13 December 2008

What is wrong with Taiwan's tea this season?

I've had some Baozhong (1st, 2nd and Honorable mention - one crop of winners among many) and some Alishan from this season.  The award-winning Baozhongs taste light and clean - like the winners from past seasons - but not quite as full-bodied and round.  The Alishans I've tried lack the body, fragrance and aroma that I've had from the same producer in the past.  It tasted more like a Four Seasons varietal - flatter and greener than I expected.


I spoke with some producers of Four Seasons, Lishan and Tieguanyin in Taiwan and they all told me that the weather has been too warm and a bit too wet to produce outstanding tea.  In one of the emails I received from a tea farmer friend in Muzha, she described the season as typical of "暖冬" or warm winter.  I haven't gotten all of the details about what the particular characteristics of a warm winter are, but I'll write more about it in a few weeks when I sit down with the producers.

So for now, all I can say is that the teas I've had fall short of my hope for an outstanding taste like I've had several seasons ago, but I've got hope that there could be some great stuff out there. A friend whose family produces award-winning Lishan tea had them express-mail some samples that should arrive shortly.  I'm crossing my fingers that this may be something good!


  1. I agree and confirm your findings about this winter's oolongs.
    My strategy to find good ones: 1. Taste the highest peaks (the higher, the colder),
    2. taste the late winter harvests: end of November or even December, when the weather turned cold.
    Every batch is different and so it's not 100% fail safe, but I select nice Oolongs and Baozhongs this way.

    Thanks for adding my blog to your list (I hope this time my comment will come through) and happy New Year!

  2. Hi Stephane, really good to hear from you. I got into Taipei 3 days ago and had some good stuff last night. I'll be here for a few weeks and would love to sit down for a pot of tea with you and to chat if you have time. I have some Korean teas and Anxi TGY samples that I just got last night that I'd be happy to share, as well as some aged and deep roasted TGY that I quite enjoy.

    BTW, I've tried several of your teas, including an aged Dong Ding, and found it to be quite nice. I appreciate your integrity in sourcing and selling quality products, which is why I enjoy reading your blog.

    Xinnian Kuaile!

  3. Please send me an e-mail and we'll try to find a time.

  4. Please send me an e-mail and we'll try to find a time.