Taiwan Hong Shui Oolong
Other names: Hung Shui Oolong
This is an interesting oolong from Lugu village, Nantou County in Taiwan. Hong Shui is traditional medium oxidised charcoal roasted tea made from the Chin Xing cultivar (see also Alishan Chin Xing Oolong).
Like many high-grade Taiwanese oolongs, the leaves are delicately hand-plucked (one bud and two to three leaves) and processed in the traditional fashion. What makes this tea different to our other Taiwanese oolongs is that Hong Shui is charcoal roasted using fruitwood. This conveys a caramelised sweetness to the leaves, as well as removing some of the bitterness and enhancing the flavour of the tea.
Some describe Hung Shui Oolong as a "marriage between the styles of Anxi Tie Guan Yin (light oxidation with roasting from light to heavy) and Wuyi Yencha (high oxidation, roasting varying from light to heavy)." This particular Hong Shui is well-roasted, and has an unforgettable aroma and taste.
Spring / May 2016
Roasted flavour with notes of chocolate, nutmeg and fruits (plum), and strong sweet aftertaste.
Additional information: The process of roasting requires an experienced tea master. It takes about one and a half days to build the charcoal fire, then about two hours to roast the leaves in a bamboo basket. Once it has the desired nose and look, the leaves are removed from the basket and left to rest for a few months before enduring a second roasting. It is believed this laborious roasting step lets Hong Shui have a longer shelf life. (Note: There is no standard processing formula for charcoal roasted tea, and it is based on the experience and feeling of the tea master.)