About High Mountain Oolong Tea (Gaoshan Cha 高山茶)
I started drinking green tea from a young age, initially as an alternative to wine but later for its sublime and uplifting flavours not to mention its great health benefits.
I have tried a large variety of tea and it is the High Mountain tea that took my passion to another level. High Mountain tea refers to Oolong tea that is grown in the alpine tea zones of Taiwan (mountains above 1000 meters), an area recognized to produce some of the finest Oolong tea in the world. Thus it is not surprising that Oolong tea is the most popular type of tea in Taiwan.
For this same reason to find quality High Mountain Oolong tea is rather difficult due to the strong demand both from within Taiwan and from overseas market. The steep mountain terrains and small labour-intensive farms means the harvest is always limited. This is compounded by the many types of Oolong tea now available on the market, be it online or from local tea retailers, all with similar claims of authenticity and origin. One needs to spend time to wade through details, many eastern names and terms, and hopefully acquire a good Oolong tea that will not disappoint.
Or, if you are simply looking for a genuine, flavoursome, affordable, top-grade High Mountain Oolong tea, one that is personally tried, tasted and enjoyed everyday by a fellow Oolong tea lover, one that is obtained from a reputable farm in Taiwan and comes with all its associated health benefits, then you have come to the right place!
Green and Black, Turning Back the Clock
Oolong (or Wulong which literally means "Black Dragon") is prized among tea lovers for the difficulty of creating the tea.
In the oxidation spectrum, Oolong
teas are more
oxidized than green but less so than black teas.
Thus Oolong tea
strikes the balance between green and black, containing the flavor
benefits of both but more importantly the optimal blend of catechins
(from green tea) and theaflavins
and thearubigins (from black
combination of powerful antioxidants that is unique to Oolong teas.
These natural antioxidants are the
single best defence against free
radicals in our body which are the main cause of aging.
Hence Oolong tea is increasingly winning acclaim as the optimal tea for boosting the body's antioxidants and therefore turning back the clock!
In short, High Mountain Oolong Tea:
- Grown in the Alpine regions (over
1000 meters above sea level) and lightly fermented, it has an uplifting
floral freshness to the flavour, light and aromatic, with a smooth
- Planted in the misty mountainside,
it contains higher levels of L-theanine,
an amino-acid that reduces
anxiety and promotes relaxation to the brain.
- It is less astringent compared to
black tea (does not taste bitter) and thus can be enjoyed all day long.
- Has all the health benefits of green tea and black tea e.g. high antioxidants, promotes digestion, helps complexion, slows aging and calms the senses.
Finding Genuine High Mountain Oolong Tea
After much research and having experimented with different teas on the market (unfortunately many "fakes" as well), I have arrived at the following criteria for identifying high grade High Mountain tea:
- Genuine High Mountain tea leaves,
not blended or mixed in with lower grade leaves.
- Sourced from a reputable
farm in Taiwan, has the right altitude (above 1,000 meters) and uses organic
fertilisers at the very least. It is not mass produced
but grown and cultivated in small family farms with a passion for tea.
- Retains the light, aromatic and
fruity flavor with repeated infusion without turning bitter.
- Full blossoming tea leaves,
handpicked at the tip where the young tea leave is just ripe to produce
the unique flavour.
Top grade teas are much sought after
and they rarely make it to the shops. Government officials and large
corporations buy out most of the finest teas before they even leave the
What do arrive at the distributors or
retailers are the
lower grade teas, tea dust or tea leaves that are mixed or blended (a common practice) to increase
profit, which is disappointing for an Oolong tea lover such as myself.
This was an obstacle I had to
overcome, and with a bit of determination
and good affinity I was able to establish direct relationship with trusted tea
plantations in Taiwan, Alishan.
High Mountain Oolong tea is one of its kind. Its unique flavours and fragrant scent draws the senses to "be here now" and creates a tea-mind-body connection. It is the perfect company for those seeking mental calmness and spiritual clarity. Of course its bio-chemical benefits are well researched and published widely.
My hope is that more people will be able to benefit from my hard learned experience and will be able to enjoy the richness and goodness that this amazing tea brings. What I offer you is the same tea I drink everyday, premium grade Oolongs from Taiwan Alishan. I don't buy (or sell) the cheaper varieties from China or Vietnam.