Li Shan (Pear Mountain) is located in Taiwan’s central mountain range in Taichung County. The region got its name from the many pear orchards that were the main agricultural crop in the region for many years. The high altitude and subtropical location in the region provide ideal conditions for growing tea. Additionally, the plants benefit from the fertile, mineral rich soil left behind by the fruit orchards.
Some tea on Li Shan is grown on the former summer estate of former President Chiang Kai Shek – Fu Shou Shan Farm (Lucky Life Mountain Farm). It was Chiang Kai Shek who encouraged fruit farmers to experiment with growing tea in the mountains, and what is left of his legacy can be explored at his former residence on the farm. Teas from this part of Li Shan are sometimes also referred to therefore as Fushou Shan oolong or “the President’s tea”.
Li Shan oolongs are highly acclaimed around the world. This lightly oxidized tea was made from the cultivar Qing Xin. The tea plants grow at an altitude of 2400 meters, where there are only two harvests a year. This wonderful example of a Qing Xin oolong from Li Shan is fresh and fragrant, but at the same time has a nice buttery feel in the mouth. The taste is smooth and creamy, with hints of honeydew melon, pears and even hazelnuts.
While this tea can of course be prepared “western style” in a teapot using ca. 6g tea for 500ml of water and making 1 – 4 infusions of 2 – 3 minutes each, we strongly recommend trying it 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. 6g) for 120ml 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.