For people in Taiwan, tea is not just a beverage. It becomes a part of life. In the tea garden at 2500 meters high, tea trees cover all over the mountain, as if you could smell tea’s aroma when standing in the garden. Every year’s spring and summer are the harvest time of its high mountain tea. When sunshine is the strongest in a day, the farmers will come and pick fresh tea leaves. This is the beginning of making oolong tea.
After picked, the fresh tea leaves will be taken to the manufacturer, and be spread evenly for withering. This procedure will release a lot of water.
The withering workers will sift the tea leaves based on their experiences. They classify the leaves into different grades. Good leaves will be remained, while low grade leaves will be removed. Then the leaves will be fixed at high temperature, rolled constantly, and dried.
After those procedures, the tight particle shape of Taiwan Da Yu Ling Oolong Tea is formed.
Taiwan High Mountain Tea
In Taiwan, the teas planted above 800 meters high can be called as High Mountain Tea. Main representative High Mountain tea includes Ali Shan Oolong Tea (altitude between 1000 meters to 1500 meters), Ali Shan LuZhu Tea, Shan Ling Xi Oolong (altitude at 1600 meters), Li Shan Oolong Tea (altitude over 2000 meters), and Da Yun Lin High Mountain Cha Wang Oolong Tea (altitude over 2500 meters).
Vertical Distribution of High Moutain Tea
Due to the cold, cloudy and short sunlight time, High Mountain tea is better in quality than teas grows in lower altitudes.
The Difference Between High Mountain Tea And Low Altitude Tea
Normally, in Taiwan tea trees grown at the altitude less than 800 meters are called as low altitude tea. It is different from high mountain tea on the geological features and climate. Taiwan is a mountainous island. The mountain area covers almost 2/3 of its total area. With high mountains in the middle of the land and low coast surrounded, the island has wild water and good drainage. Climate here is more complicate. Mountainous geography allows monsoon climate and high mountain climate existing at the same time. Li Shan Oolong Tea grows in the area over 2000 meters high. Yet as we know, temperature declines 6 degrees for each kilometer the altitude rises. Therefore, the climate on Lishan Mountain is cool all year round. Tea leaf grows slowly, and is soft with elegant aroma and obvious floral scent. Moreover, the unique geography feature forms distinctive nutritious substances in the tea, which is the quality that low altitude tea doesn’t have.
But there is a question: can this place produce top quality Taiwan Gao Leng tea? The answer is not certain. Under the high mountain and cold condition, processing Gao Leng tea will be extremely hard, which can be seen from its expensive price. But why? The making of high quality oolong tea requires good material as well as good weather. Chinese people believe that when the weather favors us, it is the best time for making oolong tea. Good sunlight is needed; meanwhile the process must be quick. Nevertheless, the unstable weather on high mountain couldn’t allow the workers to make tea always in the best condition. In bad weathers, the Gao Leng tea wouldn’t have high quality. No wonder why top teas are always expensive. The result of making high quality teas are limited by many factors. However, if you have a chance to taste it, you will think it values.
Origin Place - Nantou, Taichung, Hualien
The tea garden of Da Yu Ling Oolong Tea is located at the meeting-point of Nantou, Taichung, Hualien. It lies above the altitude of 2500 meters, is higher than normal oolong tea gardens. The oolong tea produced here has mellow taste and fragrant flavor. So this place is generally regarded as the best place for producing Taiwan high mountain tea.
Da Yu Ling Tea is welcomed by people because of gifts of nature. The climate on high mountains is cold and has large temperature difference, thus tea trees here grow slowly than usual, producing tender leaves and mellow teas. With the acid soil, the unique environment breeds this unique tea.
Fushoushan Farm surrounded by clouds
Qing Xin Oolong Tea Tree
Qing Xin Oolong tea tree is high quality specie, suitable for making Pouchong tea. The tree is bush. Leaf is oval, has thick mesophyll, and appears to be soft and smooth, slightly elastic. Its surface is glossy in deep green color. Buds have abundant pekoes, sprouting later than other species. The bud is green with light purple color.
The Tea Farmer
Mr. Lui Zhiqiang, is the sixth generation owner of his family tea business. He built the highest tea garden in Taiwan, which is on Fushou Mountain near Lishan Mountain. In 2006, Taiwan hosted the World Famous Tea Expo. Mr. Lui was one of the sponsors. He also founded the Taiwan Tea Roasting Technical Seminar. Besides of tea, he is also experienced in the firing skill of porcelain tea wares. Lui keeps a unique understanding of building a tea garden. He said that the key of building a tea garden is to make the environment, soil, weather be integrated with the tea. He also mentioned that water is the most powerful kind of material to memorize information. 80% content of fresh tea leaf is water. The water will carry the characteristics of soil and weather into the tea leaves. Then they can make delicious tea and sweet tea liquid.
When talked about picking fresh tea leaves, Mr. Lui said except being tender, the fresh leaf must be thick and fleshy, as well as in bright green color. This is the requirement of picking for making good High Mountain tea. Lui thinks that every business is competitive, except for tea. The speciality and high quality of Taiwan tea makes it unreplaceable. He said:” no matter what you do, tea business or others, you need to seek for the joy of the business. When talking about tea, talking about Fushou Mountain, talking about Da Yu Ling, I will feel joyful in my heart.”
Lui Zhiqiang and Angel Chen
About Da Yu Ling
Da Yu Ling (大禹岭), was formerly called as He Huan bealock. It lies near the point of 112.5 km of Central Cross-Island Highway, which is the highest point of the highway. When the highway was constructed at this place, the workers excavated the mountain by hands. Also they met rough problems in this rugged place. They had to conquer those difficulties which were as hard as King Yu tamed the flood (大禹治水). From then on, it was named as Da Yu Ling.
Q: Storing condition of this tea on zip bag say to keep it refrigerated. Can you confirm this and explain why? I am not used to keep my teas in fridge. Thanks. Posted on 9/4/16 by Aleksandar Saranac
Reply: Hi ,Aleksandar , Thanks for your question. There are five things which teas are vulnerable to: light, air, heat, moisture, and odor. You should store oolong tea in airtight, opaque packaging; in cool, dry place . It’s a good choice to keep it in fridge if you want to store it for more than one year. Please be noted that, Make sure the tea is sealed before you put it in a refrigerator,because it will expose your tea to moisture and odors from the other foods kept in the refrigerator. In order to avoid the water in the tea frozen , store your tea about 5℃ . Hope this is helpful to you