Lishan "Pear Mountain" 2018


梨山乌龙 2018

May 2018

Lishan, Taiwan

Lishan is not a mountain, but rather a name for a collection of ancient forests in the Central Mountains of Taiwan. The area is very remote and sits at a high elevation. The only road that accesses Lishan, the Central Transit Highway, wasn’t built until 1960.

Until recently, during the era of Japanese occupation, Lishan has been the territory of the indigenous Atayal people. After the completion of the Central Transit Highway, military veterans developed agriculture and tourism in Lishan, and planted vegetables and fruits. The pears that grow in Lishan have become particularly famous. We can speculate that this is how Lishan got its name; “Li” means pear, and “shan” means mountain. The direct translation of “Lishan” is Pear Mountain.

It takes a longer time for tea trees to mature and germinate at higher altitudes, where there are more dramatic temperature shifts and more fog. On account of this, the substances in tea are naturally more abundant at higher elevations, and the amount of theophylline – the compound that causes bitterness – is relatively lower. Thus, tea from high elevation alpine areas has a delicate aroma and a smooth, dense mouthfeel.The tea is recognized by its clear, honey-green liquor and a distinct, "cold” minerality.

In the late 1980s and 90s farming of tea in the high mountains became more popular: the boom originated in Dongding Mountain, continued through to the higher elevations at Shanlinxi, Alishan, Lishan, until reaching Dayuling, at over 8500 ft above sea level. The Lishan area, at higher than 6,500 ft elevation, is the most well-known representative for Taiwanese high elevation oolongs.

This Lishan oolong is from the spring harvest of 2018, and we have aged it for 4 years. It is oxidized lightly, and medium-roasted over charcoal. The quality and complexity of the tea is apparent right away: it draws saliva from under the tongue quickly, leaving a lasting sensation in the mouth. It has a fine texture that carries intriguing lemongrass and perfumy pandan notes. The liquor is oily, and still so clear and refreshing – it is fascinating to taste an oolong without the impressions made on it from a heavier roasting process. There is an austerity to this high mountain tea; it opens slowly and offers something very impressive at its fullest expression.

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Brewing guide

Tea 4 g
Water 120 ml
Steep time 10 - 60 sec
No. of infusions 10



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