Da Yu Ling Oolong is extremely rare and is seldom found outside Taiwan. It comes from one of the highest tea growing areas in the world, in the Li Shan (Pear Mountain) region of Taiwan’s Central Mountain Range. Due to the high altitude (2400 meters) and cool weather, there are only two harvests a year, one in the winter (October) and one in the spring (May). To qualify as a Da Yu Ling oolong the tea has be grown in the region located between 92 and 114 kilometers from Provincial Highway No. 8. This may sound strange at first, but that is how the two different tea growing areas are categorized on Li Shan: Teas grown north of the boundary Mulan Bridge, where the water source is the Bilv river, are Da Yu Ling. Tea grown below 92 kilometers from the provincial highway is known as Li Shan oolong. Here the water source is Hehuan Creek.
The Taiwanese government is currently operating a policy to curb high mountain agriculture. To protect the structure of the soil they are taking back tea gardens and replacing them with forests. This policy, along with the limited amount of tea produced at high altitudes anyway, makes Da Yu Ling oolong scarcer than ever. We were extremely lucky to secure 3 kg of this tea in 2021, which along with a purchase from one other buyer, exhausted the garden’s entire spring tea production that year. We were unable to get the same tea from the 2022 harvest.
Lightly oxidized, this Da Yu Ling oolong was made with the cultivar Qing Xin. The tightly rolled dry leaves are dark green and smell like beautiful spring blossom. The fresh pale yellow infusion has light peach and citrus notes which linger long in the mouth.
Floral, fragrant and sweet, this tea is a dream come true for oolong connoisseurs, enjoy it while you can!
While this tea can of course be prepared “western style” in a teapot using ca. 6 g tea for 500 ml of water and making 1 – 4 infusions of 2 – 3 minutes each, we strongly recommend Da Yu Ling be brewed gong fu style so that you can fully appreciate how the tightly rolled leaves unfold to reveal their beautiful scent and complex flavour notes. If you do this, use the same amount of tea (ca. 6 g) for 120 ml of water, make a first infusion of 15 – 20 seconds, then add 5 seconds for each subsequent infusion. This should allow you to make approximately 5 – 6 infusions during which you will experience how the aroma and flavours develop with each steeping.