Silver Grade Oriental Beauty Oolong Tea - Summer 2014Taiwan Sourcing
This is a true gem that we are fortunate to offer to those people who enjoy oolong tea, and especially Oriental Beauty. High quality Oriental Beauty has an extremely high price due to limited production and higher labor cost. Every single leaf must be picked when it is still a bud so it will be tender enough to be processed as Oriental Beauty. To find a relatively affordable Oriental Beauty with a proper taste is a difficult task, and that is why we did not offer Oriental Beauty until now!
In the old days of Taiwan, "Oriental Beauty" was the most refined "Fan Zhuang Wu Long" (番莊烏龍), a name which came about in the early 20th century literally means "a tea for selling to uncivilized people", because the foreigners (especially British) consumed and enjoyed this style of tea very much. As a result, a legend says that the name "Oriental Beauty" came from Queen Elizabeth who was a big fan of it.
Another more persuasive name for "Oriental Beauty" is "Bragging Oolong" (椪風茶), which earned this name because of the extremely high price it garnished when sold to the British merchants during the colonial era. As we already know, Oriental Beauty must suffer from the bites of "leaf grasshopper", causing the "after-bitten" tea leaves to look extremely ugly and cheap according to the old time standard which made the tea farmer feel extremely desperate. But a tea is still a tea, the tea farmer who did not give up on the material decide to process it into heavily oxidized oolong anyway to see if it could be sold. When this tea was desired at such as high price by the British merchant, the farmer who invented this tea immediately shared this news with his friends and neighbors. Sadly, no one believed him at the beginning, and some people even accused him of bragging, which is how Oriental Beauty got the name "Bragging Tea", a name is still widely used in the southern part of Taiwan.
This Oriental Beauty from Summer 2014 was grown in the north part of the island, using the local specimen named "Da Man". The "Da Man" varietal when processed delicately has a very unique pear-like character. This Oriental Beauty is different from those Oriental Beauties that are produced in the middle part of the island which are processed from Qing Xin Dah Pan (青心大冇) varietal. After one year of settling, our Oriental Beauty has transformed itself into a thicker and more full-bodied tea than it was right after it came out. We are confident this will be well received as the first Oriental Beauty offered by Taiwan Sourcing!
Harvest: Summer 2014 / 夏 貳零壹肆
Varietal: Da Man Varietal / 大慢種
Elevation: 500 M / 伍佰 公尺
Region: Shihding / 石碇
Oxidation Level: 75% / 分之 柒拾伍
Roast Level: 0 / 無
This is an oriental beauty that continues to surprise with each session. It's both strong tasting, and subtle at the same time. It's fruity and floral, but it's underlying sweetness is countered by a slight bitter / astringent tone that brings incredible depth to the tea. The tea can be infused many many time and the smell of the brewed leaf (even the next day) is intoxicating!
Such a mellow and lovely tea. My two reviewer pals have said quite a bit about the character of this tea, and I have to agree. The smooth and inviting quality is layered with rich complexity.
As an old dog who has spent a huge effort to find an oriental beauty that would not hurt people's wallet, this is finally the one an old dog is looking for. It has a subtle and mature taste like the classical oriental beauty an old dog would love to enjoy at a fair price. An old dog must say that, despite the price of Oriental Beauty has been sky rocketing in the past few years, the quality does not sustain, and finding the proper price ratio is nearly impossible. Most of the oriental beauty today lack of the "fruit acid" feeling a classical oriental beauty has which makes them taste more like aged white tea than Oriental Beauty. This northern oriental beauty was cupped right next to a competition grade of summer 2015 which has an unbelievable expensive price. The result was crystal clear - this one you are seeing here is the one that deserved to be shared and seen. An old dog is very proud of this and that is why lots of words is being typed by his doggy paws.