Imperial Formosan

 

Formosan teas were first introduced to the West in 1869 by John Dodd, a British entrepreneur living in Taiwan. The teas were very well received by the upper classes in both New York and London, and soon became the infusion of choice for the wealthy and discerning.

Following of a series of historical events, Formosan teas became lost to the Western world. The Japanese occupation of 1895-1945, two world wars, trade embargoes and postwar tension with Communist China disrupted Taiwan’s international tea trade.

The recovery began with Taiwan’s economic miracle in the late 1970′s. Strong domestic demand led to a tea renaissance.

Green Gold

Often referred to as ‘green gold’ because they fetch premium prices, high-mountain Formosan teas are considered the pinnacle of teas by connoisseurs worldwide.

Supply is limited and prices are high due to the complexities and costs of farming at such high elevation. The highest gardens are 2,600 meters above sea level.

Mountain Mist

Tea plants grown at high elevation are thought to produce richer, more complex flavoured teas. This is due to several key factors unique to the tea gardens of Formosa.

The tea plants are nourished and cooled by pure spring mountain water. They are regularly exposed to warm sunlight in the morning, before being shrouded in mist and clouds during the afternoon. These mountain mists prevent overexposure to direct sunlight, leaving the young tea leaves tender and succulent.

Additionally, the cold temperatures at night slow the growth of the plants, creating the high density of amino acids which makes for such rich and complex flavours.

The unique growing conditions that Formosan teas enjoy tell only half the story.
It is the artisan preparation of the teas that constitutes the other half of the Formosan Tea story.

Tea artisans