The Journey of Tea

[Tea Book] Learn the past, know the future: The Exploration of Dong-Ding Oolong Tea History

[Tea Book] Learn the past, know the future: The Exploration of Dong-Ding Oolong Tea History

The history of Dong-Ding oolong tea can be traced back to Daoguang Reign 23rd Year (1843), the time when the plantation of tea was mainly Shi-Cha (wild tea).

In Guangxu Reign Year 20 (1894), the book"Yunlin County Interview Book - Sa-Lian Bao" mentioned that "Dong-Ding mountain is on the 19 km to the east in the county. It is divided by the Phoenix Mountain, from the tortuous and flat road for 3 to 4 km rising to the Big Shuikutou. For 1 to 2 km is the high and low combination, with forest standing erectly and elegantly. Fogs are covering up the top of the mountain. The village consists of dozens of families. The tortuous routes are mostly for planting tea trees. Lan,Lu-Zhou once visited Taiwan and went to Sa-Lian, appreciating this tea as finest tea, identifying its aroma as fresh and special, and its possibility of easing heatstroke and abdominal distension, worth purchasing."

This was the first time that Dong-Ding mountain was mentioned in the literature, which was appreciated by the public.

What's interesting is that the way Dong-Ding oolong tea has been categorized differently from literature written by different ethnic groups.

In the early days of Taiwan, teas were subdivided into Paochong tea and Oolong tea. Paochong tea included Wenshan Paochong tea from Taipei and Dong-Ding Oolong tea from Nantou, whereas Oolong tea implied Oriental Beauty tea.  (Lin,Yi-Heng and Ww,Zhen-Duo in 1986. Paochong, Oolong, Tieguanyin Production, and Comment. Executive Yuan Youth Development Administration)

Wenshan Paochong tea is the strip-type oolong while Dong-Ding oolong tea is the ball type oolong. The processing craftsmanship of ball type oolong tea was recorded as following: in Showa Era Year 15 (1939-1941), Wang,Tai-You went to Dong-Ding, and passed on the cloth-wrapping production method from Anxi Tieguanyin, which adopted the cloth-wrapping technique to process teas.

Until today, we are still able to find the successors of Mr. Wang,Tai-You in the Dong-Ding tea region. Based on their memory, even though the quality of the tea processed by Mr. Wang was very good, the labor and spirit efforts made was extremely tiring.

Before the craftsmanship of ball type method was introduced to Taiwan, both Paochong tea and Dong-Ding oolong tea were strip type.

Taisho Era Year 12 (1923), from the book of "Taiwan Special Science Professor Data Interpretation", article no. 37, we can see that Paochong tea and Oolong tea are divided into two different categories. From the process of Oolong tea, we can assume that this is for Dong-Ding oolong tea, but without the kneading step.

The craftsmanship for the tea process mentioned in the book is rather interesting, such as bamboo tray weathering (indoor weathering) expecting green leaves with red edges and rolling requiring rolling with feet. (Taipei Municipal Xu-Xun-Chang elementary school, Oko Luji(1923). "Taiwan Special Science Professor Data Interpretation" Oko Bookstore)

The process of Taiwanese tea was rarely recorded in history, and it often only appeared within a paragraph in literature. On the way to this journey, the photo accidentally found has captured the tea plantation scenery at that time.

The early period of tea plucking in Phoenix village. Behind the tea garden is Phoenix Mountain.

Pout child can't play because of busy parents.

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