Taiwan tea strikes a unique balance between tradition and modern technology. Teamakers combine incredibly precise, semi-automated processes for rolling and drying the tea leaves with age-old withering techniques.
The Taiwanese tea industry has been around since the 1800s, and many families have generations of experience making this drink. The result is a taste that has the clean, consistent polish of modern processing and the irreplaceable passion of traditional, artisanal crafting.
During the 18th century, tea merchants from Fujian brought tea plants to Taiwan and cultivated them. This was the beginning of Taiwan’s unique tea culture.
Oolong is a type of tea that is characterized by its light oxidation and floral notes. Oolong teas are produced in the Central Mountain Ranges in Taiwan, specifically Lishan, Nantou, and Alishan.
These mountains are renowned for their misty, high elevations and ideal growing conditions. The mist helps the tea plant grow more slowly and produce thick, tender leaves.
During the 19th century, British traders began to influence Taiwan’s tea trade. John Dodd and William Li were instrumental in importing teas from China that would otherwise be shipped to Anxi or Fuzhou for finishing.
Taiwan is home to over ten different varieties of oolong tea, each with its own unique flavor profile. The way the tea is processed after harvesting has a huge impact on how it tastes.
For example, Bai Hao (or Oriental Beauty) from Hsinchu County is a sweet oolong tea with a rich aroma of ripe peaches and honey. It is processed to a higher degree of oxidation than other Taiwanese oolongs, which produces a smooth flavor and virtually no astringency.
Another variety that has become highly sought after is the High Mountain Gao Shan tea from Taiwan. These teas are cultivated between 1,000 and 2,614 meters above sea level, and are known for their superior taste and fragrance.
There are a number of surprisingly delicious teas in Taiwan. Some of these include ginseng oolong, milk oolong, and osmanthus oolong.
There is also a strong flavored oolong called tieguanyin that is very popular. This tea is a great choice for those who enjoy black tea but want more flavor than you get with the lighter oolongs or green teas.
One of the best things about 台灣茶 is that it is a naturally milky tea with sweet fruit or cream notes. This milkiness is the result of the tea being grown at high elevations in Taiwan.
These teas are often lightly oxidized and minimally roasted to retain their fresh mountain flavors. These teas are known to be rich in antioxidants, which can help prevent disease and maintain health.
Taiwan has a unique natural environment that is perfect for the growth of tea. It has sunny and fertile valleys with rich, well-draining soils as well as misty high mountain areas that produce tea of surprising strength.
These conditions produce oolong teas with complex character and a wide range of flavor. It is also known for its health benefits due to the powerful detoxification effects of the tea leaves, removing toxic residues from the body and preventing metabolic wastes from being absorbed.
There are many different varieties of oolong teas with the amount of oxidation (or fermentation) that occurs during processing being the determining factor. During the oxidation process, the leaves are lightly rolled and allowed to deplete moisture before being exposed to oxygen.
After the desired level of oxidation has been reached, the leaves are then heated in a process called “Kill Green”, or “fixing”. This stops the oxidation and prevents any further chemical reactions that may occur.