- Oriental Beauty Background
- Oriental Beauty Preparation
Our Oriental Beauty oolong is smooth and rich with excellent mouth-feel. It opens with a sultry sweetness and light toast notes and has a lingering finish with a golden fruit character. The infusion is quite orange with bright copper highlights. A Taiwanese supreme oolong that exhibits the famous toast and jam character very well.
Ingredients: Artisan oolong tea
For a semi-fermented tea Oriental Beauty is quite highly oxidized--in the vicinity of 65 - 70%. It is traditionally crafted and formed in small batches in the open-leaf style and is hand sorted. To create the tea, only the fine white tips of freshly sprouted tea are plucked along with the small tender white buds that appear with new growth. The leaves and buds are gently rolled and left to oxidize briefly in the sun, gently darkening them and helping develop their delicate floral character. Next, the leaves are moved to the dryer where they are fired at high heat to lock in their exceptional flavor.
Oriental Beauty came into being in the late 19th century when Taiwan started exporting its tea overseas. Legend has it that it made its way to England where the Queen herself dubbed it “Oriental Beauty.” Truth be told, it almost didn’t make it there! In summer the tea gardens of Taiwan were overcome by swarms of cricket-like insects (jassids) that would eat the edges of the tea leaves. The farmers didn’t even bother to harvest the leaves because poor quality tea did not command a high enough price to make it worth their while. However, one farmer in Hsin Chu county didn't accept this fate. He harvested these bitten leaves nonetheless and managed to sell them for a high price to John Dodd, a prominent trader of the time. Today we know that the use of tea leaves infested by the jassids leads to higher contents of volatil aroma components in the finished tea. Today’s tea farmers use this to their advantage in the manufacture of Oriental Beauty.
Water Temperature: 175-195 degrees
Water Quality: Best with Spring Water
Amount of Leaf (per 6 fl oz water): 1Tbl. (2-3 grams)
Steep Time: 2-3 minutes
Number of Infusions: Up to 5 depending upon brewing method
Oriental Beauty can be brewed using the Western method using 2-3 grams of tea (about 1 Tbl) to 6 ounces of 180 to 195 degree water. Steep up to three times for 2-3 minutes each infusion. It can also be brewed gongfu style using an earthenware pot or a gaiwan using a high leaf to water ratio. We recommend using 5-6 grams (approximately 2 rounded Tbl.) per 6 ounces of water. Bring the water to approximately 180 degrees--just below the boiling point. Put the tea into a prewarmed pot or gaiwan and pour the water directly over the tea leaves. Steep for approximately 40 seconds. Using this method you can get 4-6 infusions. Increase time & temperature with each infusion. If using a pot with a mesh infuser, remove the leaves and set aside for the second infusion. If using a pot without an infuser, decant the tea into a serving pitcher or directly into the cups, but do not leave the leaves in the water. We strongly encourage our customers to use teapots with large mesh infusers to allow the leaves to fully expand in the water. The infuser can then be removed after the preferred steeping time and then re-used for subsequent infusions. Failing that, we recommend decanting the tea into a clean warm pot or serving pitcher.