The Story About Oriental Beauty Tea
Oriental Beauty Tea also called Dongfang meiren (Chinese: 東方美人‘eastern beauty’) or baihao (白毫), among other Chinese names, is a heavily oxidised long-bud type oolong tea originating in Hsinchu County, Taiwan. It is an insect tea produced from leaves bitten by the tea jassid, an insect that feeds on the tea plant.
- Discovery form An Accidental Revelation
Oriental Beauty Tea was an invention by a unique technique in Taiwan. It was a beautiful mistake, initially. When a tea farmer once encountered insect problems, they picked the upper leaves and buds that are the finest parts of the trees bitten by the insects. Not wanting to waste the harvest, they took the tea to the tea laboratory and discovered that after the insects sucked the tea stems and buds juice, it started the oxidation process. The chemicals that the plant releases in response to the bug bites added natural sweetness and fruity aromas to the tea. The farmer then sold this rare tea for a higher price as it was well-received by the world tea industry’s leaders and soon became papular.
2. Acquired Unique Plantation Technique And Growing Conditions
After this significant discovery, the farmer applied this skill to grow all types of tea by feeding the insect, Jacobiasca formosana. And for the need of the feeding, the tea must grow in warmer areas on the leeward side of hills in regions. It also requires sufficient humidity and sunshine at lower altitudes (300–800m) between the mountains and the plains. That’s why this unique plantation technique is only suitable to harvest in the middle of summer, and only about 40–50% of the leaves used. However, as the climate changes globally, Taiwan enjoyed a warm winter almost every year now. That’s why some batches of Oriental Beauty tea can harvest in December, which made it incredibly unique.
However, the annual yield is still low, and the price is relatively high. As a result, the Oriental Beauty Tea considered as one type of rare and SPECIALITY teas. Besides, the moisture content of Oriental Beauty Tea is higher than other teas; the withering process takes longer hence leads to the longer hydrolysis and oxidation processes. The longer time helped generates the typical sweet flavour and taste of this tea.
3. The Names
It thought to have been named Oriental Beauty by Queen Elizabeth the second. When she tasted the tea, she was amazed by the beauty of the Asian delicious tea; then, she names the tea Oriental Beauty Tea. More recently, the term 白毫烏龍茶 (báiháo wūlóng chá), translated as ‘white-tip oolong tea’ has been used because the tea tips that are bitten by bugs appeared to be white.
How to Brew Oriental Beauty Tea
As the Oriental Beauty Tea only uses the tip of the tea leaves, it is so rare. Hence some people considered it as the champagne of the tea. To brew the delicate tea, the Oriental Beauty Tea expert suggested using up to 90 degrees instead of 100 degrees of water to brew for 5 to 8 minutes to get the best result of the flavours.
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