Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Oriental Beauty Tea and Tea Farm Visit

Missed Friday and Monday's posts due to being in Taiwan. Great vacation! Also, the tea was amazing. One of the things we did there was visit the tea museum at a tea farm, and at the end of the museum visit, we got to enjoy a couple of tastings.


 First there was the teacup warming, where she poured hot water into the pot and cups.





Then she added the water to the tea, pouring from high to let the water cool down before it touched the Oriental Beauty tea. The unique flavor of the tea is produced by the insects that nibble it, starting oxidation while still on the branch.





Then she poured out tea into sample-sized cups, and rebrewed the leaves.


 The tea is a beautiful honey color, which is also the flavor that develops, a fruity-honey flavor.
 For our second tasting, we enjoyed a high mountain oolong.
The shop also had pamelo teas, which are made by hollowing out a pamelo, mixing the insides with tea, boiling the mixture several times, and repacking it back into the pamelo skin to season. It's also known as the 18-year tea, as it was often done as part of a girl's dowry: The tea was prepared for a baby girl, and left hanging by her bed until she married. The idea was that, since the tea is supposed to be very healing, if she got sick when she was a newlywed, she could drink some pamelo tea and be able to continue adjusting to her new life. I took some home (in tea bag form), and drank it to ward off plane crud that my husband caught, which seems to have worked so far. It's quite good, a fruity oolong tea that holds up the flavor for at least three brews.

I also learned that Oriental Beauty tea is called that because the queen of England dubbed it such, thinking of the beautiful cheongsams from the East. Before that, it was called formosa tea. And in Chinese, it was known as "boasting" tea, or "puff" tea, because to create this tea, the tea leaves are attacked by insects. This results in a crop that is withered and sad-looking, often appearing half-dead in the fields. Therefore, when the growers marketed it at exorbitant prices, buyers would accuse them of exaggerating, due to the ugly-looking nature of the leaves in the field. But the fruity-honey taste won them over, and today Oriental Beauty tea continues to be sold at incredible prices for the best leaves.

In fact, the tea farm guide told us that their quickest-selling teas are the most expensive ones; they were already sold out of the premium two teas! So we only got to try the third-best. But I must say, it really does taste like honey, especially by the fourth or fifth brew.

If you get out to Taiwan, schedule a tea farm into your trip. It's amazing.

2 comments:

  1. A tea museum sounds like the best thing ever.

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    1. We joked that someone would have to get left behind so there would be room for all the we bought, but we had too many volunteers. It was that awesome.

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