Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Shan Lin Xi Oolong Tea 杉林溪茶

Shan Lin Xi Oolong Tea 杉林溪茶
Both of these Shan Lin Xi Oolongs were hand picked and hand crafted, in the Shan Lin Xi mountain range. Shan Lin Xi is in Zhushan township of Nantou county. Oolong tea has been grown in Shan Lin Xi for the past 50 years, but it was only since 1981 that the area's oolong tea production increased to meet an ever growing national demand. All of the tea grown in this area is "Qing Xing" Oolong, the most sought after varietal for high mountain oolong. These High Mountain Oolong Teas were grown at about 5,900 feet (1800 meters). The quality of the tea cannot be graded on the altitude alone. Other factors such as tea type, area of growth, production and crafts person's skill all contribute to these tea's amazing substance and aroma.
These Shan Lin Xi Oolongs were produced by a small family farm. This farm is the home of a master tea craftsman who has produced "special winning" Oolong in the past. The area is a beautiful array of cedar forests and running brooks in the area that enhance the environment for tea production. The temperate climate is cool. The sun shows for only a very brief time throughout the day. Fog coats the hills and fields of tea the rest of the time. These conditions ensure that the tea will grow slowly, struggling for life, and eventually produce a heartier plant with leaves that are robust, thick, and soft, which inevitably results in a more elevated tea experience.
In Taiwan, Taiwanese oolong is almost always made in a small gong fu tea pot or a guy wan. This is especially true when brewing a tea of considerable value such as these Shan Lin Xi Oolongs. Suggested water temp is around 194 degrees Fahrenheit. Tea should fill the kung fu tea device to 1/3 full of tea for a strong brew of tea and 1/4th full for a moderate strength. Brew the tea for 45 seconds and pour out for drinking. Repeat for eight to ten infusions.
Recommended brew device: White Guy wan or an unglazed clay teapot fired at extremely high temperature so that the clay can sustain a very thin wall.

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