A tea that is expansive and light like spring, but which holds the potency of winter. This is a winter harvest high mountain oolong, Dayuling.
Dayuling is the original Taiwanese high mountain oolong, which grows at over 2,000 meters, and which may soon be a faint memory. Sadly, the Taiwanese government in indiscriminately wiping out the Dayuling and other very high altitude farms, with a narrow and uneducated enforcement of an old law regarding erosion. The original Dayuling farm is already gone. I suppose this is all the more reason to savor this special and historic oolong.
I’ve heard people say that Dayuling can be hard to read, and take brewing skill and perhaps a few attempts to fully open. However, I always find Dayuling delightful without exception. So I think that possibly both are true. A novice can delight in the taste of Dayuling, and a master can challenge their tea making skill.
This year’s Dayuling does not taste like others I’ve had in the past. In fact it is quite unique, compared to other high mountain oolongs. I find the two aspects that are really prominent and intriguing are a creamy or milkiness and a spiced quality.
Reading your tea leaves
One way that you can actually see that this is an excellent quality tea, is by looking at the leaves themselves, after you’ve brewed your tea. In general the leaves are strong to the touch and mostly intact. You can also look to see which leaves were chosen. In this tea, there are many buds giving a delicate and precise flavor and energy experience, while added leaves contributes to a rounding out of those elements.
The winter crop, where the trees have a harder time growing are considered to be more energetic and full of qi. The idea is similar to eating a small turnip or a big turnip (the small being very potent). So this potent winter tea, with it’s light and ephemeral quality, is the perfect tea for this time. This time is characterized by the of rising of yang. Though there may be snow on the ground, roots are strengthening and insects awakening, as the days lengthen towards equinox.
This tea definitely lends itself to having some time and space to enjoy it. If you like the practice of gong fu cha, tasting the changes through multiple steeps, this tea will surely delight. If you ever feel like you would like some pointers in that regard, please reach out and we can chat about gongfu cha.