History of high mountain proccessing


Owes its flavors to oxidation levels between green & black tea.

History of high mountain proccessing

Postby bonescwa » May 9th, '14, 12:51

From what I've read, I get the impression that Taiwanese high mountain teas haven't always been so green and unroasted, which is now the norm. I am wondering if this is true, and if so, how long has this been the case? If anyone has suggestions for resources online or books, I would appreciate it. I would ideally like a history of taiwanese tea in general, if something like that exists. It seems that there is much more information around about Chinese tea.
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Re: History of high mountain proccessing

Postby Poseidon » May 9th, '14, 13:35

I really enjoyed this article from TeaDB. James is pretty knowledgeable about tea and seems to really enjoy everything about tea. Check it out!

http://teadb.org/downward-trend-dark-taiwanese-oolong/


Also, http://www.marshaln.com/2012/06/changing-tastes/
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Re: History of high mountain proccessing

Postby 茶藝-TeaArt08 » May 9th, '14, 13:53

Amongst many sources, I can perhaps post more later, the #13 Chayi/茶藝 Art of Tea magazine also devotes a number of well-written articles to this topic. You can pick it up pretty readily since the back issues are generally in demand. Camellia Sinensis is one source for buying the magazine (http://camellia-sinensis.com/en/teaware/books).

Just back from a month in Taiwan visiting family, farms, teaware artisans, tea shops, and tea teachers, this topic is still widely discussed and ruminated over with concern. Taiwan has so much more to offer than the standard sampling of green wulongs, though the green wulongs are good too.

Blessings!
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Re: History of high mountain proccessing

Postby hop_goblin » May 9th, '14, 17:07

Nice resources! Thanks for sharing all.
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Re: History of high mountain proccessing

Postby debunix » May 9th, '14, 20:14

茶藝-TeaArt08 wrote:Taiwan has so much more to offer than the standard sampling of green wulongs, though the green wulongs are good too.


So true! About 2 years ago Greg Clancy got in quite a variety of oolongs, blacks, greens, and white teas from Taiwan, and all those I tried were excellent and some that seemed to cross boundaries--processed partly like oolongs and partly like green or white teas--were among the best. To my sorrow, they apparently did not sell well enough for him to continue offering them, and I haven't found another source for similar teas since.
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Re: History of high mountain proccessing

Postby Bok » Aug 11th, '14, 01:58

I wonder if the change in roasting preferences could have something to do with storage? That in the old days roasted tea is more practical if you have no vacuum sealing available. So that in reverse the rise in less oxydized only made sense in recent times.

Just a thought…
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Re: History of high mountain proccessing

Postby kyarazen » Aug 13th, '14, 01:18

oxidation level of the tea is done according to season traditionally.

and that will also determine the amount of "roasting" required.

i dont think storage to be really a major issue. large quantities, good containers, fully packed to the brim, thats how sencha was stored in clay jars. there are also very well made traditional containers that can almost give an "airtight" seal.
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Re: History of high mountain proccessing

Postby Risdt » Aug 13th, '14, 02:24

The farmer I stayed with said that depending on the sunshine on the day of the harvest and processing determines how much the oxidation the tea can have. (I do have to say, we communicated through google translate since I do not speak Mandarin well). The problem with gaoshan was not enough sunshine, so if you want a gaoshan with higher oxidation you should transport the leaves to lower elevations for processing.

I met Chen HuangTan of E Shayan Tsun Co. in Taipei and he still makes very traditional Taiwanese tea. He released a new book and a big part about is on oxidation, too bad it is only published in Chinese.

As Kyarazen says it was traditionally done by season, it might be that during winter the teas had lower oxidation as the weather is colder (though winter seems to be more sunny in the mountains while spring has more rain).
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Re: History of high mountain proccessing

Postby chrl42 » Sep 9th, '14, 22:35

Poseidon wrote:I really enjoyed this article from TeaDB. James is pretty knowledgeable about tea and seems to really enjoy everything about tea. Check it out!

[url]http://teadb.org/downward-trend-dark-taiwanese-oolong/[/url

Awesome website. :D

Very good lecture on Taiwanese teas.
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Postby bonescwa » Sep 10th, '14, 03:08

Thanks for the responses!
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Re: History of high mountain proccessing

Postby ABx » Sep 29th, '14, 12:00

Bok wrote:I wonder if the change in roasting preferences could have something to do with storage? That in the old days roasted tea is more practical if you have no vacuum sealing available. So that in reverse the rise in less oxydized only made sense in recent times.

Just a thought…

Oxidation or roasting? Your phrasing makes it sound like the same thing.

Regardless, one thing to keep in mind is that the majority of China drinks green tea. So as tea producers started exporting tea to different areas, they started making more of the greener varieties, because that's what they can sell the most of. Of course there are other factors as well, but that's a big one. Roasted teas are more popular within Taiwan.

Keep in mind, also, that the Taiwanese wulong we know started during the Japanese occupation (they invested lots of money into bringing wulong production to Taiwan, bringing plants and people in from Wuyi). I don't know a lot about the history of storage technology, but it was probably less of a concern than what you might have in mind.
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Postby bonescwa » Sep 29th, '14, 18:40

I think I read somewhere that the competition circuit in Taiwan has a very high influence on processing. The judges lately have been favoring extremely high amounts of aroma to the detriment of body and taste. I was just curious if there was a cause as to this newer development. The vacuum theory makes sense, it has the potential to store the high levels of aroma better than previous methods. I just wish the balancing act would come back to reality, with equal weights given to aroma, taste, and body. It seems to be a zero sum game.
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Re: History of high mountain proccessing

Postby chrl42 » Oct 1st, '14, 06:54

Bok wrote:I wonder if the change in roasting preferences could have something to do with storage? That in the old days roasted tea is more practical if you have no vacuum sealing available. So that in reverse the rise in less oxydized only made sense in recent times.

Just a thought…

I'd give a vote (cos I do not know the truth).

It's not air tight or not, it's time..back then it wasn't like the very first spring teas were on the market on the late-March. Spring-picked teas, when they were delivered out of Jiangnan (Jiangsu-Zhejiang area), they were already losing freshness.

That's how Szechuanese and Beijingers liked to add flowers into it, that was to overcome the 'quality'.

Cantonese and Fukianese's preference towards oxidized teas have to do with their local humid weather..like they initiated aging Puerh and so.

I saw teadb.org also mentioned that,

peace.
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Re: History of high mountain proccessing

Postby kyarazen » Oct 1st, '14, 10:56

Bok wrote:I wonder if the change in roasting preferences could have something to do with storage? That in the old days roasted tea is more practical if you have no vacuum sealing available. So that in reverse the rise in less oxydized only made sense in recent times.

Just a thought…


from the horses mouth, there is a malaysian tea merchant that had been importing TKY into this region for the past century or so, their ancestor in anxi, fujian had large tea plantations. this year he went back home and asked his cousin/nephew to make a traditional batch of TKY, something that had not been made for years. although its not perfect, the merchant said that they didnt make traditional TKY anymore because of the "green movement" and new styles of TKY that are catching on with popularity since the chinese drink quite a large amount of green teas. people brewing in traditional chaozhou or anxi methods are getting less common.

greener and new generation TKY can be completed in 1 day, traditional TKY takes 3 days or slightly longer due to the charcoal roasting. nobody wants to do the tedious oxidation and roasting work anymore. electrical roasting is many times used in replacement of charcoal, its faster, the tea dries out very quickly, the taste will differ too. the merchant does re-roast his teas electrically annually.

roasting does
1) removes moisture from the tea which can be detrimental to the tea in storage. this is unlike pu-erh where straight after compression and shade drying the water content is more than 10%, TKY, Yancha is best pushed down to 3-4%

2) break down of bitter polyphenols, the tea becomes smoother the more roasted it is. rebaking of tea before brewing does help break down bitter polyphenols a little to widen the margin for error when brewing gongfu style.

3) roasting changes the aroma, and decreases the florals. so lower quality teas, lighter oxidation teas, do not take to re-roasting or long roasting very well. the over-roasted version is a black type of "charcoal colored" oolong tea that is purported in recent years to be good for health. black oil oolong or something they call that..

4) this implies that if a farmer picks way too much leaf or pushes his plants too hard to meet yields, if the leaf is not aromatic enough it could be risky to make a higher oxidation, higher roast type of tea.

5) the higher the roast, the gentler on the stomach. greeny lush light oxidation, low roast dancongs is not traditionally recommended for long term regular consumption. the chao zhou diet is filled with lots of oil, lard, and "toxic" proteins, i.e. crabs, shrimps etc, low roast, low oxidation dancong is consumed by chaozhou people as it helps them "detox".

just a summary of observations so far on this subject.
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Re: History of high mountain proccessing

Postby kyarazen » Oct 1st, '14, 11:00

on the air tight storage issue, it had never been that much of a problem if one takes a peek into tea containers of the 60s, 70s, 80s. many of the tin, pewter containers are so well made, with an additional insert in them, so if they are filled to the brim with tea.. it can store extremely well.
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