Jul 13 2013

Tea and Beneficial Bugs? Yep! Read On…


If you have ever tasted the exquisite tea called Oriental Beauty, or Bai Hao, you will understand when I tell you that you want to know that bugs  have fed on your tea. Renowned for its bouquet and complexity of taste, this Oolong tea comes from Taiwan. One of the few teas which is harvested at its highest quality during the summer months, the production of Oriental Beauty cannot begin until the appearance of the leaf hoppers which start to nibble on the leaves while still on the plant. This nibbling starts some oxidation of the leaves prior to plucking, which contributes to the variation in enzymatic action of the finished leaf and the complex flavor profile that it produces.

(In the photo above, the leaf hopper is the light green elongated speck on the darker green leaf at the back of the picture.)

Our newest Oolong Tea is from a different cultivar than traditional Oriental Beauty, but it too comes from Taiwan and has benefited from the nibbling of the leaf hopper. From the village of FengHuan in the Nantou region of Taiwan, our tea represents a tribute upon her recent death, to the Grandmother of the founder of Mountain Tea, the Farm from which we purchased this tea at auction. The tea gardens of this area were abandoned after  a 7.6 magnitude earthquake in 1999 affected the area, killing thousands, injuring tens of thousands, and leaving more than a hundred thousand homeless. The plants were left to grow wild for a number of years until the farmers returned and started to redevelop them.

This crop of tea pays homage to the grandmother and others affected by the earthquake. As the founder of Mountain Tea stated “It is a declaration that even in the darkest hours we can rise and overcome”. We were pleased to participate in this first on-line auction direct from the tea farmers, and are proud to offer you this exquisitely crafted tea.

Cupping of Mountain Tea Roasted Oolong