There are three areas in Taiwan where Oriental Beauty is grown and harvested. MiaoLi, HsinChu and TaoYuan. Today I'm in TaoYuan visiting Tea Master Lin.
This meeting clearly illustrates the importance of "visiting and knowing your source." Mr Lin, a third generation tea farmer and producer, grows his teas "organically" avoiding the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticide. Instead he uses nature, such as ground cover that boarders the garden and keeps weeds at bay, to manage his tea gardens. Based on his current annual production it is doubtful that Mr. Lin's tea gardens will be organic certified in the near future.
Mr. Lin has won many local and regional competitions for his Oriental Beauty. Just this year, his Oriental Beauty took 1st and 2nd place in the tea competition.
First stop was Mr. Lin's tea factory where I experienced a new and delicious cold brew technique. Mr. Lin started our cupping session with a Taiwan black tea that he produces, added cold water and "steeped" it about one minute. The taste was incredible - light with sweet honey notes that lingered in the mouth long after the tea had been swallowed. I was told that this tea can be infused this way about 12 times. Be interesting to experiment when I get back to the States.
Next up is a Green tea made from the same cultivar that Mr. Lin uses for Oriental Beauty. This delivered a very smooth green tea taste with very light cream notes and not a hint of astringency. This was followed by several grades of Mr Lin's Oriental Beauty.
The "greener" tea bushes will be ready for harvesting in about two weeks. Mr Lin believes that what ends up in your cup is based on;
- 30% on the tea plant
- 40% on the processing
- 30% on the brewing of the leaf