Gaoshan tea (Chinese: 高山茶; pinyin: gāoshān chá; pronounced [káu̯.ʂán ʈʂʰǎ]) refers to oolongtea grown in the alpine tea zones of Taiwan. It is grown at altitudes higher than 1000 meters above sea level, where the air is clear. Taiwan's unique island geography with high mountain ranges at its center, where there is high humidity and natural precipitation, makes it a most suitable environment for growing tea.
Gaoshan tea leaves are usually handplucked and are grown slowly due to the lack of air in high altitudes. Hence, the yield of Gaoshan tea are relatively low every year. There are two kinds of Gaoshan tea based on the season: Winter Gaoshan is harvested during late October and Spring Gaoshan, which is harvested during the middle of June. Both types of Gaoshan tea are a representation of the new harvesting season and the end.
It takes about 36 to 40 hours to produce a batch of Gaoshan tea. If weather allows, the handplucked teas are spread on top of a tarp to produce the aroma profiles such as jasmine, rose and geranium. The tea is folded to bruise the leaf for oxidation and is then transferred to another tray to ferment and wither for eight hours. It is then packaged as "handkerchief teas" where farmers emphasize on the quality of the tea rather than the quantity.