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Spring 2020 Certified Organic Mingjian (Taiwan) Tieguanyin (50g)

Spring 2020 Certified Organic Mingjian (Taiwan) Tieguanyin (50g)

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18th December, 2020

This tea was grown in Mingjian Township, Nantou, Taiwan, on one of the oldest running organic tea farms in Taiwan. This farm switched to organic cultivation in the 80s after the farmer's wife almost had a miscarriage because of pesticide exposure! 

While not produced with hongxin tieguanyin (the heirloom cultivar), this tea is processed to bring out similar character to tieguanyin, and it definitely shows in the cup. This farm is best known for growing CuiYu at lower altitude. This tieguanyin-style tea proves you don't need to grow tea high up (or use synthetic agrochemicals) to produce good tea. I am very impressed by this tea, and I'm looking forward to trying more of their offerings in 2021.

This tea was vacuum sealed without oxygen absorbers. The dry leaf arrives quite flat, but after getting some humid air into the bag, the tea rebounded nicely. This tea should age well at its roast level, and the flavor is nice and robust even though no chemical fertilizer was used to produce it. This tea even has astonishingly good longevity.

This farm is certified organic by the government of Taiwan and by an organic farming organization right here in Hong Kong. This is very good, clean tea, and I'm very happy to offer it up!

I tested this tea in a 105ml Chaozhou porcelain gaiwan. After dropping the leaves into the pre-warmed gaiwan, I got aromatics of barley malt and osmanthus. The liquor has a pleasing, light sweetness. The osmanthus and malt dominate in the cup in the first infusion, but there is also an interesting agarwood note here that I always welcome in oolongs. I also get some cantaloupe and honey after the tea cools.

There is absolutely no astringency in the liquor in the first infusion (which was one minute long). The tea also have a lovely calming effect that increased in amplitude through the session: once it wore off, I realized this tea was no slouch as far as caffeine content! This farm has definitely worked out how to feed their plants' roots correctly without having to resort to chemical fertilizer.

The second infusion (again, one minute long) presented me with balanced sweet and sourness, which I associate with classic Anxi tieguanyin. The huigan is remarkably longlasting. The flavor of this tea also reminds me of good quality Anxi tieguanyin: both my Middle Way and Silver Grade Tieguanyins came to mind. This tea has a lovely complexity and depth to it that is appealing and also unique from the Anxi offerings. There is even a hint of mineral in the aftertaste, which to me, indicates these plants' roots were fed well. The agarwood was more prominent in the aftertaste in the second infusion, and some chenpi notes even became apparent. The chenpi and mineral notes definitely made me think of yancha, but the combination of the two is common in good quality Anxi tieguanyin as well.

In the third infusion, I got a blend of tropical fruits in the cup, which again, reminds me of good Anxi tieguanyin. I definitely was not expecting an organic oolong from Nantou to remind me so much of better quality Anxi tieguanyins, so this was a total surprise for me. This tea has its own character for sure, however, so if you enjoy tieguanyin, this is definitely something special and I highly recommend trying it. 

The fourth infusion (the third and fourth were two minutes long) presented me with citrus, cantaloupe and agarwood. The mineral was very faint by the fourth infusion. I couldnt drink anymore tea after the fifth infusion, and the leaves still had more to give, so this tea is definitely no slouch in the longevity department!

This is an excellent tea (even if we don't take the organic cultivation involved into account), and one I wholeheartedly recommend to the tieguanyin aficionado. 

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