Bai Hao "Oriental Beauty"

This semi-oxidized tea (and thus from the Oolong type) is to be classified in a category of its own. It is commonly said that on Taiwan Island, in the Hsin Zhu region where this tea is produced, the plantations are, each year at the same time, the prey of an insect which sucks the leaves’ sap and start the withering while they are still on the branch. The leaves wrinkle and loose this dishevelled and gaudy aspect typical of this ”Orient Beauty”, which is said to have received this nickname from Queen Elisabeth II. According to other sources, this is the name given by the Portuguese to the Taiwan Island and would be the origin of this name (Formosa means ”beautiful” in Latin). As always with tea, it is difficult to know what proportion of this is a legend. This tea is also known by another name, Bai Hao Oolong, which means “white tip oolong”.This semi-oxidized tea (and thus from the Oolong type) is to be classified in a category of its own. It is commonly said that on Taiwan Island, in the Hsin Zhu region where this tea is produced, the plantations are, each year at the same time, the prey of an insect which sucks the leaves’ sap and start the withering while they are still on the branch.

 

The leaves wrinkle and loose this dishevelled and gaudy aspect typical of this ”Orient Beauty”, which is said to have received this nickname from Queen Elisabeth II. According to other sources, this is the name given by the Portuguese to the Taiwan Island and would be the origin of this name (Formosa means ”beautiful” in Latin). As always with tea, it is difficult to know what proportion of this is a legend. This tea is also known by another name, Bai Hao Oolong, which means “white tip oolong”.The infused leaves give a liquor of a beautiful copper color, with aromas extraordinarily fruity, flowery and wooden. With a honey and a rose flavour without any astringency, this is an extremely pleasant tea, which can be drunk as a hot or cold beverage.The hot infusion is done at a temperature that can vary, following the tastes and circumstances, between 75° and 85°. The higher the temperature, the shorter the infusion must be, from 10 to 20 seconds, in order to preserve the flavour of this delicate tea.For a cold infusion, count about 1g of leaves for about 1 dl of water, and let it soak for six hours. That way one get an excellent iced tea.Whatever the chosen method, one must be vigilant and not infuse for too long as the tea could become close to a banal and ordinary red tea.