The status and popularity of Oriental Beauty (Dongfang Meiren) tea harvested in Miaoli County’s Toufen Township in the summer and winter has increased to the point where supply no longer meets demand. However, tea produced in the spring and autumn are not very popular, although the Toufen Farmers Association says that tea harvested in those seasons is also good and would like people to try it for themselves.
Hsiao Chen-lin, section chief of the association’s department of promotional affairs, says that teas harvested in the Miaoli area in spring are mostly of the Qingxin Damao variety, and must be picked 45 days before the summer tea. After being lightly roasted to make green tea and oolong tea, the aromas and falvors are quite wonderful, Hsiao says.
Hsu Shih-wen, owner of the Jih Hsin Tea Plantation in Toufen, says that spring teas are harvested around the time of the Tomb-Sweeping Festival, while the Dragon Boat Festival is usually when the first summer harvest takes place. The second summer harvest occurs around the time of the 11th and 12th solar terms of the traditional 24 solar terms. Autumn teas are harvested around the time of the Mid-Autumn Festival, while winter teas are harvested during the 19th solar term, or “the start of winter.”
Hsu comes from a family of tea farmers and won the gold medal in the black tea division of the Taiwan Superior Organic Tea Contest. Hsu says that in the 1970s Taiwan went from exporting tea to marketing it domestically, and started holding tea competitions. Taiwanese have gone from drinking less than 1kg per capita annually to more than 3kg, he says.(Liberty Times, Translated by Kyle Jeffcoat)