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Know Your Tea: Taiwan Beauty Oolong

At the turn of the last century, a tea farmer from the center of Taiwan decided to take his bug bitten tea to the market anyway, since his livelihood depended on it. Other villagers laughed at this farmer, as his tea was rather runted and undergrown and ugly, for once the bugs have bitten the leaves, they stop growing. Undaunted, the farmer went to market, and to his surprise, his tea received raved reviews, and completely sold itself out. Beside himself with joy, he runs back with this victorious announcement, only to find that the other villagers did not believe a word he said. Tall tale, they said, ‘Pong Feng’ cha was what they called it, meaning a puffed up, B.S. tea. To this day, the locals call what is now Taiwan Beauty, one of the most absolutely unique teas in the world, ‘Pong Feng Cha’.  It is now the…

Royal Courtesan Oolong: One of the most unusual teas

One of the most unusual teas on the planet- those bitten by a tiny bug- is the Royal Courtesan oolong. A perfect storm of conditions must occur for this tea to be made. Green Leaf Hoppers are tiny cicada native to Taiwan, and they feast on the small undeveloped tea leaf buds, drawing the astringent juices as their meal. In return, the tea leaf defends itself by sending polyphenols to the bite wounds, and a large amount of fragrance compounds also rush to the surface. We do not know exactly why that happens, but we hare happy to be the beneficiaries- the Leaf Hopper bitten teas have a surreal perfume that incites names such as Taiwan Beauty, and Royal Courtesan. However, unlike Taiwan Beauty, which grows on low elevations in order for the Leaf Hoppers to reach them- Royal Courtesan is made from Tung Ting Oolong, growing at 800 meters…