How many tea harvest times are there per year in Taiwan and what influence do these have on the quality or taste of the tea varieties?

How many tea harvest times are there per year in Taiwan and what influence do these have on the quality or taste of the tea varieties?

Most Oolong teas in Taiwan are harvested 3-6 times a year, depending on the cultivation methods used and the height of the cultivation area.

On tea plantations above 1500m, however, the tea leaves are often only harvested three times a year, some farms also practice this at lower altitudes in order to guarantee a higher quality of their tea harvest.

In Taiwan, the spring and winter harvest is mainly for Oolong tea used. In late spring and early autumn the tea leaves are harvested for black teas used.

Some teas like for example Dong Ding Oolong need a lot of time after the harvest for the complex roasting process. Roasted teas are only available one month after harvest at the earliest.
Unroasted oolong teas are ready for sale within a few days after harvest. The spring harvest generally lasts from March to May and the winter harvest from October to December. Summer and autumn are of course in between, but vary depending on agricultural practice and the altitude of the tea-growing area.

In Taiwan, the differences in the character and quality of the tea can be seen more clearly at higher altitudes throughout the year. The highest growing areas for example for Since Yu Lin are about 2600m above sea level, there are only two harvests per year while most farms in Taiwan bring in at least four harvests per year, such as for Four Seasons Oolong Tea.

In general, the taste and quality of most unroasted teas in season can be said to be fairly consistent. However, with the roasted teas, there may be larger deviations depending on how well the roasting process has succeeded.

For the sake of simplicity, we'll only focus on the flavor profile in the following comparison:

Spring harvest:
Known for its pronounced floral aroma and a subtle sweetness in the taste. This is due to the long regeneration phase of the plant during the winter time. During this period, the tea bushes have the opportunity to regenerate. At the same time, we plants grow more slowly due to the lower temperatures.

Summer harvest:
Has a tendency to become more astringent as the tea plant grows particularly rapidly during this period aided by the hotter weather in the summer months. If the oxidation process is carried out skilfully, this can still ensure a very good quality of the tea with a distinctive taste note. If it rains very often in the summer months, however, it can lead to the taste composition being rather unspectacular.

Autumn harvest:
Often has a more pronounced bitter quality. But this can also be a positive factor if a skilled tea master ensures a balanced taste of the tea.

Winter harvest:
Known for its full-bodied character and its viscosity in texture. This results from a slower growth phase and colder temperatures during the growing season.


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