Zhuqi Township, Chiayi County 604, Taiwan (R.O.C.)
Driving along Provincial Highway 18, you will pass through some lush bamboo forests and be able to inhale the fresh aroma floating from the Alishan Tea Plantations located on the roadside. Alishan Oolong Tea is the perfect introduction to Taiwan's acclaimed high mountain oolongs. Grown in the lofty heights of between 1,000 and 2,000 meters, the tea is famous for its outstanding aroma and flavor, boasting fresh notes of spring flowers. As Alishan tends to be wet and cold all year round, it happens to provide the perfect conditions for tea production. The fluctuations in temperature between day and night result in tea trees growing at a slow rate, accumulating more flavor. Their leaves turn out to be surprisingly soft and make some very fragrant tea that will lift your mood and stimulate your senses with every sip. The soothing and invigorating Alishan Oolong Tea is no doubt an everyday must, whether as a perfect first drink of the day or as a lovely afternoon treat.
High mountain oolong is picked between April and May as well as between August and September, whose harvest season is later than that of green tea. This allows the leaves to grow large and strong enough to be rolled during the tea processing. Besides, the oil in these tea leaves also gives it a texture that contributes to the buttery taste lingering at the back of the throat. The tea making process involves numerous steps, and wilting is the first stage in the process of tea production right after plucking. During this stage, which prepares the leaves for further processing, excess water is removed from the tea leaves, by either putting the leaves under the sun or by leaving the leaves in a cool breezy room. Later, the leaves are bruised or torn in order to promote and quicken oxidation. When a light level of oxidation is required, the tea master will shake or toss tea leaves in a bamboo tray. When more extensive bruising is required, kneading, rolling, tearing, and crushing is performed. The whole process is a very strenuous one and will take up to two days without interruption.