Wednesday, April 28, 2021

1 of Taiwan's top 3 teas

2020 summer Imperial OB from Hsin Chu
Yunnan has Bing Dao gushu puerh. China's most famous green teas are Xi Shan BiLuoChun and Shi Feng Longjing. The best red is TongMu village Lapsang Souchong. And the very best Oolong is Da Hong Pao Yan Cha from WuYi in Fujian.

At a similar outstanding level, Taiwan has 3 Oolongs that can sustain the comparison with China's best teas. The most popular right now is high mountain Oolong from the highest plantations (DaYuLing and Tian Chi). The most famous and rare is well aged Dong Ding Oolong. And last, but not least, a pioneer of organic tea, we have Imperial Oriental Beauty (OB) from Hsin Chu county
What all these teas have in common is that they are so popular that similar teas are made in other locations, sometimes with the same trees, sometimes with different cultivars. But if you really want to experience the original taste of these great teas, at some point you'll have to source them from their historic location where the production volume is much lower than demand, and this explains why these teas can cost a lot of money. And since the number of billionaires in Beijing has just overtaken the number of billionaires in NYC in 2020, the most famous teas will continue to become more and more expensive. 
Oriental Beauty Oolong is one of the most complex teas in the world. It's not enough to come from the right cultivar (Qingxin Dapang), from a well managed plantation in its historic center (Hsin Chu county), from an expert maker, from its most suitable season, summer, and from the smallest leaves. These conditions would be sufficient for the other teas I've mentioned above. But the best quality of Oriental Beauty needs one thing that other teas don't need, and it's not something that farmers can't fully control. The best OB need the bites of tea jassids called Jacobiasa Formosana Paoli. These little insects will only come to tea gardens that don't use any pesticides and if the weather conditions are warm enough, but not too hot! Their bites trigger an internal defense mechanism in the plant that creates the special honey aromas of the best OBs. The tea has feminine fragrance and the taste is very sweet!
It tastes wonderful both warm and cold!
All teas are fragrant when warm, but only the very best are also fragrant cold...
This imperial OB comes from a tea plantation in Guanxi with red, sandy soil. It was harvested on May 30th, 2020 and it's a single batch. This also explains the purity and clarity of the aromas. It's a tea that can be tasted and enjoyed almost like a grand cru wine!

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