The taste is instantly distinctive; it is delicate, muscatel, and floral with a savoury deep note – decadent. When in Taiwan this past summer visiting my family who are tea aficionados I asked them to take me to Dongfan farm. We went to visit the Wen Family who has been making tea for 3 generations, and are pioneers of organic farming in Taiwan.
Oriental Beauty dates from the end of the 18th century when Taiwan started exporting its Oolong overseas. Legend holds that during the summer the tea farmers would lose the majority of their harvest to swarms of small crickets and would not even bother to harvest the tea because the foreign tea traders usually turned down low quality tea. One farmer decided to harvest the bitten leaves and try his luck with John Dodd, an English tea trader who promoted Taiwan teas to the west. John was elated by the tea and ensured the delicious elixir made its way to Queen Victoria who named it ‘Oriental Beauty’ or ‘Dong Fang Mei Ren’.
It is a highly oxidized (+/-70%) Oolong harvested from young leaves, in summer, just after they have been bitten by the tea jassid (a small cricket). This bite starts the oxidation of the leaves and adds a sweet and sour note that is so characteristic.
‘What was that tea you gave me? When I drink it I feel like a KING’
- Adam Freeland (The Acid/ music producer/ Dj)