Summer 2020 Ailao Oriental Beauty

Size

Medium oxidation, bug-bitten leaves from Qing Xin varietal

Excellent muscatel fragrance


The Qing Xin oolong varietal is used to make high mountain oolong in Spring and Autumn. Yet, processing the summer harvest in this style gives a poor result: the leaves are too coarse and weak in taste.

Fortunately, nature can help the tea farmers sometimes. In Summer, a tiny insect named Jacobiasca Formosana, a jassid, thrives among the tea bushes and bites the leaves. As a defensive mechanism, the puncture will turn red and the tea tree will produce different kinds of polyphenol. During processing, oxidation will occur quickly near the tiny holes and the leaves will release a special 'muscatel' fragrance, unique to bug-bitten teas.

In Summer 2020, a moderate amount of jassids visited the high altitude gardens. The randomness of the bitings explains the lack of uniformity when looking at the leaves.

 

Mr Huang, the producer of this tea, chose to keep the oxidation fairly low so that you can notice the extra redness brought by the bitings.

The fragrance is refined and fills the room. It is a tea for the nose, the mouthfeel is light, as one should expect for summer tea, but the drinking experience is surprisingly satisfying. It's a great to to brew in a mug, it is hard to overbrew and keeps delivering fragrance and warmth.

 

 

You can see this tea in action and learn more about the plantation in this youtube video: