Taiwanese High Mountain Tea Guide
Editorial

Ultimate Taiwanese High Mountain Tea Guide

Taiwan is one of the world’s most famous tea-growing regions, known for its friendly yet flavorful teas like Oriental Beauty and high mountain oolong. It is a place that tea lovers should not miss in their exploration of different tea varieties. With its beautiful tea gardens, rich tea culture, and unique tea-making techniques, Taiwan offers an exceptional tea experience. In this ultimate guide, we will delve into the geography, tea culture, common teas, and benefits of Taiwanese high mountain tea. We will also explore some of the top tea plantations and provide tips for sourcing authentic Taiwanese tea.

What Makes Taiwanese Tea Special?

Taiwan is a place where tea is deeply intertwined with the national identity and culture. Tea competitions are held every growing season, and there are dedicated tea museums that promote tea culture and awareness. Taiwan stands out due to its proximity to tea gardens, which are conveniently accessible to the local population. The country’s geography, with its misty high mountains, fertile valleys, and tropical/subtropical climate, provides perfect conditions for tea cultivation. The Taiwanese tea industry also strikes a balance between tradition and technology, combining age-old techniques with modern tea processing methods. Overall, Taiwan’s love for tea and its unique growing conditions make its teas special and highly valued.

Jane’s Perspective:

As a tea enthusiast and frequent traveler to Taiwan, I have experienced firsthand the exceptional tea culture and unique flavors that Taiwanese teas offer. The passionate dedication of the tea farmers, the breathtaking tea gardens tucked away in the mountains, and the traditional tea-making methods passed down through generations all contribute to the specialness of Taiwanese tea. It is truly a treasure for tea lovers and offers a memorable journey into the world of high-quality teas.

Key Takeaways:

  • Taiwan is known for its flavorful teas like Oriental Beauty and high mountain oolong.
  • The country’s tea culture is deeply rooted in its national identity and is promoted through tea competitions and dedicated tea museums.
  • Taiwan’s geography provides ideal conditions for tea cultivation, with misty high mountains, fertile valleys, and a suitable climate.
  • The Taiwanese tea industry combines tradition and technology, resulting in unique teas that are highly valued.
  • Experiencing Taiwanese tea firsthand offers a memorable journey into the world of high-quality teas.

What Makes Taiwanese Tea Special?

Taiwan is a place where tea is deeply intertwined with the national identity and culture. Tea competitions are held every growing season, and there are dedicated tea museums that promote tea culture and awareness. Taiwan stands out due to its proximity to tea gardens, which are conveniently accessible to the local population. The country’s geography, with its misty high mountains, fertile valleys, and tropical/subtropical climate, provides perfect conditions for tea cultivation. The Taiwanese tea industry also strikes a balance between tradition and technology, combining age-old techniques with modern tea processing methods. Overall, Taiwan’s love for tea and its unique growing conditions make its teas special and highly valued.

Taiwanese Tea Varieties Taipei Tea Culture Origin of Taiwanese Tea
Oolong Tea competitions Proximity to tea gardens
Black Tea museums Misty high mountains
Green Fertile valleys
Pu-erh Tropical/subtropical climate

Common Teas in Taiwan

Oolong teas are the most common type of tea found in Taiwan. With its diverse tea cultivars and unique terroir, Taiwan produces a wide variety of oolong teas that are highly regarded for their exceptional quality and distinct flavors. Here are some popular Taiwanese oolong teas:

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Oolong Tea Flavor Profile
Baozhong A mild, flowery, and refreshing green oolong.
High Mountain Oolong A complex, buttery, floral, and fruity oolong grown in misty high elevation areas.
Dong Ding A nutty and sweet oolong produced in Nantou County, with a slightly fruity taste.
Taiwanese “Monkey Picked” Tie Guan Yin A roasted oolong with floral, fruity, and toasty flavors.

These teas represent just a glimpse of the rich Taiwanese oolong tea offerings. Each tea has its own unique characteristics, reflecting the distinct growing conditions and expert craftsmanship. Taiwanese oolong teas continue to captivate tea enthusiasts worldwide with their exquisite flavors and aromas.

High Mountain Tea

High Mountain Tea, also known as high mountain oolong, is one of Taiwan’s most popular teas. It is grown in misty high elevation areas, at least 1,000 meters above sea level. Famous high mountain tea plantations include Alishan, Lishan, Yushan, Shan Lin Xi, and Da Yu Ling. High Mountain Oolong is characterized by its complex, buttery, floral, and fruity flavor profile. The tea bushes in these high mountain gardens grow more slowly due to extreme growing conditions, resulting in large, thick, yet tender leaves. High Mountain Tea is highly regarded for its quality and is a must-try for tea enthusiasts.

High Mountain Tea Characteristics
Flavor Profile Complex, buttery, floral, fruity
Altitude of Tea Gardens At least 1,000 meters above sea level
Tea Plantations Alishan, Lishan, Yushan, Shan Lin Xi, Da Yu Ling
Leaf Characteristics Large, thick, yet tender leaves

Other Taiwanese Tea Varieties

Taiwan is not only known for its exquisite oolong teas but also for a range of other unique tea varieties. Let’s explore some of these distinctive teas that offer a delightful and diverse drinking experience:

1. Four Season Oolong

Four Season Oolong, also known as Four Seasons of Spring, is a Taiwanese oolong tea that stands out for its availability throughout the year. Unlike most Taiwanese teas that are harvested only in spring, Four Season Oolong can be enjoyed year-round. This delicate tea offers a light yet refreshing flavor profile, making it a popular choice among tea enthusiasts.

2. Dong Ding Oolong

Grown in Nantou County, Dong Ding Oolong is a unique tea variety that possesses a lightly roasted and nutty flavor. This tea is cultivated at a lower elevation than high mountain tea, which contributes to its distinct characteristics. Dong Ding Oolong is a favorite among tea drinkers looking for a flavor profile that is slightly different from traditional oolong teas.

3. Taiwanese “Bug-Bitten” Red Oolong

Produced in the Luye region, Taiwanese “Bug-Bitten” Red Oolong is a specialty tea that showcases a sweet and interesting flavor. The leaves of this tea undergo a natural oxidation process caused by insect bites, which imparts unique and desirable qualities to the brew. The resulting tea offers a truly distinctive taste that tea connoisseurs enjoy.

4. Baozhong

Baozhong is a category of its own, falling between oolong and green tea. It is grown exclusively in the Wenshan area of Taiwan. This tea undergoes minimal oxidation, resulting in a lightly fermented flavor that retains the freshness and aroma of a green tea. Baozhong is a favorite choice for those seeking a delicate and fragrant cup of tea.

5. Oriental Beauty Oolong

Hailing from Hsinchu, Oriental Beauty Oolong is a unique tea that boasts heavily oxidized and bug-bitten leaves. This creates a distinctively sweet and fruity flavor profile that sets it apart from other oolong teas. Oriental Beauty Oolong is highly prized and cherished by tea enthusiasts who appreciate its exceptional taste and aroma.

6. Taiwanese Black Teas

In addition to oolong teas, Taiwan also produces a range of black teas that offer their own distinct characteristics. Some notable examples include:

Tea Name Description
Ruby 18 A highly aromatic and bold black tea with notes of cinnamon and mint.
Sweet Ginseng Oolong A unique blend of oolong tea and ginseng, offering a sweet and invigorating brew.
Ginseng Oolong An energizing blend of oolong tea and ginseng, known for its well-balanced flavors.
Gardenia Oolong A fragrant and floral oolong tea with hints of gardenia and a smooth finish.
Osmanthus Oolong A beautifully scented oolong tea infused with the delicate aroma of osmanthus flowers.
Jasmine Baozhong A blend of Baozhong tea and jasmine flowers, offering a refreshing and aromatic infusion.
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These unique Taiwanese tea varieties provide a captivating range of flavors and aromas for tea enthusiasts to explore. Whether you are a fan of oolong teas or seeking a delightful twist with black teas or blended options, Taiwan has something to offer every tea lover.

Other Taiwanese Tea Varieties

Benefits of High Mountain Tea

High Mountain Tea, like other oolong teas, offers numerous health benefits. It contains antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, caffeine, L-theanine, and chlorophyll. The high-quality and natural growing conditions of high mountain tea, including cooler climates and less pollution, contribute to its exceptional aroma and healthiness. Studies suggest that oolong tea, like high mountain tea, may aid in weight loss, provide anti-cancer activity, and reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes. Additionally, high mountain tea is rich in EGCG, a catechin associated with these potential health benefits.

Health Benefits of High Mountain Tea Details
Antioxidants High mountain tea is packed with antioxidants that help neutralize harmful free radicals in the body, protecting against oxidative stress and promoting overall health.
Weight Loss Research suggests that oolong tea, including high mountain tea, may help boost metabolism and promote weight loss by increasing fat oxidation.
Anti-Cancer Activity Some studies have indicated that oolong tea may possess anti-cancer properties, potentially inhibiting the growth of cancer cells and reducing the risk of certain types of cancer.
Cardiovascular Health Oolong tea consumption, including high mountain tea, has been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease and stroke by improving heart health and reducing cholesterol levels.
Type 2 Diabetes Management Regular consumption of oolong tea, such as high mountain tea, has shown promising effects in managing blood sugar levels, improving insulin sensitivity, and reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes.

EGCG and Health Benefits

High mountain tea is particularly rich in EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate), a potent antioxidant and catechin that is believed to contribute to its health benefits. EGCG has been studied for its potential anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and metabolic health effects.

Brewing High Mountain Tea

To fully appreciate the flavors of High Mountain Tea, it is important to brew it properly. Here are some steps to guide you in brewing this authentic Taiwanese tea:

Equipment and Ingredients

To brew High Mountain Tea, you will need the following:

  • Taiwanese teapot or gaiwan
  • 4-5 grams of loose leaf High Mountain Tea
  • 100-150 ml of water

Taipei tea culture

Instructions

  1. Start by preheating your teapot or gaiwan with hot water to ensure optimal brewing temperature.
  2. Place 4-5 grams of High Mountain Tea leaves in the teapot or gaiwan.
  3. Heat the water to nearly boiling (194-203°F).
  4. Pour the hot water over the tea leaves and steep for a few seconds. This initial infusion helps rinse the leaves and awaken their flavors.
  5. Discard the first infusion.
  6. For subsequent infusions, increase the steeping time by a few seconds each time.
  7. High Mountain Tea can be steeped multiple times, with each infusion revealing different flavor profiles and nuances.

Serving

High Mountain Tea is best enjoyed immediately after brewing. It is traditionally served in small cups, allowing you to appreciate the aroma and flavors.

Authentic Taiwanese Tea Sourcing

When sourcing authentic Taiwanese tea like High Mountain Tea, it is recommended to buy from reputable online tea shops or specialized shops that focus on Taiwanese teas. This ensures that you are getting high-quality and authentic products. These shops understand the importance of sourcing teas directly from trusted tea farmers and plantations, preserving the nuances and originality of Taiwanese teas.

By choosing reputable sources, you can rest assured that you are experiencing the true essence of Taiwan’s tea culture and enjoying the rich flavors that make Taiwanese teas so unique.

Where to Buy High Mountain Tea

When it comes to sourcing authentic high mountain tea, it’s essential to choose reputable shops that specialize in Taiwanese teas. These shops not only offer a wide selection of teas but also ensure the quality and authenticity of the products. Here are some recommended sources for purchasing high mountain tea:

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1. Online Tea Shops

Reputable online tea shops are an excellent option for buying high mountain tea. They provide convenience, extensive product offerings, and the ability to compare different brands and varieties. Trusted online tea shops ensure that their teas come directly from the top tea plantations in Taiwan. They often provide detailed information about the tea’s origin, processing methods, and flavor profiles. Some renowned online tea shops for authentic Taiwanese tea sourcing include:

  • Tea Ave
  • Beautiful Taiwan Tea
  • Eco-Cha
  • Taiwan Tea Crafts
  • Tea from Taiwan

2. Tea Shops Specializing in Taiwanese Teas

If you prefer a more personal touch and the opportunity to interact with knowledgeable tea experts, visiting tea shops specializing in Taiwanese teas is an excellent option. In these shops, you can explore a curated selection of high mountain teas and receive expert guidance on choosing the best varieties for your taste preferences. Some well-regarded tea shops specifically focused on Taiwanese teas include:

  • Taiwan Tea Connection – Located in New York City, Taiwan Tea Connection offers a range of high-quality Taiwanese teas, including high mountain oolongs.
  • Taiwan Tea Crafts – With an online presence and a physical store in Taipei, Taiwan Tea Crafts is known for its carefully selected teas and dedication to tea education.
  • Teance – Based in Berkeley, California, Teance offers an extensive collection of Taiwanese teas sourced directly from Taiwan’s tea farmers.
  • Camellia Sinensis – A tea company located in Montreal, Canada, Camellia Sinensis is renowned for its commitment to sourcing authentic teas from around the world, including Taiwan.

Whether you choose an online tea shop or a specialized brick-and-mortar store, purchasing high mountain tea from reputable sources ensures that you are getting the authentic taste and experience of Taiwanese teas.

Online Tea Shops Specialized Tea Shops
Tea Ave Taiwan Tea Connection
Beautiful Taiwan Tea Taiwan Tea Crafts
Eco-Cha Teance
Taiwan Tea Crafts Camellia Sinensis
Tea from Taiwan

High Mountain Tea Availability

High Mountain Tea is highly sought after, and it can be found in various shops specializing in Taiwanese teas. Two reliable options for sourcing authentic high mountain tea are online tea shops and in-store tea shops that specifically focus on Taiwanese teas. These shops offer a wide selection of teas, including those from renowned tea plantations such as Alishan, Lishan, Yushan, Shan Lin Xi, and Da Yu Ling. By purchasing from trustworthy sources, tea lovers can ensure the quality and authenticity of the tea they enjoy.

Online tea shops have gained popularity for their convenience and extensive product offerings. They provide tea enthusiasts the opportunity to explore different varieties and compare brands. Reputable online tea shops source their teas directly from Taiwan’s top tea plantations, ensuring the highest quality. Some well-known online tea shops specializing in authentic Taiwanese sourcing include Tea Ave, Beautiful Taiwan Tea, Eco-Cha, Taiwan Tea Crafts, and Tea from Taiwan.

In addition to online options, physical tea shops also offer a personalized and interactive shopping experience. These specialized stores focus on Taiwanese teas and employ knowledgeable tea experts who can provide guidance and recommendations based on customers’ preferences. Some notable tea shops that specialize in Taiwanese teas include Taiwan Tea Connection in New York City, Taiwan Tea Crafts in Taipei, Teance in Berkeley, California, and Camellia Sinensis in Montreal.

When sourcing high mountain tea, it’s important to purchase from reputable sources to ensure the tea’s quality and authenticity. By choosing reliable online tea shops or visiting specialized tea shops, tea lovers can explore the world of authentic Taiwanese tea and enjoy the unique flavors and aromas of high mountain tea.

Online Tea Shops

  • Tea Ave
  • Beautiful Taiwan Tea
  • Eco-Cha
  • Taiwan Tea Crafts
  • Tea from Taiwan

Specialized Tea Shops

  • Taiwan Tea Connection
  • Taiwan Tea Crafts
  • Teance
  • Camellia Sinensis

Conclusion

Taiwanese high mountain tea offers tea lovers a unique and unforgettable experience. With its diverse tea varieties, rich tea culture, and top-quality teas, Taiwan is a must-visit destination for tea enthusiasts. Whether you’re exploring the common teas in Taiwan, such as Baozhong and High Mountain Oolong, or venturing into other Taiwanese tea varieties like Dong Ding and Oriental Beauty, you’re bound to find something to love.

The benefits of high mountain tea, including its antioxidant properties and potential health benefits, further make it a worthwhile choice. When brewing high mountain tea, follow the recommended brewing techniques to fully appreciate its complex flavors. And when sourcing high mountain tea, choose reputable shops that specialize in Taiwanese teas to ensure you’re getting authentic and high-quality products.

Embrace the essence of the Orient with Taiwanese high mountain teas and embark on a tea journey like no other.

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