Taiwan’s Treasured Tea

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by Danielle Beaudette (pages 22-23)

In October 2011, I journeyed on The Taiwan Oolong Study Tour, organized through the Taiwan Tea Institute by Thomas and Josephine Shu. This intensive week and a half-long tea trip included visiting Taiwan’s tea gardens, observing hands-on tea making in the factories with tea masters, and visiting tea museums, tea houses, temples, tea farmers and their farms, and scientists. It would be impossible to discuss the entire trip in one article, so I will focus on a specific tea I discovered – Oriental Beauty – which has become one of my favorites.

We visited an organic tea garden in Mingjian, Nantou. The owner, Mr. Cheng Cheng-Ching and his wife greeted us at the side of the road. We walked for some time through the outskirts of one of their tea gardens, occasionally through very thick brush along thin, winding, wild paths to reach the farthest side of the garden. This was the only access to the organic tea garden. Here, the tea bushes were surrounded by natural forest and isolated from the other tea fields. Mr. Cheng explained that they also grow ginger and osmanthus on this estate, which they blend with some of their teas. The ginger is planted between the young tea plants until the tea plants grow large enough to be harvested. Afterwards, the ginger is moved to another area of young tea plants.