Si Ji Chun Four Seasons Oolong Tea
Four Seasons like Spring
What is actually the story behind the “4 Seasons”? A question that inevitable arises in every tea lover’s mind when first encountering 4-Seasons Oolong Tea, may this be in word and picture or in the cup, either in transient form, soon forgotten and arising anew only with the next encounter with this tea, or manifesting as a nagging knowledge gap that pushes for closure.
The Four Seasons Oolong cultivar, a still relatively young tea variety, is one of the best-known and most popular results of the Taiwan Oolong Tea Research and Development conducted in the second half of the 20th century. The project, initiated by the Taiwanese government in 1926 in form of the Tea Research Institute of Taiwan, and transformed into practice in the 1970s in form of a series of development stations, focused on the optimization of certain properties of some of Taiwan’s several hundreds of years old Oolong tea varieties. The central idea with the development of the Four Seasons Oolong Tea cultivar was to unite the special taste and aromatic characteristics of rare Taiwanese highland Oolongs with other desirable features such as comparably high climate- and altitude-indifference, as well as a high resistance towards pests. The goal was to be able to make greater available areas utilizable for the cultivation of high quality teas, to increase the yield by enabling the plants to produce several harvests per year, to avoid the necessity of pesticide use, as well as a generally high and consistent tea quality.
And this is how the 4-Seasons-Oolong got its name: Si Ji Chun in English translates to “four seasons like spring”, and means that Four Seasons Oolong tea can be harvested 4 times a year on a quality level equal to that of the spring season, while the year’s first harvest is generally considered as the best one for the typical teas of this region, and subsequent harvests are usually characterized by a quality decline.
The basic idea is obvious: the higher yield will earn the grower / producer a higher return, cushion the impact of the factor “rareness” in the pricing for Taiwan’s top Oolong teas and thereby make the same affordable for a broader basis of tea lovers worldwide . Moreover, whether originally intended or not, Taiwan this way managed to make its tea cultivars an export product, an option that Thailand should make use of starting from the 1980s in the context of the Thai Royal Development Project, in a bid to identify suitable cash crops to replace the illegal opium poppy cultivation in the country’s mountainous north.
While some of the Oolong tea cultivars originally developed in Taiwan soon fell into oblivion again, others, among these the Si Ji Chung Four Seasons Oolong, managed to establish their names in the list of Taiwan’s top Oolong teas. No surprise: Si Ji Chun 4-Seasons Oolong tea is an absolutely unique tea! There is simply not other Oolong tea, whose taste is even somewhat close to that of the Si Ji Chung Four Seasons Oolong in terms of taste, while the potential of 4-Seasons Oolong tea, with up to 10 infusions and more (using the Chinese Gong Fu Cha method) further contributes to establishing this tea among the Taiwan’s, and thereby Thailand’s top Oolong teas.
In terms of taste, the Si Ji Chun Four Seasons Oolong, by standard processed to an only lightly fermented, rather still near green Oolong tea, is a rather hard to describe tea, because its unique aromatic profile, depending on dosage, water temperature, and infusion period / number of infusions, shows an extremely variable bandwidth. While with a rather moderate dosage and a water temperature around 80°C for the first three (tendentiously short: 1 ½; 1; 2 min) infusions, the 4-Seasons Oolong is characterized by dominantly floral, partially grass-/weed-like taste notes, which from the 4th infusion on are complemented by creamy-buttery taste components, the tea develops quickly a certain astringency with higher dosages and hotter water temperatures. When preparing Four Seasons Oolong, most passionate friends of this tea will be keen to allow this astringency to a certain point, and quasi “cultivate” it, because they particularly value the way these dominant floral aromas unwind, differentiate and intensify in it, and on the tongue combine with “earth” and a light bitter-sweetness to, what ultimately defines the difference to a green tea and highlights the typical character of lightly oxidized Formosa Oolong teas. The typical ethereal aftertaste, reminding on essential oils, is perceived as extremely pleasant and remains lingering for hours in both mouth and throat. However, our DMS Si Ji Chun 4-Seasons Oolong tea’s most astounding and somehow baffling characteristic is the taste and aroma potential it offers, and which often makes just one tea pot load to an evening-filling event with an arguably endless series of infusions, whose exact number from some point nobody cares counting anymore.
If you like to try Si Ji Chun Four Seasons Oolong tea yourself once, simply click on the link below: