Lin Xi in Taiwan. It's is called Winter Sprout because the tea is made from tea buds that sprouted during a snap of warmth in the midst of Winter. The buds then matured very slowly under the harsh and cold weather, which intensified the vegetal sweetness of this varietal more than other high elevation oolongs produced in the same region.
Tasting notes -
Damped leaves | Aroma of fresh seaweed dusted with sugarcane. The wet leaves appear to be soft and thin, almost fragile.
Wash | Oceanic and grassy.
Taste | Potently aromatic. Notes of sugar plums, nutty almonds and brown butter are complimented with robust grassy undertone. Oceanic and vegetal in its (long) finish with a balanced tannin. A pleasure to let it linger on the palate.
The Song Tea & Ceramics' Shan Lin Xi Winter Sprout is a very special varietal. Even though it is barely oxidized and roasted, its multifaceted aroma was pronounced and firm. We were able to resteep this tea over 5 times and drank it at different temperature without losing presence of its key characteristics. Towards the last steeping, aroma of sweet sugar plums becomes even more expressive as the grassy tannin retreats. The tea transforms itself very gradually and steadily. It was certainly a fulfilling tasting experience. Next time when you stop by San Francisco, definitely pay Song a visit!
Assam red tea, from Sun Moon Lake in Taiwan January 11 2015, 0 Comments
Recently, we sampled a red (black) tea from the Assam varietal produced near the beautiful Sun Moon Lake in Nantou. This cultivar was recognized in 1973 by the Taiwan Tea Research and Extension Station as TRES #8, a more refined Taiwanese Assamica compared to its original version from India. The Japanese introduced this variety to Taiwanese soil during its occupation of the island, intended to establish Taiwan as a main producer and exporter of black tea. The production of this particular cultivar dramatically decreased after Japan left Taiwan in 1945. Today, small scale harvest of the TRES #8 red tea is mostly seen around the Sun Moon Lake region in Nantou.
We were given this sample of red tea by Philip from the Taiwan Tea Craft. Thank you Philip for the lovely gesture!