Notes of dark chocolate, black sugar, and malted barley.
Oolong tea from Taiwan・April 2016・佛手・Unsprayed
Buddha's Hand is a high-oxidized oolong tea that comes from a 1000m tea garden on Alishan. The cultivar is so named because its leaves are uncharacteristically large. Fully developed, they span the width and length of a person's hand. Its name also alludes to the similarity in scent of its leaves to the zest of the fingered citron.
Buddha's Hand traces its origins to Fujian Province's Yong Chun county. It arrived in Taiwan by way of settlers who planted the cultivar in the tea region north of present day Taipei. The popularity of other cultivars soon eclipsed Buddha's Hand, and it is now quite rare in Taiwan.
What makes this tea unique is its craftsmanship. In Fujian, Buddha's Hand is typically crafted into a lightly oxidized rolled oolong. The resulting tea, in appearance and fragrance, resembles green Anxi Tieguanyin. In Taiwan, we've come across both rolled and twisted versions of this tea - the few we've seen have also been lightly oxidized.
The oxidation level of our Buddha's Hand exceeds 60%, achieved with an extended period of cool temperature withering that produced dark, red brown leaves. This longer processing produced the distinct honey and fruit notes of the tea. Once set as a maocha by the producer, we sent this tea to our roaster, who added over a week of low temperature convection roasting. This second step produced the tea's chocolate, dark sugar, and malt notes.
This tea represents the perfect confluence of leaf cultivar, provenance, and skilled craftsmanship. The result is a tea that is texturally rich, sweet, and complex.
Brew: 6 grams・150 ml・203° F・2.5 min
Buddha's Hand brews without astringency. Steep times of a minute or less produces a light, clean and sweet tea. We prefer long steep times of more than 2 minutes - and a resulting texture that really accentuates this tea's rich chocolate notes.