At what point in one’s tea drinking life, when one says, enough, this tea is far too ridiculously good and I can not live this down ever again? For today, I grew afraid that after drinking the 2nd place Taiwan Beauty winner, I might have to quit drinking tea, for fear that nothing will ever compare again. Once ridiculed as ‘pong fong cha’, or bullshit tea, this oolong invented in 1929 by a Hakka tribesman quite by fiasco, proved to be one of the world’s tea treasures. Bitten by leaf hoppers, the farmer who owned these fiasco leaves turned lemons into lemonade (the ugly duckling of tea, I call it), and created a highly oxidized oolong unlike any other. The Queen of England called it ‘Eastern Beauty’ or nowadays, Taiwan Beauty. I preferred Pong Fong Cha, as I shared some of the same disbelief from those of long ago: no way! this tea can’t possibly be this good!

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