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Know Your Tea: Hongcha in Taiwan
The little island of Taiwan continues to lead the way with innovative techniques in production. Part of the region’s advantage is found in it’s environment- Taiwan boasts some of the most extreme differences in elevation, terrain, weather and temperature changes throughout the days and year. This range of terroir differences allows varietals to adapt and flourish, and the local artisans to bend them to their will- often with production techniques artisans from other countries can not duplicate.
For example, Taiwan Beauty, one of the most unique teas in the world, result not only from the local Leaf Hoppers (cicadas) to symbiotically manifest, it also takes the extreme natural heat and humidity of the region to oxidize, and a people hardy enough to endure the heat in its making. Incidentally, another fantastic new tea has just emerged from this region.
Miss Lin, the award winning producer of Taiwan Beauty, has just invented another new technique to produce Hongcha, or fully oxidized black tea that is handmade and completely intact. Hongcha is a challenge to most artisan producers- the process of hand oxidizing leaves to almost 100% takes upwards of 5-7 hours each batch. While the black teas of the world are all cut and machine processed for volume production, Hongcha is just the opposite.
Miss Lin named her new creation ‘Burnt Sugar’ – a tea so naturally sweet it tastes like molasses, with an aroma of baked pie and flower water. Tea aficionados, don’t miss trying this one, if not for the sake of supporting artisan handcrafting, at least to open your palates to another new frontier of how teas can taste! Shop Miss Lin’s newest tea here, and read on to get the scoop on our other new Winter Harvest arrivals.