Tung Ting 'Twelve Trees' Oolong
Few Taiwanese teas command the same degree of respect around the world as Tung Ting (Twelve Tree) oolongs.
Over its century-long history, Tung Ting has developed into one of Taiwan's two signature teas. These two teas are locally known as Jie Mei Cha (Sister Teas). The second sister is Wen Shan Bao Jong from northern Taiwan. Tung Ting Mountain is located in the middle of the single largest tea-producing region in Taiwan, Nantou County. Responsible for over 40 percent of the island's tea production, Nantou's unique terrain and climate is perfectly suited for oolongs.
According to local folklore, the origin of Tung Ting oolong began in 1855. A villager named Ling Fong Tse went to the renowned Wu Yi Mountains in Fujian Province, China, and came back with 36 tea trees of the ching-shing varietal. He gave 12 of these trees as a gift to a tea farmer friend, Ling San Yen, who had helped finance his trip. These 12 trees were subsequently planted along the mountain roads surrounding the beautiful Chi-Ling Lake near the town of Luku and the rest, as they say, is history.
In honor of Ling Fong Tse and Ling San Yen, we have named our tea Twelve Trees Oolong. It is completely handcrafted. After oxidizing and initially firing these leaves, the farmer then spent four additional days shaping and finishing the leaves. The process includes tsai-rou (repeat rolling/kneading), tsai-pei (repeat firing), and ding-shing (shaping). With an oxidation level of approximately 35 percent, this tea is categorized as a light, medium-oxidized tea.
As you enjoy Twelve Trees, take note of the following:
The dry leaves: A rich dark green, locally described as wa-ching (toad green). Refreshing brown sugary scent.
The steeped leaves: A much more intense nut and caramel sweetness.
The liquor: Rich, pure golden yellow, with crisp, complex full-bodied flavors -- again nutty and sweet.
The finish: Smooth, no astringency with lingering walnut notes.
The empty cup, after enjoying the tea: The most amazing sweetness you've ever smelled from an empty cup!
This tea also works exceptionally well with the Kung Fu method of preparation.