Taiwanese Tea

The subtropical island of Taiwan sits on the Tropic of Cancer, off the coast of Fujian Province, and is well known today for its exquisite oolong teas. The humid, moist climate and variation in elevation—an extensive mountain range runs almost the entire length of the island—has been beneficial for the tea plant's cultivation. There are records of tea production dating from the early 1700s in Nantou County, but the import of cultivars from Wuyi (in Fujian) in the mid-1800s firmly established the industry.

Competition with China and other major tea-producing nations in the second half of the 1900s led Taiwan to specialization in oolongs. Types such as Bao Chong, Oriental Beauty (bai hao), and High Mountain (gao shan) oolongs are some of the most renowned and valued. Taiwanese tea production has also been influenced by another factor: as a colony of Japan for fifty years (1895-1945), Japanese agricultural practices and techniques were incorporated throughout the island.

Through refinements to the gongfu cha style of preparation, the appreciation and enjoyment of tea is widespread in Taiwan today.