Four Seasons Oolong (四季春) is an aromatic, lightly oxidised oolong grown in Mingjian Township, Nantou County, Taiwan. It has a floral profile with a smooth taste and a lightly creamy finish, creating a refreshing and satisfying everyday drink. We source it direct from the farmer in Taiwan and this particular batch is from a spring crop, picked 7 March 2022.
Four Seasons Oolong is named after the cultivar that is used to make this aromatic tea, Si Ji Chun (四季春 – Four Seasons Spring). This cultivar started appearing in Taiwan in 1980’s. It is said that one farmer near Taipei noticed a tea plant in his garden growing much quicker than others, so he planted cuttings from that particular bush more systematically. He was able to harvest leaves from those plants throughout the year, including during winter time when many of the tea plants are normally dormant or growing at a very slow rate.
The leaves of the Si Ji Chun cultivar plants have a fresh and light flowery spring-like aroma year round, hence the full Chinese name that translates as Four Seasons Spring. Even though some prefer to use the full ‘Four Seasons Spring’ name, we find it can create some confusion as to when the actual tea was harvested. Hence we opt for the still popular shorter version of Four Seasons Oolong.
Si Ji Chun has become very popular in Taiwan, as well as other countries, such as Thailand and Vietnam. It favours low altitude conditions but also provides farmers with a consistent crop throughout the whole year. These are very versatile plants. The most popular style is to make a lightly oxidised oolong such as this one, but it is also used to make more complex teas, including darker and roasted oolongs, unusual aged teas and as a floral base for scented teas like Bergamot and Jasmine.
This Four Seasons Oolong consists of quite young spring leaves that have been machine harvested to keep the costs down. The leaves are tightly rolled into bright and darker green pearls that unfurl with each infusion. It possesses a wonderful aroma that is most reminiscent of honeysuckle (jasmine or lily of the valley according to others). It has a smooth and light liquor with a floral profile. The overall flavours are light and very refreshing. The floral taste has lightly sweet notes that combine well with a creamy finish. It makes for a comforting light drink in winter but also works extremely well for cold brewing in summer.
Taiwanese Four Seasons Oolong tea is best brewed at 90°C for 3-4 minutes according to your taste and can be brewed multiple times, increasing steeping time with each next brew if desired.
This tea was first featured in our September 2016 Curious Tea Subscription Boxes.