Taiwanese Oolongs have a special place in my heart as they are one of the first teas I tried when I begun my Tea Journey. So in dedication to the leaf and Taiwanese teas, we are going to look at 5 different Oolongs throughout September. To see past posts check out our “Let’s Talk Oolong” page.
It is only natural to end with the first Taiwanese tea I ever tried. This roasted variety has a special place in my heart. On that note it saddens me that other tea drinkers are moving away from this variety in favor of the green version. There is a uniqueness to both of them, that makes me treat them as entirely separate teas. But let’s get back to our roasted one.
It is a great idea to see them separately as it is Taiwan’s unique take on the tea that originally started in Main Land China. The same plant, the Tie Kwan Yin Cultivar, was taken by the Tsang brothers back to Taiwan in 1875. It is thanks to them that we have this tea available in Taiwan’s Muzha District. But there is a legend that says otherwise.
A poor farmer regularly visited a local temple to pray to Guwan Yin, the Goddess of compassion and mercy. While there he took extra moment to burn incense, sweep and clean the statue of worship. He did this everyday, showing true devotion. One night, in a dream, Guwan Yin visited him. She said “Look behind the temple. There is a treasure there that will last for generations. Please also share it with your neighbors”.
When he woke, he went behind the temple to find the treasure. The only thing there was a tiny tea bush. He brought it home and nurtured it. Years latter he made tea from the bush and kept his word, by sharing it also with hig neighbors. From then on him and his neighbors prospered. This legend is just one version. Like all legends they change over time.
The one thing that will not change much is the tea itself. This tea gives you a smooth toastyness that makes you want to snuggle up with a book (and reading socks). But like all versions of this tea there are fruity notes. The taste of cooked plums are welcomed with the weather slowly getting cooler. Give yourself a warm hug, and brew yourself a cup.
What version of this tea do you enjoy most? Green or toasty? Share your thoughts in the comments below (and feed my curiosity).