In principal, you can process any tea plant species’ leaves to a near-indefinite variety of teas: you can process them as a green tea, a black tea, or an Oolong tea... Still, with time a processing standard has evolved for most or all known tea plant varieties... However, for some tea plant varieties there isn’t just one standard, but several alternative ways to produce different teas of equal desirability have emerged instead... Our Taiwan Jin Xuan Oolong tea cultivar No. 12 is a perfect example for this... I have come to know it alternatively as an Oolong tea, as a black tea, and as a “winter tea”... Taste and aroma of the Jin Xuan Oolong tea... we have the grassy elements, reminiscences of green tea... we have the earthy base notes that are so typical for Oolong teas... we do have some sweetness, too... another description I have often used to describe Jin Xuan Oolong tea: a most “honest” one among those “fine” Oolong teas... READ MORE
... personally rather a fan of pure Camellia Sinensis tea and its numerous green, Oolong and black tea variations... belittle the thousands of existing „tea“ blends with their notedly imaginative names with an attitude that might be not too far away from arrogance... herbs native to Thailand, such as Jiaogulan, Safflower, Mulberry leaves, Roselle Hibiscus or Chrysanthemums all have their surely justified place in traditional Chinese medicine... engaged myself in the degustation of Roselle Hibiscus infusions, my first thought was “Summer Ice Tea”, and the second thought that came to me was “this would surely taste great mixed with black tea”... What is left of the Black Pearls is the wonderful „median”, sweet range of tastes that is typical with the enjoyment of this tea in its pure form... “Siam Summer Dream”... Roselle Hibiscus, reminiscent of dog rose and lemon... The resulting tea beverage is refreshing and invigorates the human senses, making it a perfect iced refreshment drink for hot summer days... or as a pleasant hot tea beverage at any time of the day... READ MORE
Recognizing the potential of the local tea industry, the Taiwanese government in the beginning of the 20th century decided to purposefully promote the development of Oolong tea varieties, and in 1926 established the Tea Research Institute of Taiwan. The institute’s work in the 1970s culminated in the setup and operation of a range of experimental stations, so-called “Taiwan Tea Experiment Stations” (TTES), where a series of Oolong tea cultivars were developed in a targeted manner on the basis of the institute’s scientific research results... Now, what does all that have to to with us and our teas from North Thailand? Simply spoken, Thailand owes the rise of its tea industry and its arduously conquered entry on the world map of tea for a good part to the above described Taiwanese efforts of developing Oolong tea cultivars with defined characteristics and requirement profiles... This way, a number of cultivars one after the other finally made it to North Thailand, where they have been successfully cultivated, and where they meanwhile have developed their own northern Thai profile. Typical representatives of these cultivars in north Thailand are Jin Xuan Oolong No. 12, Ruan Zhi Oolong No. 17 and 4 Seasons Si Ji Chun Oolong tea. READ MORE
The actual roots of the tea cultivation in north Thailand are located on the Doi Tung mountain, more precisely in the middle of the 1990's in the local offshoot of the Thai Royal Development Projects... I was looking at an extended weekend, where I would be able to take the time for a journey to the Doi Tung, in order to follow the tracks of tea cultivation in north Thailand to their very beginnings... The Tourist Attractions of Doi Tung... The Royal Villa Doi Tung... Mae Fah Luang Flower Garden... Hall of Inspiration... Doi Tung Hilltribe Bazar... The teas gardens of Doi Tung... there are even virtually "forested" tea gardens, where the tea plants grow in the (half) shade of a treetop cover... They won't allow it to, it is these fresh tips they want to harvest, process and savor in particular. A proper hand picking of only and exclusively such tips yields the teas qualities that nowadays, given the flood of machine-harvested mass teas, are often referred to as "boutique tea"... READ MORE
The following video shows "the becoming" of our Oolong No.12 Jin Xuan, together with the Oolong No.17 Ruan Zhi the major trademark of tea cultivation and production in Northern Thailand. Both hybrids originate from Taiwan's Lishan Highlands, from where they were brought to the mountains of North Thailand for cultivation in 1994. The effort has definitely been worth it, as our little film clearly demonstrates. Principally, three main categories of tea processing can be differentiated: the processing to • Green tea (not fermented) • Oolong tea (part-fermented) • Black tea (fully fermented) Two more (sub-) categories can be added to the above-mentioned classification • White tea (very light fermented) • Pu Errh tea (post-fermented) In the following description, we take orientation on the conditions at our producer partners in Doi Mae Salong, North Thailand. READ MORE...