Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Taiwan’s Shan Lin Xi Oolong

We visited the Shan Lin Xi tea producing area in Taiwan in early June. Shan Lin Xi is located at an elevation of 1,600 meters. It is close to the Dong Ding mountain area, known for classic Dong Ding oolong tea. Shan Lin Xi oolong is considered a high mountain tea (“gao shan cha”) and is grown in a pristine forest reserve amidst cedar and bamboo trees.

High mountain teas are particularly prized in Taiwan for their aroma and flavor. The environmental conditions are ideal for growing high-quality tea. The cool climate and abundant fog allow the tea plants to grow more slowly, producing a tea with a distinctive aroma and sweetness.

We met with the Lin family of Phoenix Village and spent a few enjoyable hours tasting their Shan Lin Xi teas. The Lins own their own tea farm, use organic farming methods to cultivate their tea plants, hand pick the leaves and process them in the traditional style. Here Mrs. Lin prepares Shan Lin Xi oolong tea in the gong-fu style:

After much sampling, we selected a batch of Shan Lin Xi tea with a light aroma of flowers and bamboo. The flavor is crisp and sweet with a slight astringency that is refreshing and palate cleansing. The Lins kindly took time to escort us on a short tour of their tea farm. Here are some pictures from our tea farm visit:

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