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Ali Shan High Mountain Oolong (Dinghu)


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 spring 2023 Taiwan trip here.

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the high elevation forests of Dinghu, surrounding the Zhan tea gardens

Succulent, sweet, and fruity, 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.  Whereas last year's Ali Shan featured a brief high heat roast to finish out the tea, this year we much prefer Mr. Zhan's standard highest grade high mountain oolong with no finishing roast, as its naturally pronounced fruit-forward, bold character needs no adjustment.

Though Mr. Zhan has excellent resources and skills, he doesn't put his high mountain oolongs in competitions.  He maintains a classic processing style that has slowly evolved over the years to better accentuate the specific materials he works with.  This approach gives to us an Ali Shan style dialed into its assignment, yet refreshingly distinct from the modern competition iterations.  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.

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