$23.00 – $63.00
Precious, lush forested surroundings of the 頂湖 Dinghu area in Ali Shan give way to just a handful of tidy qing xin cultivar hectares at a cool, mossy, misty 1660 meters in elevation. A chance connection forged originally by receiving insider recommendations from folks in the organic fertilizer industry, you can read more about the fated encounter with the Zhan family of Dinghu during our very successful spring 2023 Taiwan trip here.
Succulent and sweet — fruity, even — the charming and approachable character of Ali Shan is well-aspected through the unique combination of variables Mr. Zhan’s tea presents: some of the highest elevations in the greater Ali Shan area, exceptionally clean and diverse ecological conditions, as well as special processing designed with the tea’s natural characteristics in mind (an approach absent from most high mountain oolong productions). This tea is finished with a light electrical roasting, yielding a malty caramely nuttiness on the nose, strong cooling vegetal cacao notes with a brackish umami hint around the edges.
Despite ten hours divided into two days worth of various super-low temperature roasting, the impact on this Maillard reaction-inducing finish only lightly modifies the flavor of the tea, not so much the color of the liquor. Mr. Zhan intentionally only lightly oxidizes teas (to just 15-20%) that will experience this short roasting to keep the final delivery on the greener side of the spectrum, adding a little extra biscuity buoyancy + fragrances of some of the highest pitches not always found in the world of finer high mountain oolong.
Most of Mr. Zhan’s clients are old school tea drinkers that have been loyal to the family for decades, since his father's time. We feel very privileged to access his teas and continue working with this family in the future.