In the villages surrounding Sun Moon Lake in central Taiwan, black tea was developed for export by the Japanese during their occupation of Taiwan in the years preceeding and during WWII. Many of the major tea producing countries had an imposed embargo on tea exports during the war years, so the enterprising Japanese hit upon a scheme to produce black tea for export to the West. I don’t know if this scheme worked or not, but today black tea production in Taiwan is very, very small.
In Yuchin township, several small villages continue to work with the Yuchin Branch Tea Research and Extension Station to determine the best ways to revive interest in this unique black tea. Quality tea ( rather than quantity ) is the focus, and accordingly, these teas are carefully plucked by hand. Sun Moon Lake black tea has very large, thin, and twisted leaves and a soft, delicate flavor with a suggestion of sweet osmanthus, cinnamon and peppermint.
Our tea, however, is even more special. It is made in February by our friend Lisa’s great-uncle, a gentleman and former tea man in the Sun Moon Lake region. It is made with leaf from 100-yr-old wild tea trees ( not the tea bushes cloned by the Japanese tea researchers for their export black tea ) and it is hand-processed only once a year. He doesn’t sell his tea on the open market but makes just a bit for friends and family. We are thrilled to be included in this select group of those who are privileged to drink this fine tea.
This tea is delicious and has a good amount of dynamic cha qi which stems from the organic cultivation, healthy growing conditions and careful cultivation of these deeply-rooted 100 year old tea trees.
The quantity of tea that we have to sell is very small, so if you are interested in experiencing this truly delicious tea, you must act quickly.