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Small Trips of Finding Taiwan’s Black Tea Itinerary Recommended by Food Writer Ye Yi-Lan

Pictures courtesy of: Ye Yi-Lan

Agriculture travel has raised a burst of upsurge in Taiwan in recent year. People devote particular care to the LOHAS spirit of local leisure and freshly-collected ingredients that most of them will take a trip to all parts of the country on holidays to enjoy the breathtaking view and taste native foods. Though there are many who love to drink tea in Taiwan, only a few truly know about the production of Taiwanese premium black tea. Had we not interviewed Ye Yi-Lan, the well-known food writer and the spokesman of traceability agricultural product, we would not have realized the fact that the black tea of Taiwan is highly praised by the tea dealer from India, the country famous for its black tea production.

Trip of Finding Taiwan’s Savory Black Tea, Yuchih Township in Nantou is the Foremost

“If you want to go on a trip of discovering Taiwan’s savory black tea, the regions of Sun Moon Lake in Yuchih Township possess the matures industrial development,” said Ye Yi-Lan. The origin of Taiwanese black tea can be traced back to the beginning of Japanese Occupation Period. As Japan is located in temperate climate zone, it is more suitable for the country to grow green tea. Therefore, the Japanese tended to make a special effort to scheme out countless black tea production areas in those years. Between the 1920s and 1930s, “Daily Club”, the black tea produced in Nantou Yuchih, Puli and Shuili, once went viral around the world, and great success was gained thus.<br/><br/>With regard to the feature of Nantou’s black tea, Ye Yi-Lan recommends particularly the preference of her choice, the “Ruby Black Tea”. “Developed by the mixture of Burmese large-leaf variety and Taiwan Tea, Ruby Black Tea carries the peculiar wild scent of camellia apart from the original delicate flavor, which is very special,” According to Ye Yi-Lan, both Ruby Black Tea and Assam Black Tea are suitable for being made into milk tea by adding milk.<br/><br/>The tea culture of Yuchih Township is completely preserved. If interested, everybody is welcome to visit the tea research and extension station by applying for the tour in advance and take a trip to the peripheral scenic spots. The Tea Research and Extension Station Yuchih branch still keeps the traditional British factory building, which is rarely-seen in Taiwan, to this day. It is built by imitating the tea factories the British people have put up in India and Ceylon. Visitors can visit tea plantation and learn about the variety and history of black tea inside the tea research and extension station. In addition, the neighboring Antique Assam Tea Farm is also worth visiting: many package programs are offered to allow the public to understand more about tea culture, such as learning how to make cold brew tea and hot brew tea, listening to the introduction of tea manufacturing machine, and etc. Antique Assam Tea Farm also serves vegetarian feast which claims to be made from native crops “within 50 kilometers away from the tea farm” to meet the expectation of happy life diet, the so-called “from farm to table” the modern people have for food safety and health.<br/><br/>“You may also want to take a trip to Shiang-Cha Alley in Xincheng Village if paying a visit to Yuchih. Aside from being the celebrated cherry blossom viewing spot, Shiang-Cha Alley is where the locals are sparing no effort in promoting natural farming without fertilizer.” Ye Yi-Lan added.

Small Trips of Finding Taiwan’s Black Tea Itinerary Recommended by Food Writer Ye Yi-Lan
▲The greatest happiness of tea sampling in Yuchih Township is to have the fascinating scenery of Sun Moon Lake by your side.
Small Trips of Finding Taiwan’s Black Tea Itinerary Recommended by Food Writer Ye Yi-Lan
▲The traditional British building inside Yuchih Tea Research and Extension Station.
Small Trips of Finding Taiwan’s Black Tea Itinerary Recommended by Food Writer Ye Yi-Lan
▲A corner of Yuchih Tea Research and Extension Station.
An accidental Surprise Left by Amrasca Biguttula, World-famous Hualien Mi Xiang Black Tea

“Amrasca Biguttula, which used to be regarded as a destructive insect, actually deserves all the credit for the debut of honey-scented black tea,” Ye Yi-Lan explained. The popular, bestselling honey-scented black tea is derived from Oriental Beauty Oolong Tea, another Taiwan's representative famous tea. Oriental Beauty Oolong Tea is in fact an unexpected product that nobody could have thought of its happening at then. The tea tree was bitten by Amrasca Biguttula (leafhopper) and thought to have a negative effect on the texture of the tea. It turned out that the sucking behavior performed by Amrasca Biguttula had enabled the tea tree to ooze a sort of aroma synthetic substance which increased the sugar alcohol in the core bud and young leaves of the tea. Nowadays, not only a proper noun “infestation” is used to describe “leafhopper’s behavior of feeding on plant tissues of tea leaves”, many tea gardens even deliberately create environments suitable for the leafhoppers to perch.<br/><br/> “Anyone who wishes to visit Hualien Ruisui for finding tea should try to enjoy the taste of native fruits as well,” Ye Yi-Lan suggested, “Fenglin watermelon from Hualien is excellent in quality. The fruit, once assigned for state banquet, is honored as state banquet watermelon. The pomelos that fruit in local area during autumn are also worth trying. Whereas the pomelos from Madou are soft and delicate in texture, Hegong pomelo is crunchy and refreshing.”<br/><br/>If visitors are planning a trip to both Hualien and Taitung, do not miss the tea plantation and tea research and extension station on Luye tableland. “The famous Luye red oolong tea is a very distinctive product which integrates the concept of black tea and oolong tea. In addition, 2626 rural market is an awesome place to look for treasures.” Ye Yi-Lan Recommended. On the second Saturday of each month, hundreds of stalls will gather at Wuling Green Tunnel in Taitung Luye to display local specialties including roselle, Fulu tea, homemade steamed bread of hometown flavor, Bunun hand-knit articles and etc. for sale. Everything becomes available that all kinds of seasonal products can be found at this market.<br/>

Small Trips of Finding Taiwan’s Black Tea Itinerary Recommended by Food Writer Ye Yi-Lan
▲The sweet flavor of Hualien honey-scented black tea is highly favored and deeply loved by many people.
Small Trips of Finding Taiwan’s Black Tea Itinerary Recommended by Food Writer Ye Yi-Lan
▲The accident of leafhopper’s infestation brought up the renowned honey-scented black tea.
Small Trips of Finding Taiwan’s Black Tea Itinerary Recommended by Food Writer Ye Yi-Lan
▲It is recommended that you learn about the manufacturing process of honey-scented black tea and carry out an in-depth tea culture travel while going on a farm tour to Hualien.
Small Trips of Finding Taiwan’s Black Tea Itinerary Recommended by Food Writer Ye Yi-Lan
▲Taitung Luye red oolong tea is developed upon integrating the process of making black tea and oolong tea. It has a very distinctive flavor.
Trip to Alishan Tea Plantation, Finding Good Tea in All Seasons

Speaking of going on a tea quest in Taiwan, one should never miss the plantation on Alishan. Though Alishan is famous for the oolong tea it produces in spring and winter, for example TTES No.12 (Alishan Jinxuan) the black tea in summer, the black tea rolled out in summer is also a must-have item for tea lovers.<br/>“The black tea produced in Alishan is different from the ones of other areas. Made through the integration of timely daylight withering method of oolong tea, Alishan black tea is rather delicate in texture as it belongs to a small-leaf variety,” analyzed by Ye Yi-Lan. Diverse tea varieties are grown throughout the year, which enables higher land utilization performance and efficiency of Alishan tea plantation. There are many tea gardens in Rueili region: lots of cedars were originally planted on the land. Rich in organic matter, the soil is conducive to the planting of tea leaves.<br/><br/>It is recommended that the visit to other tourist attractions such as Yuntan Waterfall, Swallow Cliff and Bat Caves along the way be paid, together with rural foods and native mountain delicacies be savored if visitors would like to go on a quest for tea in Alishan.

Small Trips of Finding Taiwan’s Black Tea Itinerary Recommended by Food Writer Ye Yi-Lan
▲In addition to the celebrated high mountain oolong tea, Alishan black tea is also popular with the tourists.
Small Trips of Finding Taiwan’s Black Tea Itinerary Recommended by Food Writer Ye Yi-Lan
▲ Alishan black tea is made through the integration of timely daylight withering, which is the method for producing oolong tea.
Small Trips of Finding Taiwan’s Black Tea Itinerary Recommended by Food Writer Ye Yi-Lan
▲Through the production of black tea in summer, the economic efficiency of Alishan tea plantation is greatly improved.
About Ye Yi-Lan
Ye Yilan is a food and travel writer, the website founder of “Yilan Foods and Delicacies of Life” at www.yilan.com.tw, the chief editor of creative publishing department at PEKOE, the spokesman of experts in traceable agricultural products, Council of Agriculture, and the establisher of “PEKOE food grocery shop”. Her literary works include “My Home, My Way”, “Traveler’s Window”, “The Original Taste of Food”, “Good Travel on Good Days”, “The Authentic Savor of Food”, “Luxury Hotels – My Perfect Getaway”, and “The Journey to Black Tea”. Many of her books have been published in simplified Chinese in China. Special columns, articles and photography works can be found issuing by major Chinese media in various regions. Try searching for “Yilan” on her Facebook fan page.
Small Trips of Finding Taiwan’s Black Tea Itinerary Recommended by Food Writer Ye Yi-Lan