Greetings in the New Year of the Ox!
As we enter the Chinese lunar new year, Black Dragon Teas is happy to announce the return of an old favorite selection that has become an elusive tea to source in recent years. This is Taiwan Oolong tea that has been cultivated and produced in Northern Thailand by the Chinese KMT who are politically affiliated with Taiwan. We first sourced this tea ten years ago, and for years consecutively enjoyed the variety of selections produced by one farm where three strains of Taiwan Oolong are grown. After a series of loopholes to jump through, we finally have a substantial stock of the strain that has consistently been the best –
Ruan Zhe Oolong.
With considerable poetic license, we translate this tea as Velvet Palate. This is due to the almost buttery texture and fragrant aftertaste that is embodied in these leaves. This season’s harvest brews a light green tea with a fragrant lingering aftertaste. The flavor consists of that original oolong artichoke/vegetal base with a flowery nose and light viscous texture. It is a delicate brew, and when brewing gong fu style – must be paid attention to in order to find the proper balance of substantial flavor without becoming bitter by over-brewing. Tossed in a large mug and filled with near-boiling temperature water, the leaves brew a nice cup of green tea with that extra oolong complexity and composition.
These tea plants grow interspersed with lychee trees in one of the highest elevation areas in Thailand. At about 1000 meters, it just meets the standard of high mountain tea in Taiwan. The difference in climate, however, produces a leaf that is perhaps closer to its original roots in Yunnan, China. This farmer stopped using chemical fertilizers and pesticides on his plants many years ago – as a consequence of discovering the benefit of a certain aphid-like insect’s effect on the tea produced. This is the same phenomenon discovered in the making of the prized Oriental Beauty in Taiwan. It is a relatively small farm that is in its prime age of production. And without use of chemicals and proper care, it may only get better – as its ancestors in Yunnan have with age.
With each shipment of tea we receive, there are always a number of bags that lose their vacuum seal as they are airmailed from the other side of the globe. The vacuum seal is effective in keeping the tea fresh for many months or even years. The leaves are not affected initially however, and for most customers who will open their tea upon receiving it, there is no significant difference. So we offer these unsealed bags at a discount while they last. This offer is only available to those who read this newsletter! We invite you to click here and order this very affordable tea that we are excited about being able to offer once again.
May the New Year bring health and fortune to us all.