If you're a tea enthusiast or simply someone who appreciates a soothing cup of black tea, Taiwan's Sun Moon Lake should be on your radar. This picturesque region, known for its stunning landscapes, is also a major production area for Taiwanese Specialty Black Tea. Join us as we embark on a journey through the history and flavors of Taiwanese Specialty Black Tea.
A Historical Import:
In 1923, the Agriculture Department of the Taiwan Governor-General's Office made a pivotal move by importing high-quality tea seeds from India's Assam Province. These seeds were then distributed to various experimental stations, each with the aim of exploring their potential on Taiwanese soil. These stations included Pingzhen Tea Experimental Branch, Linkou Village Tea Training Institute, Japan's Kyushu region, and the Lotus Flower Pond Medicinal Plant Experimental Site in Yuchi Township.
Trials and Triumphs:
The journey to establish Taiwanese Specialty Black Tea was not without its challenges. The initial three trials faced setbacks, but it was in the serene surroundings of the Lotus Flower Pond that the Assam large-leaf variety strains, including Jaipuri, Manipuri, and Kyang, found their ideal home. These strains thrived and set the stage for the flourishing black tea industry we see today.
Flavors of Convergence:
Taiwanese Specialty Black Tea is primarily crafted from large-leaf varieties, known for their bold and convergent flavors. Here, the emphasis is on creating a tea with a full-bodied and harmonious taste that has captivated tea connoisseurs worldwide.
Among the many exquisite varieties of Taiwanese Specialty Black Tea, several have gained international acclaim:
1. Assamica No. 8: A bold and robust tea with a character all its own.
2. Ruby No. 18: Renowned for its vibrant red infusion, this tea is rich, aromatic, and delightful to the senses. Cinnamon and Mint are the symbolic flavors.
3. Melody No. 21: A symphony of flavors awaits in every cup, offering a unique and memorable tea experience. Citrus, butter and apple essences.
4. Purple Bud Mountain Tea: Taiwan's native variety that stands out for its distinctive purplish buds, lending a touch of elegance to your tea ritual.
The Oxidation Process:
Taiwanese Specialty Black Tea, characterized by its distinctively dark and robust flavor, typically undergoes oxidation up to 85%, commonly referred to as "Full Oxidized." Black teas may reach more oxidized level after post-fermentation over the years, resulting in even deeper and more complex flavors. This oxidation process primarily involves enzymatic fermentation, often described as oxidation, akin to the transformation seen in plum vinegar. The end result is a cup of tea rich in theaflavins, thearubigins, and theabrownins, which contribute to the tea's unique taste and aroma. These compounds exhibit antioxidant properties, which may help reduce oxidative stress. Additionally, theaflavins have been linked to improved cardiovascular health, weight management, and blood sugar regulation. Thearubigins and theabrownins may contribute to anti-inflammatory effects and support bone health. Some studies also suggest their potential in preventing cancer and exhibiting antimicrobial activity. Despite these promising findings, further research is needed to fully understand the mechanisms and applications of these compounds. It's important to consume tea in moderation and consult with a healthcare professional for personalized advice.
Taiwan's Sun Moon Lake has not only provided breathtaking scenery but has also become a thriving hub for Taiwanese Specialty Black Tea production. The unique terroir and careful cultivation have given rise to a range of distinct flavors, each with its own character and charm. Whether you're sipping on Assamica's boldness or experiencing the symphony of Melody No. 21, Taiwanese Specialty Black Tea is a testament to the artistry and dedication of its cultivators. It's a journey worth savoring, one steeped in the traditions of tea-making and the beauty of Taiwan's Sun Moon Lake.