Shin-Fong is a small farm in Taitung that does a few very interesting teas. This particular tea is an example of that uniqueness. In our new direct trade tea series from Taiwan, we will be focusing on unique and special teas from throughout the country. Shin-fong is one of our core estates we found in our travels to be exemplary of hard work and good intentions. Many of their teas are grown organically with the intention of getting certified soon.
Known as Grandpa's Assam, this fully oxidized black tea is produced from a traditional Assam cultivar. The trees themselves were planted in 1965, having been abandoned at one time, they were then reclaimed to be grown and cared for with organic practices. The level of care and meticulousness in their farming shows in the pristine look of the trees themselves. At some parts of the Assam grove, the trees have been left to continue growing freely to act as wind breaks as can be seen in the first photo. The Assam picks are rolled paochong style which is not normal for an Assam. This tea however is full oxidized as a black tea which matches well with it's Assam varietal. This combination of factors makes the tea distinct in how it is ideally brewed over multiple steeps, as the tea will need time to open and release it's flavors.
Cup character consists of round caramel aromas that lead into taste notes of candied yam with hints of spice and winter melon. This tea is big bodied with refined tannins but can easily be over extracted due to it's unique processing method. It opens easily in later steeps and is reminiscent of a traditional sweet after a meal drink in that area of Taiwan which consists of sugar and cooked down winter melon.
We have a limited supply of this tea until next pick so move quickly if it sounds interesting.