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2022 Bai Hao Oolong

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A real treat: from the same producers of our Baozhong, The Bai family of Pinglin also specialize on their take on the classic Taiwanese style of 白毫 Bái Háo, also known as 东方美人 Dōng Fāng Měi Rén or Oriental Beauty Oolong.  This famous bug-bitten tea is a fragrant, bud-heavy, unroasted, and mostly oxidized Oolong yielding rich, layered, and evolving brews throughout the gongfu session.  The oxidation level is lower than a red tea (typically at about 90%), described at around 60% by the Bai family.

This Oolong style typically hails from its birthplace Hsinchu county, on the western coast on the north end of the island and achieved fame nearly one hundred years ago as a surprisingly exceptionally tea despite the damage done to the plants by the common tea crop pest the Tea Jassid, a small green leafhopper.  Nowadays, producers of Bai Hao don't spray pesticides on their gardens to intentionally attract this late-spring-to-summer pest, knowing that the early oxidation process and release of a special terpene by the plant will produce a distinct 蜜香 mì xiāng or honey fragrance when nibbled on.  Indeed, other variations on this style are called Honey Oolong (another new offering this year by the Yungs of Shan Lin Xi).  It is thought that this phytochemical reaction and release serves to attract natural predators to the jassid such as spiders.

The Bai family crafted their Bai Hao oolong from 青心 qīng xīn cultivar shrubs, harvested at 400 meters on June 5th on their land they've been farming since the late 1950s.  They make exceptional, competition-winning tea, and this is their highest grade offering of Bai Hao.

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Typical leaf damage done by the green leafhopper Jacobiasca formosana. The jassid can wreak massive havoc, reducing tea crop yields by 15-50%

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referred to as 浮塵子 Fúchénzǐ ("floating dust"), these leafhoppers are only 3-5mm in length (the size of the whites of your fingernail bed) yet are often mistakenly referred to as unrelated cicadas, which reach up to 15x that size.

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