Tea production in Taiwan began after a mass migration of millions of people from China during the middle of the 19th Century. Immigrants brought tea cultivars and oolong processing knowledge from Southern Fujian which evolved to produce modern oolong styles such as bai, hao, bao zhong, high mountain oolong, and iron goddess of mercy. In the past 15 years many Taiwanese tea producers have left the small, crowded island of Taiwan in search of new places to produce oolong. Thailand, and South and Central China are now home to Taiwanese tea producers looking to explore different terroir while continuing to produce popular Taiwanese styles that combine flavors familiar and new.
The finest example of a tea style born in Taiwan is bai hao, which translates to “white tipped.” Unlike the stripe-shaped teas of Northern Fujian and Guangdong, and the globe-shaped teas of Southern Fujian, bai hao has its own shape, as well as its own process and picking standard. Both the pekoe and orange pekoe leaf are used. The finished tea has a slightly rolled, twisted shape to it. The major revelation is the leaf begins to oxidize before harvest. This gives the finished tea leaves a variety of colors and creates the unmistakable flavor.
Thailand has become a landing place for Taiwanese tea producers searching for the proper conditions to produce oolong. Our White Tipped Oolong from Doi Mae Salong, Thailand carries on the tradition of amazing tea outside of the small island of its origin.
Traditionally, bai hao undergoes a lengthy oxidation process that creates a deep, reddish-orange cup color and fruity flavors with notes reminiscent of baking spice. Growing in popularity are lighter oxidized versions following mostly the same process, but they are considerably lighter in color - a golden orange hue - and they lack the more classic baking spice notes. Our White Tipped Oolong is very lightly oxidized for the style. While a classic apricot note is present, a citrus-like acidity makes this tea stand out. Low astringency and a lingering perfumed finish further exemplify the craft taken to produce this amazing oolong.
Using a gaiwan, rinse 6-7 grams of leaf with water slightly cooler than boiling, about 200-205°F. Steep the first infusion for 1 minute, the second for 45 seconds, increasing time for each additional infusion by 30-45 seconds.