As I sit here observing the tea leaves gradually unfurl in the teapot, I think of how ancient poets and sages drank tea as a mean of inspiration, meditation and re-creation. It reminds me of the harmony and oneness with nature that they enjoyed. When the first sip of tea touches my tongue, I realise I wasn't just drinking tea. I experience an inner connection with the tea as my senses renew and I awaken to everything around me. I feel the aroma and flavour of Mother Earth steep into my soul as I escape into a moment of blissful contentment. With each sip of this elixir of life, I experience a moment of eternity. This is the amazing quality of High Mountain Tea.
My tea journey started from a young age, initially as an alternative to wine but later for its sublime and calming flavours not to mention its great health benefits. I have tried a large variety of tea and it is the High Mountain Tea that took my passion to another level. High Mountain Tea refers to Oolong tea that is grown in the alpine tea zones of Taiwan (mountains above 1,000 meters), an area recognized to produce some of the finest Oolong tea in the world.
High Mountain Oolong tea (or High Mountain Tea for short) was cultivated in Taiwan from Oolong tea brought over from mainland China during the late seventeenth century. Over time, tea farmers in Taiwan's mountainous central highlands have meticulously cultivated this special variety of tea to produce what many connoisseurs of Chinese tea today regard to be the finest tea on earth. It is not surprising that this variety of Oolong tea is the most consumed tea in Taiwan.
Daniel Reid, the master of Zen tea, describes High Mountain Tea: A semi-oxidised tea that retains all the nutritional value and natural healing properties contained in unoxidised green tea, but without the raw grassy taste and the harsh impact on the stomach. The brief oxidation transform the raw elements of green tea and creates a floral bouquet of fragrance and flavour that distinguishes High Mountain Oolong from all other varieties of tea. The cultivation and appreciation of High Mountain Oolong tea is somewhat similar to fine wine, with each plantation and each mountain producing its own unique bouquet of flavours, and each year's harvest yielding its own special character.
Tea lovers drink High Mountain Tea not just for its great health benefits, blending the virtues of green tea and black tea into one, but more so for its soothing, floral and sometimes fruity aroma, coupled with its unique tastes that is both relaxing and uplifting at the same time. The steep mountain terrains and small labour-intensive farms mean the harvest is always small. For these reasons to find quality High Mountain Tea is difficult especially with the strong demand from within Taiwan itself.
The many types of Oolong tea now flooding the market also makes selection difficult. One needs to wade through many eastern names, unfamiliar terms, and hopefully acquire a genuine High Mountain Tea that will not disappoint.
Oolong (or Wulong which literally means "Black Dragon") is prized among tea lovers for the difficulty of creating the tea.
In the oxidation spectrum, Oolong teas are more oxidized than green but less so than black teas. Thus Oolong tea strikes the balance between green and black, containing the flavor benefits of both but more importantly the optimal blend of catechins (from green tea) and theaflavins and thearubigins (from black teas), a combination of powerful antioxidants that is unique to Oolong teas.
These natural antioxidants are the single best defence against free radicals in our body which are the main cause of ageing.
Hence Oolong tea is increasingly winning acclaim as the optimal tea for boosting the body's antioxidants and therefore turning back the clock!
High Mountain Tea in summary:
After much research and having experimented with different teas on the market (including many "fakes" as well), I arrived at the following conclusions for identifying premium grade High Mountain Tea:
Top grade teas are much sought after and they rarely make it to the shops. Government officials and large corporations buy out most of the finest teas before they even leave the plantation.
What do arrive at the distributors or retailers are the lower grade teas, tea dust or tea leaves that are mixed or blended (a very common practice) to increase profit, which is disappointing for an Oolong tea lover such as myself.
This was an obstacle I had to overcome, and with a bit of determination and good affinity I was able to establish direct relationships with trusted tea plantations in Taiwan, Alishan.
High Mountain Tea is one of its kind. Its unique flavours and fragrant scent draws the senses to "be here now" and creates a tea-mind-body connection. It is the perfect company for those seeking mental calmness and spiritual clarity. Its bio-chemical benefits are well researched and published widely.
My hope is that more people will be able to benefit from my hard learned experience and will be able to enjoy the richness and goodness that this amazing tea brings. What I offer is the same tea I drink everyday, premium grade yet affordable High Mountain Tea from Taiwan, Alishan.
Thank you for reading and do enjoy your tea!