Hainan Volcano Oolong (火山乌龙茶) is grown at an organic plantation that is located on Hainan Island, China. Grown on rich volcanic soil, this tea develops a complex flavour. Combined with expert roasting that is done over at least 9 months with long resting periods in between, it delivers a toasty, satisfying liquor. This particular lot is from the 15 May 2021 harvest, last roasted in February 2022 by the producer.
This tea comes from a location in China that is not very well-known for growing tea. The location of this organic tea garden is Hainan Island, in the South China Sea. This island also forms 97% of Hainan Province that integrates some of the smaller islands next to Hainan itself. The island has remnants of old volcanoes and a soil that is rich in volcanic material. It is perfect for growing a larger variety of crops, including some limited amounts of tea! In that sense it is possible to compare it to teas grown on Jeju Island in South Korea.
This Hainan Volcano Oolong utilises the Qing Xin ‘Green Heart’ / Ruan Zhi ‘Soft Stem’ cultivar. It’s difficult to determine their origin in this case, but most likely these plants would have come from Taiwan since the Qing Xin and Ruan Zhi names are often used there to describe the same plant. The difference in the name for this cultivar comes from the fact that the Ruan Zhi cultivar was originally brought over from mainland China to Taiwan. Over time it went through a selection and propagation process that has significantly altered the plant. There then seems to have occurred a split in the naming convention for this cultivar. Our tea master in Taiwan confirmed to us that the Ruan Zhi and Qing Xin are one and the same. Farmers and people who work with the leaf tend to refer to it as Qing Xin, while tea writers and people around Taipei tend to stick to the older name of Ruan Zhi. The grower of our Thai teas for example also prefers to use Ruan Zhi even though her tea plants originated in Taiwan and not in mainland China. So this makes us think that the Qing Xin / Ruan Zhi reference is indeed to Taiwanese plants but if we find out otherwise we will be sure to update this description!
This is a lightly oxidised but medium roasted oolong, notably comparable to lighter/medium roast Dong Ding Oolong. The careful and prolonged roasting results in a toasty aroma that does not translate to an overpowering roasted taste. The satisfying liquor has a toasty flavour that is nicely combined with floral, nutty and tangy fruity notes. It is just slightly drying but overall has a very smooth, ‘golden’ taste. The aftertaste is lasting, with a tangy finish.
Brew western style, at 90°C for 2-3 minutes 3+ times. For best results we highly recommend gongfu style brewing.