Tea From Taiwan’s Hua Gang

Origin: Hua Gang area, Li Shan, Taichung County, Taiwan
Harvest: April 2015
Cultivar: Chin Shin (Green Heart)
Elevation: 2400m

I decided to start the day with this tea; I have been feeling a little off now that spring has started so please excuse my brevity. Tea From Taiwan describes this as:
This premium-quality oolong tea is grown in the Li Shan mountain range at an altitude of 2400 meters. The climate of these high mountains is ideal for growing fine oolong tea. The cool air and high humidity produce a tea with full, robust flavor and long-lasting aftertaste.
The brewed tea has an exquisite aroma and brews to an appealing amber liquor. The leaves can can be re-brewed many times while maintaining a full flavor.
Tea grown on Mount Li (Li Shan or Pear Mountain) is the most prized oolong tea in Taiwan. It is ideally suited for gong fu style brewing.
Which is a somewhat poor description for this tea, while I do think it does a good job giving a brief overview of LiShan teas, it seems kind of generic which is a shame since this tea is anything, but generic.

Dry Leaves: This is quite a stem-y tea. At first I was a little put off by the uniqueness of the tea, but there is something aesthetically pleasing about the inconsistency. For some reason quite a few of the stems remind me of canes or crab legs.  Nevertheless the leaves are mostly blue, although there is some green in there and a bit of yellow mostly in the stems.

First Steeping
Temperature: 190oF
Brewing Time: One Minute
Aroma: Honeysuckle and Butter
Flavor: Floral and Spicy
Tasting Notes: This is quite interesting. Immediately I noticed the thick buttery mouthfeel as well as a butter aroma (a friend described it as buttered popcorn, but I would not go that far). Otherwise it has the typical floral tastes common in Taiwanese oolongs, but the honeysuckle aroma was a little strange, not bad, but not something I encounter often in Taiwanese oolongs.

There was something about this tea that I felt would do better using hotter water to brew so I did decided to go up ten degrees and while I do not feel I was wrong, I do think this benefits from shorter infusions, perhaps in intervals of thirty or fifteen seconds. My intuition tells me I brewed this too long and I lost out on some nuance. Sadly I did not notice realize the errors of my ways until after I used up the entirety of my sample.

Second Steeping
Temperature: 200oF
Brewing Time: Two Minutes
Aroma: Honeysuckle
Flavor: Spicy Cinnamon, Vegetal and Floral
Tasting Notes: Wow! It’s like it took a sudden turn into the dangerous part of town. The comfortable floral notes are starting to wane and some herbaceous notes suddenly appeared. And the spicy taste from the previous infusion has become like a spicy cinnamon.

I rather enjoyed this infusion; as much as I love green floral oolongs I do like the occasional vegetal/herbaceous ones. I feel that I do not often encounter a lot of vegetal Taiwanese Oolongs and that is a shame, I can see why they are not for everyone, but I wish they were more common.

Third Steeping
Temperature: Boiling
Brewing Time: Three Minutes
Aroma: Green Beans and Honey
Flavor: Spicy Cinnamon, Vegetal and Ginger
Tasting Notes: Floral notes are completely gone instead there are some new green bean-esque aromas as well as honey. The tastes are pretty similar although the floral notes disappeared pretty suddenly, I did not expect them to weaken so fast.

While I do feel that I missed out on some of the nuances of this tea I did quite I enjoy it, I’m going to have to order at least 75 grams in my next order. I am not in love with this tea, but I would not say no to it. There is something comfortable about it, even though the easy to love floral notes disappear. Regardless Tea From Taiwan is currently selling this Hua Gang at $31 for 75 grams and is worth checking out if you are into herbaceous Taiwanese oolongs.


Just a guy who likes tea.