Forever Spring Medium Roast
Si Ji Chun Taiwanese Oolong
Zhushan, Nantou County, Taiwan
Natural cultivation (organic practices, but not certified)
This enticing high mountain Taiwanese oolong is primarily characterized by a medium-level roast. As soon as you smell the dry leaves, that warm toasty character greets you. Upon steeping, the leaves also offer up a light vanilla aroma, reminiscent of warm cookies. The fresh green flavour typical of these high mountain oolongs is still noticable under the the roast, making for a beautifully balanced tea. Try it side by side with the original Forever Spring.
Gongfu style: 80°C water, 4g tea to 100ml water. 1st steep: 20 seconds, then add 5 seconds each subsequent steep.
Western style: 80°C water, 1-2g tea to 100ml water (this is approx. 1 tablespoon for a large mug). 1st steep: 2 minutes, then add 30 seconds for each subsequent steep.
Meet the grower:
Forever Spring Medium Roast is grown by Yen Hwai Li in Zhushan, located in central Nantou. Nantou County is the heart of Taiwan's tea production. It is home to famous origins like Alishan, Dong Ding, and Shan Lin Xi. There are less famous areas, like Zhushan, which nonetheless produce excellent tea in the right conditions.
The garden is situated in a humid, low-elevation area, which attracts pests and insects. While it is challenging to use organic methods here, Yen Hwai Li is committed to organic cultivation. Li also uses micro-organisms to revitalize the soil, bringing biodiversity and healthy soils to the garden.
The tea is crafted by Ai Fang of jhentea. jhentea is a family business of teamakers and tea growers. It is led by female teamasters Fu Chen and Ai Fang. Fu Chen is a 3rd generation teamaster, making Ai Fang the 4th generation of her family. Both of them craft tea with a deep passion and humility for the tea leaves.
Their tea heritage dates back to 1850, as their ancestors crafted tea in Fujian, China. It started with their great-great-grandfather, Hon Chen, who was a famous Fujian teamaster. He crafted oolong tea in Anxi, famous for Anxi Tieguanyin. After the Communist Party took over China, the Chen Family fled to Taiwan where they had already been establishing new tea gardens.
In Taiwan, they escaped deep into the mountains of Yilan County to escape the Japanese occupation. There, they created many tea gardens in the Wu Lao Ken river area which is now a protected government park. They also craft teas from many high mountain areas in Taiwan.