Seasonal differences in High Mountain Oolong
In Taiwan, the variations in character and quality of tea throughout the year are more obvious at higher elevations. The highest elevation farms only produce two harvests a year, while the majority of farms in Taiwan yield at least four harvests annually. Traditionally, these seasonal variations are fairly distinct, but in recent years climate change has blurred these distinctions somewhat. To keep it simple, we’ll only mention the classic differences in flavor here for a standard reference.
Spring tea is known for its distinct floral aroma and a subtle sweetness in flavor. This is seemingly due to the new season of growth and reproductive phase of the plant after its winter dormant phase.
Summer tea has a tendency to be more astringent as a result of the peak annual vegetation phase of the plant and hotter weather in summer months. If the oxidation of the leaves during processing is done well, this quality can offer a distinct character to the flavor. Summer tea can also be less substantial in its composition of flavor, especially if has been an unusually rainy season.
Fall tea often has a more distinct bitter quality. This also can be a positive factor if the leaves are processed in a way that provides balance in the composition of qualities.
Winter tea is known for its more full-bodied character and viscosity in texture. This results from a slower growth phase and colder temperatures during the growing season.