There are many key factors that make up the attributes of a top quality high mountain oolong. Amongst them is the terroir, the weather and the district but more importantly is the passion, devotion and skill required by the people crafting the tea. Meet the Chang family. Second generation tea producers of artisanal high mountain oolong have been creating prestigious works of art for more than 30 years. Their magical tea garden is located amongst the misty peaks of ShanLinXi in an area known as Dragon Phoenix Gorge or LongFengXia and represents the highest quality of that region.
Over the years the tea standards in Taiwan have rapidly improved. The tea farmers, continuously raising the bar and driven by perfection, pushed higher and higher into elevations of mineral rich fertile soils and seas of cloud and mist which also naturally irrigate the plants. It is here in these mountainous regions that the tea was cultivated to perfection, providing ideal conditions for unavailing it's legendary elegance. Using organic farming methods, it took the family four years before they could reap their first harvest. The first year was extremely labour intensive and involved clearing the forest and carving the immaculate terraces into the steep slopes. Once the landscape was prepared, they then planted the seeds which required three years of affectionately cultivating the plants before they were able to harvest.
The Chang family have a deep, sincere connection with the landscape. From seed, the plants have been nurtured, cultivated and considered as their own children. Driven by emotion and having this connection, they intuitively know when the plants need organic fertilising and how to craft them under the different micro climatic conditions. The unique love, passion and sincerity they apply when masterfully creating their works of art, can be felt when consumed and is what I believe makes the Chang family's tea so special. By far their tea is the best I have had the pleasure of appreciating and I would compare it to a classical lady; elegant, beautiful, balanced with complexity and subtleness. "It's all about the fine details, the feeling" replied Mr Chang when asked about the most crucial aspects in process. To be in touch with Mother Nature, the terroir, the soul, the character and heartbeat of the mountain, allows him to unlock the magic in their tea. With that said, I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Chang family from the bottom of my heart, for allowing me into their lives and introducing me into the legendary world of artisan high mountain oolong.