Amazing teas deserve great set ups. Here, for my testing of my newest winter red tea from the Hua Lien region, I use my red Cha Bu featuring Nikosan's Tasting in the wind. (Nikosan is a talented young French artist who draws his inspiration from tea and Asia). Since I'm using a white gaiwan, I thought his painting was a great fit!
Origin: East Coast of Taiwan, south of Hua Lien.
Harvested by hand on October 27, 2010
Tea cultivar: Da Yeh Oolong
Processed as a red tea.
Competition tasting: 3 grams for 6 minutes.
The dry fragrances indicate that the leaves were dried with a light/medium roast. Rich, dark and fruity scents. In the warm gaiwan, I notice the smell of blackcurrant and honey.
What makes this tea special is that it is grown similarly as Oriental Beauty. Farmers don't use pesticides in order to attract small green leaf eaters (Jacobiasca formosana Paoli).
These crickets are more active in summer than late October, though. This is also a reason why the red fruit fragrances in this tea aren't as concentrated as in my previous summer batches.
However, this winter harvest provides a particularly mellow and sweet taste. These big leaves are not cut to pieces. This is why they release much less astringency than other red teas.
Its long aftertaste brings a lot of warm energy to the body. Its a wonderful companion for the winter season. And it will be a good match with Christmas cookies!
The brew has a shiny dark orange color and very good clarity.
The open leaves are mostly whole. The red color indicates the full oxidation of these leaves.
It feels like a warm sun over a snowy mountain...