|Oolong teas have an amazing variety of flavors and aromas, some bright and
bold, others soft and flowery, while still others are creamy, light, and citrusy.
The best oolongs undoubtedly come from China and Taiwan, and some of the
most delicious are their high mountain gao shan oolongs, like Taiwan’s Ali Shan
(also called Ali Mountain) oolong.
|Taiwan’s high mountain oolongs
were developed in the 1980’s after the world
trade embargo against Communist China was
Taiwanese tea makers had done well
No one seems to know exactly why this is, but the
|duced sunlight and a continual mist, with the same “cloud and mist” phenomena as is found in
China’s Wuyi Mountains, restricts the growth, concentrating the flavor in the leaves.The abundant cloud cover and misty conditions might also cause
certain amino acids to increase, giving gao shan teas their creamy
body, with the feel of heavy cream coating the mouth.
The Alishan Mountains in southern Chiayi county are home to Ali
Growing in one of Taiwan’s highest mountain ranges located in the northern half of the island, Li
Gold Lily oolong (also called Jin Xuan for the
The pluck for oolong
Called “handkerchief teas” for the small batch size, these teas are grown (and produced) by
Producing high mountain gao shan oolong teas is hard work. Processing
oolongs take between
jasmine, and geranium. While
flavor of the tea.Next comes an exercise in perfection originated in China’s
|The sphere-shaped canvas bags are then slid between two spring-loaded, rotating disks.
The forceful turning action of this machine causes the leaves to ball up on themselves.
This process also initiates oxidation by bruising the leaves.To slow the oxidation the bags are removed from between the disks after just a few minutes, uncinched and opened,
and the leaves are placed in a large rotating drum that looks like a clothes dryer without the heating element. The
rotating of the drum cools and dries the tea leaves.
The end result are firm little balls of tea about the size of peas, completely dry and oxidized to
scents, tasting like no other tea with creamy, mouth filling
terroir, with the soil’s mineral content, cool, misty mountain air, and other natural and geo-
Because of the steep terrain making harvesting difficult, along with the lengthy, arduous process-