Ren'ai: TEA SUBSCRIPTION MARCH 2017
“Meanwhile, let us have a sip of tea. The afternoon glow is brightening the bamboos, the fountains are bubbling with delight, the soughing of the pines is heard in our kettle. Let us dream of evanescence and linger in the beautiful foolishness of things.”
― Kakuzō Okakura, The Book of Tea
March is a month of new beginnings, new life and the start of tea harvest season! We are discovering the relatively new tea farming region of Ren’ai Township, Nantou, Taiwan.
Ren’ai County is completely surrounded by mountains and situated at the heart of the island country. The average elevation is 1200 meters. It is home to three indigenous tribes (Atayal, Seediq and Bunun). The Musha Incident also happened in Ren’ai which is an uprising against the Japanese colonial government in 1930. Nowadays, the region is heavily in tea farming and a bit of vegetable farming. This high mountain tea region harvests 2-3 times a year with prime focus on April spring harvest and November winter harvest. The teas grow slowly due to the vast temperature differences and are protected by the mountain mists from harsh sun.
MEDIUM QINGJIN HIGH MOUNTAIN OOLONG 40 GRAMS
Mr. Chen and his family moved to Ren’ai to start their tea farming life in 1980s. Nowadays, the second generations run the family farms while Mr. Chen teaches them the ins and outs of tea making. Spring time in April is their busiest time as they make teas 24-7 as they are picked. Their land is rented from the local indigenous family. This tea in coffee terms is easy drinking with medium body. An everyday stable.
Tasting Notes: A 35% oxidized oolong with smooth nutty jasmine aromas, medium boldness and enjoyable umami sweet after taste. Breath through nose and release through mouth to enhance the tasting!
Brewing: 3 grams, 95C, 150ml, 3 brews, 1-5 minutes
Varietal: Qingxin oolong
Elevation: 1200 m
Date: 2016 Spring
NANTOU ORIENTAL BEAUTY 40 GRAMS
To call this tea an Oriental Beauty is not exactly correct as it is not a classic Oriental Beauty. This green grasshopper bitten tea is from a wild tea farm with medium oxidization. The difference is light roasting instead of medium roasting and a tight ball shape instead of the traditional loose form. Some people would call it Concubine Oolong.
Tasting Notes: This tea maintains the normal honey sweet notes. The slightly lighter roasting gives a bit more freshness and lighter liqueur colour. We love the tea for the natural mixture of floral notes that can only be obtained from wild farming.
Brewing: 3 grams, 90-95C, 150ml, 4 brews,
Varietal: Qingxin Oolong
Harvest: 2016 late Spring