Thick white clouds rolling in on a tea field in the Alishan high mountain tea region in Taiwan
January 20, 2023

Top 10 Most Popular Taiwanese Teas in 2022

In 2022, our most popular teas represented a diverse selection that showcase the range of flavors and aromas available within the world of Taiwanese Tea. From heavy roast oolongs to a light green tea, there is something for every tea lover in this list. Read on to see what were our top 10 most popular teas for 2022!

 

10. Traditional Dong Ding Oolong Tea

Starting off at number 10, we have Traditional Dong Ding Oolong. This is the pre-commercialized version of the now famous roasted version Dong Ding Oolong. It offers fruit pastry notes, finishing with tangy sweet, fully ripe fresh fruit qualities. It has a mild character, but has complexity on a more subtle level than its lightly oxidized High Mountain Tea or well-roasted Oolong relatives. This is the tea that originally made Lugu famous for its Oolong Tea!

9. Eco-Farmed GABA Oolong Tea

At number nine, we have Eco-Farmed GABA Oolong Tea. We coined the term Eco-Farmed to represent tea that is sourced from a certified organic tea farm. This farm is managed with the most natural farming methods we've seen in the local tea industry here in Taiwan. Our GABA Oolong has qualities of a delicate Black Tea, with the complexity and depth that defines Oolong Tea. It's mild in character, but very substantial and well balanced in its flavor profile. Smooth on the palate, with tangy, fruity notes, and a lasting heady finish.

GABA is the acronym for gamma-Aminobutyric acid, which is a naturally occurring neurotransmitter that is responsible for relaxation. In recent decades, GABA in the form of food supplements have become popular, with the claim of having stress-reducing qualities. Japanese scientists discovered a method of processing tea leaves that converts the glutamic acid in tea leaves into GABA.

Li Shan High Mountain tea field

Li Shan High Mountain Tea field

8. Li Shan High Mountain Oolong Tea

Next up at number eight, we have Li Shan High Mountain Oolong Tea. Li Shan, or Pear Mountain, is the most prestigious place name of all Taiwan's High Mountain Tea growing regions. Li Shan and its neighbor, Da Yu Ling, are the highest elevation tea growing regions in Taiwan. Elevation is only one contributing factor to this esteemed location, however, in terms of the ideal conditions for growing tea. It also is about the geographic positioning of this mountain ridge that faces northeast. The wind patterns that form in this landscape enhance the diurnal temperature variation, and bring daily fog that rises up from the valley floor below. Our Li Shan tea comes from a farm situated at the top of the ridge above a reservoir, from which the fog rises directly. At just over 2000m, our source is not the highest of the Li Shan farms, but it is positioned almost perfectly to reap the benefits of these daily weather patterns.

 

Classic Li Shan Tea is known for its extraordinary floral bouquet and purity of character. In the past, the highest elevation High Mountain Tea was oxidized the least in order to preserve its intrinsic fresh green characteristics. In recent years, craftsmen have ventured into using their own know-how and skill sets to produce a more full-flavored, substantial brew. We are in full support of this evolution!

7. Eco-Farmed Four Seasons Spring Oolong Tea

At number seven, we have Eco-Farmed Four Seasons Spring Oolong Tea. This source of Four Seasons Spring Oolong Tea is distinctive for two main reasons. First, it is organically grown — without the use of chemical fertilizers which tend to produce a more "artificially enhanced flavor" in the tea leaves. When tea plants are fed more natural food, and the soil is encouraged to be more "alive" with its microbiology, the plants offer a more natural character in the flavor profile of the brewed tea. Secondly, the Four Seasons Spring cultivar is by nature exceptionally fragrant, with pronounced floral notes — particularly when it is processed as a "green Oolong". Our source has systematically experimented with his produce and found a happy balance between fresh floral qualities and substantial composition to produce a more satisfying brew. He now employs a post production low temperature roast to fully dry the leaves, preserving their freshness.

Four Seasons Spring: A Taiwanese Breed

Around 1981, a Mu Zha tea farmer in Taipei County discovered a naturally occurring hybrid oolong in his tea garden that proved to be particularly suitable to the climate on Taiwan. Since then, it has gained popularity for its reliable produce and unique flavor and character. Now it is cultivated extensively as a signature oolong tea that is unique to the island of Taiwan.

6. Dong Ding Oolong Tea

At number six, we have Dong Ding Oolong Tea. Our Dong Ding Oolong Tea comes from Yonglong Village, on a ridge adjacent to Dong Ding Mountain. Yonglong is known for its rich soil which differs from other locales in Lu Gu Township. The unique flavor of the DongDing Oolong produced here is attributed to this soil quality, along with the fact this region is home to the most concentrated population of skilled oolong tea artisans in Taiwan.

 

This farm is managed by a father and son team who inherited their family tradition as artisans of Dong Ding Tea. Their tea has been awarded first prize in the world's largest Oolong tea competition, and they consistently achieve top awards in their local competition of traditionally made Dong Ding Oolong. Dong Ding Oolong is a medium oxidized, heavily roasted tea with a hearty, complex, and robust character.The initial steeping brings forth a complex bouquet of roasted vegetables, pine, and a touch of smokiness. On the palate, you get roasted sweet corn, nutty/fruity notes, and a tangy, heady finish with just the right touch of astringency.

5. Bi Luo Chun Green Tea

At number five, we have Bi Luo Chun Green Tea. Bi Luo Chun Green Tea has an exceptionally delicate and pure character, since the tender new leaf buds undergo the least processing possible after being harvested. The flavor profile is very refined, with subtle nuances of flavor in a very light brew. The tea tree varietal that is used to make Bi Luo Chun produce especially fuzzy and plump leaf buds, providing the distinctive character of this tea.

Taiwanese Bi Luo Chun Green Tea is only produced in the Sanxia (Three Gorges) District, on the south side of New Taipei City. Sanxia is the only region in Taiwan that has maintained the pre-modern system of tea farmers selling their fresh produce to centralized tea factories. Dozens of farms supply only a few factories. This is a relatively sustainable method that dates back to the Qing Dynasty.

 

Another sustainable and safe farming practice in Bi Luo Chun Green Tea production is that no pesticides are used throughout the entire growing season. This is because very young, tender leaves are picked every 7-14 days for making this type of tea, so the harvest is basically ongoing. The only time pesticides are used at all on these farms is when the trees are pruned, which typically in once every 2-3 years.

4. Jin Xuan Oolong Tea

At number four, we have Jin Xuan Oolong Tea. Jin Xuan is the name of a Taiwanese hybrid cultivar that is known for its creamy, buttery flavor and floral aroma. Our Jin Xuan comes the most active tea roaster and merchant we know. He enters virtually every Oolong Tea competition in central Taiwan, including the largest and most prestigious Oolong Tea competition in the world. He consistently achieves high ratings in all of these competitions.

Shan Lin Xi High Mountain tea field

Shan Lin Xi High Mountain Tea field

3. Shan Lin Xi High Mountain Oolong Tea

At number four, we have Shan Lin Xi High Mountain Oolong Tea. This tea is made from leaves grown at high elevations in the Shan Lin Xi region of Nantou County, Taiwan. The Shan Lin Xi region was the earliest development of of High Mountain Tea in the 1980’s. This is because it's located directly above the Dong Ding Oolong Tea producing region, which is home to the highest concentration of Oolong Tea makers on Taiwan.

The fact that Shan Lin Xi Tea is made by the most experienced Oolong tea makers on Taiwan, and that is in an ideal geographical location and climate for tea production, we value it the highest of all the high elevation tea growing regions on Taiwan.

Alishan High Mountain tea country

Alishan High Mountain tea country

2. Alishan High Mountain Jin Xuan Oolong Tea

Coming in at number two was Alishan High Mountain Jin Xuan Oolong Tea. Our Alishan Jin Xuan High Mountain OolongTea is cultivated on a residential farm, run by a husband and wife team, with their own factory, and surrounded by forest. It embodies pretty much everything we aspire to support in the local industry, and represent to tea lovers around the world. This homestead farm is among the highest elevation farms in the valley, with no residential development above it.

Jin Xuan, or Tai Cha #12 is a Taiwanese cultivar that continues to gain popularity both here in the local farming industry and among tea lovers all over the globe. It is highly versatile in terms of adapting to variations in climate and growing conditions, and it can be made into virtually any type of tea. We've enjoyed Jin Xuan tea leaves made into Green Tea, Black Tea, unroasted Oolong, and roasted Oolong. In short, it works across the board. Jin Xuan has become most popularly known as a minimally oxidized, unroasted tea that offers a flavor profile that has given it the nickname "Milky Oolong" due its smooth buttery character and aroma.

Alishan High Mountain Oolong tea country

Clouds rolling in on a Alishan High Mountain Tea field

1. Alishan High Mountain Oolong Tea

And in number one again was Alishan High Mountain Oolong Tea. Alishan is the southernmost High Mountain Tea producing region, with the Tropic of Cancer running through it. Being further south, it gets more direct sunlight, combined with almost daily afternoon fog that rises from the valleys below. These farms are at 1100-1400m elevation, providing the ideal growing conditions for this produce.

 

The source of this tea is a very reputable wholesale source for tea merchants throughout Taiwan and mainland China. Their tea is often sold before it is finished being made. We have seen professional competition players visit the factory during harvest time, assess the daily batches of tea half way through their curing process, and make large volume orders. In short, High Mountain Oolong Tea from this source is some of the best of its type on the market.

That wraps up our list of top 10 most popular teas for 2022! These teas not only represent the rich and unique flavors of Taiwan, but also the hard work and dedication of local farmers and communities that grow them. We hope this list will inspire you to explore the world of Taiwanese teas and discover your new favorite brew. Whether you're a tea connoisseur or simply looking to try something new, these teas are sure to delight.

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