About Taiwanese Tea
Soaring Peaks and Succulent Oolongs
Tea cultivation in Taiwan began in the 19th century from bushes grown from seeds imported from China’s Wuyi mountain area. A similar climate and close trading links between Fujian province in China and Taiwan has meant that Oolong tea is the most commonly produced tea type in Taiwan. Taiwan’s famous Oolongs include open leaf varieties like Oriental Beauty and Baozhong and rolled styles such as Dong Ding Oolong and Li Shan Oolong. More recently black tea cultivars were imported from Assam and gave rise to whole leaf black teas of unique Taiwan character.
History, Culture and Expertise
Taipei is the northernmost tea growing region in Taiwan, surrounding the island’s bustling and vibrant capital city. Despite their low altitude, the low hills of Muzha and Wenshan surrounding Taipei are home to some of Taiwan’s oldest tea gardens. In Muzha in particular there is a long and distinguished history of producing excellent Iron Buddha Oolong teas. Our Traditional Iron Buddha Supreme is a superb example of this style of tea. In Wenshan, an open leaf style of tea called Baozhong is most common, famous for it’s light, floral and creamy character. In Taipei itself, teahouse culture is alive and well, with beautifully calm teahouses dotted across the city, with particular highlights in the Yongkang Street area.
Home to Oriental Beauty
Hsinchu is situated at the north-east of the island and ranges from coastal plains to mountainous inland terrain. Growing on the foothills, close to the coast, at just under 500m in elevation is one of Taiwan’s tea treasures, highly oxidised, white tipped Oriental Beauty Oolong. Production is centred around Beipu town and traditionally takes place in summer. Great examples of Oriental Beauty are amazingly floral, fruity and highly sought after.
The Home of High Mountain Oolong
Taichung stretches from the west coast all the way up into the tallest mountains in the centre of the island. High in the mountains in the east of the county lies Li Shan (梨山 – Pear Mountain), home to probably the island’s most famous high mountain Oolong, grown at elevations in excess of 2,000m. The high altitude leads the tea bushes to grow slowly, creating teas that in the hands of the right master are bursting with floral aroma and beautiful texture.
From Lush Lakesides to High Peaks
Nantou is Taiwan’s main tea producing region, and the second largest county in Taiwan. Nantou is predominantly mountainous, and the main tea areas range from peaks as high as 3,000m (He Huan Shan Oolong) to the low-lying jungle-like banks of Sun Moon Lake where our Taiwan Red Jade is produced. However, perhaps the most famous of all Nantou teas is Dong Ding Oolong, originally from relatively low lying Lu Gu Township.
Ali Shan and Beyond
Chiayi lies southwest of Nantou County and stretches from the coast to the mountainous interior. The county is home to Ali Shan, one of Taiwan’s most famous high mountain oolongs. Similar to most of Taiwan, Chiayi’s climate is humid, with high rainfall particularly in the high mountain areas. The county also produces lesser known oolongs including Jin Xuan and Four Seasons.