Four season oolong is a low-oxidation tea from the island of Taiwan, which is produced from plantations in valleys where there is a stable climate, permanently tempered by rivers and vegetation. The name four season in itself is quite generic and without further information this tea could be associated with another product in our catalogue called ever spring but, as we often remember, the area of origin, cultivar and other characteristics always make a big difference to the final product. Unlike the ever spring, the four season is made from camellias of the Jin Xuan cultivar and its gardens of origin are located some 200 km further south than those of its counterpart. Finally, it must also be considered that the processing of the products, although similar, will certainly have its own peculiarities due to the experience of the master craftsman who intervenes throughout the production chain.
Apart from all these elements, the most important difference between the teas is, as always, the taste. The infusion from the four season oolong initially expresses itself on the palate with a vegetal flavour similar to that of some boiled herbs and then leaves a fresh oily sensation with a delicate floral aroma. In addition to these two predominant characters, a slightly creamier sweetness due to the slight oxidation of the product can also be perceived during tasting.
Place of origin
After harvesting, the leaves wither in the sun for a few hours before resting on bamboo trays under cover. From here, oxidation is initiated by a manual massage of the leaf by the master producer. Due to the low oxidation of this tea (about 20%), it takes only a short time before the tea moves on to the next stage where the leaves pass through a charcoal-heated oven to stop the enzymatic activity and fix the characteristics of the product. After this stage in the oven, the leaf is given its final shape by rolling it up by hand so that its aromas can be better preserved. The product is ready for consumption once it has completed its drying process, which allows it to keep its rolled shape.
How to prepare
We highly recommend infusing this tea in the traditional Chinese method (gong fu cha) to best enjoy these leaves. Following this preparation, 5 grams of leaves (about 3 teaspoons) can be used in a gaiwan of about 100 ml to obtain several infusions with different tastes. After a quick rinse of the leaves in water at 90°C, an initial infusion of 20 seconds can be made, after which, keeping the water at the same temperature, the time can be increased each time by 10 seconds compared to the previous infusion (20 – 30 – 40 …).
This tea has a longevity of about 6 infusions.
For a classic preparation according to the Western style we recommend 2 grams of leaves (approx. 1 teaspoon) in a 150 ml cup with water at 90°C for an infusion time of one and a half minutes.
If you would like to experiment with infusing this tea with different amounts of leaves try to think of a suitable amount to allow the leaf to expand freely into the liquid without being compressed or hindered in doing so. By doing so, you will make the most of this product without hindering the extraction of flavour substances.
The tea can be filtered for easier tasting and also the above brewing times are purely indicative so can be adjusted according to personal taste.
Store in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.