fu shou shan

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Fu Shou Shan Farm

The tea harvest came about two weeks early in Taiwan this year, which meant that in Dong Ding and other parts of Taiwan, the harvest we viewed was the summer harvest, which constitutes anything that comes after the first plucking of leaves in spring.  In Fu Shou Shan and Da Yu Ling, which are at higher altitudes and therefore the last places to be harvested in this season, the spring harvest was just about to arrive....

What is so special about Fu Shou Shan?  While it is right near Lishan, Fu Shou Shan tea is grown naturally, which means the tea has few (if any) chemicals, and no pesticides.  We can see this through the lovely weeds, grasses, flowers and other plants that grow around the tea bushes in Fu Shou Shan, as compared to tea bushes in Lishan where the grass and other plants are literally scorched away by pesticides and herbicides.  We saw these chemicals being transported by pully up and down the Lishan range.

You can taste this for yourself when you sample teas from different farms.  Teas grown without chemicals tend to be less bold in flavor but possessing rounder more balanced tones and incredible mouth feel.  Chemicals show up in the back and back sides of the mouth and linger long past the floral notes, leaving one wondering about the real health benefits of tea.

The rub?  Fu Shou Shan tea is difficult to obtain. A small number of wholesalers have these teas, which are in very high demand in China and not very available elsewhere. 

Fu Shou Shan farm continues on for miles and is part of a protected mountain area in Taiwan.  The land is captivating, with a softness that is in contrast to the rugged mountain landscape in much of the surrounding range. 

After planting my feet on this farm, I knew why I always preferred the taste of Fu Shou Shan tea to that of Lishan or even the coveted Da Yu Ling....the land of Fu Shou Shan is spectacularly beautiful.  Look for vidoes coming soon!
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I am really enjoying a sample of Lishan Fu Shou oolong right now. My first time to try it and I love it!

Where can one obtain genuine Fou Shou Shan oolong? Apparently, there is a lot of fake Fou Shou Shan out there - some of the fakes may be the same cultivar as genuine Fou Shou Shan, but they're grown "off the farm" (Fou Shou Shan farm, that is) at lower elevations and using who-knows-what cultivation practices.

Another question: I've read that a few of the non-roasted, high-mountain oolongs - including real Fou Shou Shan and the very best Li Shans - actually improve if aged for a year or more in their vacuum packing. This contradicts the conventional wisdom that teas slowly decline in quality, even if still vacuum packed, after six months to a year. Have you heard anything about such aging?

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What do you think about organic teas?