Friday, May 05, 2017

Alishan Spring 2017 Oolong Harvests

I have taken 2 trips to Alishan this spring. The first time was April 15th, before the harvests. The second time was on May 3rd, just as the last harvests were taking place. I'm starting the article with pictures from mid April. In a normal year, this should have been harvest time. However, this year's winter was rather late and cold. This has caused a delay in the growth of Oolong leaves.  
Some tea fields even suffered frost damage because of the late cold. In the above picture, you can see what it looks like: the buds that started to grow became black due to below freezing temperatures in this field. Therefore, fewer leaves were produced on each tree.
 And the growth of the leaves is rather uneven. In the above plantation we can see that some parts (with less sunshine) have barely grown any new leaves while the central part of the plantation already has some.
 The weather was a little foggy in mid April.
Actually, this was the very first day that this farmer was processing qingxin Oolong this season. There are 2 reasons why I chose to visit this farmer in particular. First, the insists on in-door withering the old-fashioned way, on round bamboo mats.
Second, the location of his Oolong plantations in ChangShuHu (Alishan) is very good. This is such a nice little tea village in the mountains!
And it is not on the main tourist road leading from the highway to Alishan's national park! Less traffic = more respect for the environment.
Spring's beauty starts in those mountain plantations.
 Below, I start to post my pictures from May 3rd. Can you see the harvesters in this plantation?
 They wear bright clothes that make them easy to spot from a distance.
We can see that the leaves have grown well in the span of 2 weeks. A fly isn't afraid to rest under a leaf. This confirms that no pesticides have been sprayed on these new leaves.
 Most of the plantations in ChangShuHu have been harvested, except the highest ones.
A group of 25 woman, mostly South East Asian wives of local Taiwanese farmers, are busy on three plantations that day.
This short video shows one energetic lady with a very fast technique:

You need the proper gear to harvest tea:

This picture shows that this harvester uses a little razor attached on their index, while her thumb is also protected.

Others wear gloves and a razor on the index. And they drink a lot of tea while they are working!
Thanks to them, the first spring 2017 Alishan Oolongs and Jinxuans are now available on

Let's enjoy the taste of the new mountain spring!

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