Owes its flavors to oxidation levels between green & black tea.
Shan Lin Xi, spring harvest. Now I'm not 100% sure if I have the season right, but whatever it was, it was good. I'm surprised SC hasn't posted on this thread!
Tead Off wrote:brunogm wrote:wyardley wrote: I'd rather have a good tea from any area / season, though I do tend to prefer things with a bit more oxidation and a bit fruitier taste.
It looks like we have similar tastes. Not geographically based.
Personally, I found two solutions, one expensive and one cheap.
Expensive/Oxydation = aged oolongs
I suspect it is more about roasting than oxydation, but anyway, whether it is roast or oxydation, those teas look and taste less green.
An aged Alishan and an aged Dayuling are among my two favorite teas ever.
But given the price, I will not drink them every day.
Cheap/fruitier = Thailand
I am finding the newer varietals like #12 (Jin Xuan) or #17 (Bai Lu) or even #13 (Cui Yu) are fruitier.
My solution is to buy them from Doi Mae Salong in Thailand. So it is not Taiwan but Thailand. But they are the same cultivars, absolutely great, and much cheaper than the Taiwanese grown ones.
Those are cheap enough that I have no qualms about drinking them every day.
For me, the best gao shan are not roasted but green. The fruitiness and aroma is all there in the leaf and the oxidation process will bring it forth. There is nothing wrong with the roasted teas, but like dancong teas, the best ones are not roasted or highly oxidized.
Unfortunately, I do not share your enthusiasm for Thai oolongs and I have never had one that I would compare to a good Taiwanese gao shan. It's true that the plants are Taiwanese cultivars but the soil, growing conditions, and even the processing are not going to match Taiwanese production. If you enjoy them, great. They are certainly cheaper.
I will be up in Mae Salong in 10 days and also crossing over to Takhilek in Burma to see if there is any Puerh being offered in the market.
I have just returned from Mae Salong and points north. I drank several oolongs at various places and by various growers. In general, I found most of the teas very unsatisfying, however, I found 2 teas that were good enough to buy, one of them quite exceptional for Thailand.
The first tea seller you come to while driving to Mae Salong is Tea 101. I wound up buying their Four Seasons oolong. 200g/$15. I thought this was expensive! Further down the road and into the village, there was a family selling their teas. No name. They produced a #17 which they had in both green and roasted versions. I tasted both and chose the green. I was shocked at how good it was. It had a huigan that would not quit. 200g/$6.66. The family was originally from Yunnan. The mother was born in Myanmar, the father from Yunnan. The uncle was the teamaster and born in Yunnan. Lovely family with the daughter speaking very good English. I should have bought a kilo of this stuff but didn't have room in my bag due to weight limits on the flight.
We moved down the road and had lunch at a Yunnanese restaurant. Roasted mushrooms, tea salad, and a delicious soup.
No wild tea trees here. This is one of the bigger farms.
- Mae Salong tea farm.jpg (91.56 KiB) Viewed 616 times
brunogm wrote:Is Dong Ding a stricto sensu Gao Shan Cha?
Looking at a map, it is cultivated to the West of Shan Lin Xi, in what seems to be lower elevations and not located on the mountain range.
You're right! Dong Ding is an area of lower elevation. Their style of charcoal firing was a marketing ploy to make their teas unique and different; and it worked!
Nowadays, you're able to get Dong Ding style Gao Shan Cha. But authentic Dong Ding only comes from Dong Ding - much like Pu-Erh only comes from Yunnan or bourbon only comes from Kentucky.