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Four Seasons Jade

Four Seasons Jade

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Notes of crème fraîche, pandan, and ube.

Oolong tea from Taiwan・April 2021・梨山四季春・Organic

You may have known this tea as Four Seasons Gold, but the leaves of this year’s harvest express themselves in a vastly different way. Dark green notes of bruised pandan, and earthy ube are a departure from the fruitiness of the previous harvest. While the cultivar and garden remain the same, Four Seasons Jade is a testament to craftsmanship, and the breadth of flavor that it evokes with every new batch of tea. Through craftsmanship, we can take a tea we know and love, and craft something new and delightful.

The base cultivar is sijichun (four seasons spring), developed in the 1980s to be highly adaptive through multiple seasons. Because of this, the cultivar is prolific in Taiwan, and used to produce low grade, low elevation oolongs. High elevation planting of this cultivar is unusual, as most growers prefer the green heart cultivar for its thinner, more delicate leaves.

The source garden sits between 1500m and 1800m, and lies in the area between Lishan proper to the north, and Cuifeng in the south. This particular batch of tea comes from higher elevation section of the garden, from trees that are nearly 30 years old. Picked the last week of April, the leaves show tell-tale signs of leaf hopper bites, giving the tea its natural honey notes.

Traditional extended withering and bruising significantly increased this tea’s oxidation rate, and lower torque during rolling preserved more flavor and aromatic compounds in the tea leaves. From here, we opted to depart from the previous iteration of this tea, pulling back ever so slightly on the oxidation to accentuate this cultivar’s floral aromatics. Four Season’s Jade is still significantly more oxidized than typical high mountain oolongs, resulting in a wider range in brewing: from short, intensely floral steeps, to the deep, warm tones of longer brew times.

The result is delicious. Four Seasons Jade has a creamy liquor that deepens in flavor and aromatic intensity as it steeps. Heady, redolent greens progress to a deep umami character with longer steeps.

Brew: 6 grams・150 ml・208° F・2 min

This tea was meant to be brewed at high temperatures, for longer times. We recommend 208F, and suggest pushing the brew time. The result is intensely aromatic, yet retains a thick refined sweetness with an impossibly long finish.

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