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DIGEST | Taiwan Sourcing '24

2024 Sourcing trip has concluded on bountiful high marks as expected! We met new passionate tea makers who shared their stories. We visited longtime working partners to dial in on our needs and catchup on the year. There were jokes, impromptu meals, too many steepings of tea and lots of car rides as usual. This year, we wanted to expand our tea roster to bring you varieties that are less mainstream. We also brought in styles that fit the aroma profiles according to your favorites. Not only did the Bounty Box encapsulate highlights from our trip (minus the earthquakes), but it also served as a short preview of what's to come throughout the coming year. We are very excited to share all of them wtih you! Less words, more tea - here’s a peek into our 2024 sourcing box.

Pomelo Baozhong Tea
Mt. Ali Tea
Yellow Tea
Dragon Well Tea
Roasted Wuyi Tea
Vintage Green Tea
Pomelo Baozhong Tea
Mt. Ali Tea
Yellow Tea
Dragon Well Tea
Roasted Wuyi Tea
Vintage Green Tea

Formosa Dragon Well

臺式龍井綠茶, Sanxia, New Taipei City.
Taiwanese Dragon Well Tea Leaves Vintage Tea Canisters

“Drink this green tea, your eyes will light up!” says the tea maker. The bright grass notes and rich mung bean aroma hit the palate head-on. Brewed on the stronger side, it can be drunk like an espresso. Sanxia in New Taipei City is the only region that makes Dragon Well in Taiwan, a style of green tea originating from Hangzhou, China. About six kilos are made every spring, only with handpicked young shoots, for a sweet and vibrant brew.

Mount A-Li #20

阿里山迎香烏龍, Alishan, Chiayi.
rolled oolong tea in bamboo
High mountain taiwan
mountains in taiwan

Mount Ali, or Ali Shan, is a mountain famous for nurturing classic high-elevation green oolong. This batch is extra special because it’s made with a less familiar variety (TRES #20), a distant relative of milk oolong, only released as an official seed-selected cultivar in 2004. Like her cousin, she is buttery in texture, rosy in perfume, and aromatic in ways of ripening fruit and maple sweetness. We suggest brewing it in multiple infusions on a relaxing summer morning.

Sanxia Yellow

三峽黃茶, Sanxia, New Taipei City.
Yellow tea leaves on top of bamboo yellow tea leaves and notes

You adored the yellow tea from our last bounty box, so we brought in another. Yellow tea was never a Taiwanese specialty, so consider this another experimental batch. Made by our Canyon Green producer, this version is quieter and more elegant compared to the wild yellow from last year. The bamboo-like sweetness pairs harmoniously with the malty grass note. We think it benefits from a slightly longer steep than your normal green tea to experience its depth of flavor.

Assorted Taiwanese tea with a wooden gift box on a table

Pomelo Baozhong

南港柚花包種, Nangang, Taipei.
Mountain and towels drying
three tea tasting taiwan
tea leaves open pomelo oolong

If you love Jasmine tea, this is your jam. We went to a tiny town east of Taipei looking for Baozhong and found a world of flower-scented tea. Scenting is done by physical contact – one layer fresh flower, one layer tea, fresh flower, tea, and so on. Osmanthus is a common choice for flower, but this tiny producer makes theirs with pomelo flowers fragrantly blooming by the family house. They made seven kilos total, and we got the remaining 900 grams. Pomelo only blooms in April, so they suggest we call ahead next year for more.

Wuyi Roast

焙香武夷, Sanxing, Yilan.
oolong tea making machine
oolong tea on bamboo tray
tea packaging taiwan

We felt the tea maker’s enthusiasm the minute he started talking about his teas. It’s like listening to a jazz fanatic talk about his record collection. “This one tastes like pineapples, and that one smells like peaches. And are you intrigued by white tea cakes?” Fruit varieties are his preferred adjectives, and some are actually spot-on. What piqued our interest was his roasted Wuyi. Aroma of orange rind and walnut lingers behind the toastiness. He roasts the tea with far-infrared technology, a method he is not willing to share in detail but claims is indispensable. Can you taste his nutty excitement?

Green '70 Vintage

老茶廠陳香綠茶, Emei, Hsinchu
hand holding dark cup of tea and tea leaves old bamboo tea trays

We think this tea was made in 1970. It was a bushel of a few hundred kilos discovered in an abandoned tea factory being dismantled for a real estate transaction. The northwest part of Taiwan produced a lot of green tea in the latter half of 1900, and from the look of this tea and the history of the factory, they suspected it was made into a green tea in 1970 – when Nixon was president. Some say it tastes like an old Puerh, but we were taken by its herbaceous and woodsy character that’s soft and tender. So here you go – a green tea made on the eve of Watergate.

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