Up until recently, tea hadn't received the same artisanal enthusiasm as, say, coffee or chocolate, but new tea shops, tea service at high-end restaurants, and innovative tea brands are helping consumers see the product in a whole new light. Case in point: matcha's recent moment, when everyone was completely obsessed with the finely ground green tea. Now, we're putting our money on oolong as the next tea revelation.
Nicholas Palumbo and Simon Thomas of Dachi Tea met while studying at the same Chinese language school in Taipei, and quickly bonded over their mutual appreciation of Taiwan's prized oolong teas. The duo ended up traveling the tea-growing mountain ranges of Taiwan by motorcycle buying tea from farmers, before fully funding their company via Kickstarter. The two now call Taipei home, where they work directly with tea farmers to source Dachi's line of products.
"Whereas green tea and white teas are under-oxidized or just partially oxidized and black teas are almost completely oxidized, oolong occupies the space in between," says Thomas. "The middle ground allows for so much more freedom for creative processing, offering more diversity in the taste and complexity."
The fact that no two cups of high-quality oolong will ever be the same is why the tea is so special. "A lightly oxidized Wenshan Baozhong can release a flood of wonderful verdant notes of fresh-cut grass and sweet lilac," says Thomas. "But a Dong Ding oolong oxidized at 30-40% can have a woodsy aroma with notes of granola and butterscotch."
The high mountain ranges of Taiwan are blanketed by cool air and a heavy mist, which means everything grows slowly. The prolonged growth process gives oolong its signature qualities: a smooth taste with no astringency and a sweet finish. And since most oolong is rolled and balled up during processing, you can brew the same batch of leaves multiple times. (Each brew will yield a new flavor.)
Sample Dachi's signature teas and see for yourself why oolong is so amazing.
Tastes like: Magnolia, sugarcane, and spring water
Tastes like: Smoke, nuts, and citrus
Tastes like: Cherry, baked fruit, and honey
Tastes like: Oatmeal cookie, jasmine, and mineral rocks
Too hot for hot tea? Here's how Thomas and Palumbo cold brew their favorite tea at home!
For more on Dachi Tea, see dachitea.co.
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