About Oriental Beauty (Dong Feng Mei Ren)
Oriental Beauty was the most precious tea in 20th century Taiwan.
It traveled to the West and was given its name by an English Queen for the beautiful complexity of flavor. It is also known as champagne oolong or Bai Hao oolong.
Muscat grape is the signature aroma of this tea, brought to life by the tiny tea cricket Jacobiasca formosana. When the tea plant is bitten by this insect, its defense mechanism secretes a specific hormone for preservation. As the tea leaves with a high level of the hormone undergo intensive oxidation during tea processing, muscat-like aroma flourishes.
The tea crickets thrive in warmer weather and are especially active at the bookends of summer, causing the harvest to be extremely seasonal. The multi-colored and fine twisted tea leaves produce deep amber-colored infusion. Higher quality Oriental Beauty contains more tea buds, the white pieces of brow-shaped dry leaves coated with young tea buds' baby fuzz.
The tea infusion offers aromas of citrus and flowers. The coppery top note is complemented by scents of rose petals and sweet muscat grapes. The finish is long and full, rendering baked sweetness from honey-dipped figs. The depth of its aromas offers an exciting journey of flavor discovery that proves to be an endless delight.
The cultivar of our Oriental Beauty is called Qingxin, or Qing Xin, which translates to Green Heart. Qingxin is the most popular varietal for oolong teamaking in Taiwan. It produces the most aromatic, delicious and finest teas.
The name Oriental Beauty
There are two tales about the name Oriental Beauty
- According to legend, a British tea merchant presented this tea to Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom. After brewing, its appearance was breathtaking, similar to a beautiful dancer performing in a crystal cup. After tasting, the queen praised the tea and named it "Oriental Beauty".
- Around 1960, this same tea won a prize medal at the World Food Expo in the United Kingdom, therefor was dedicated to Queen Elizabeth II. After tasting it, she was delighted by how gorgeous and beautiful the tea was and named it "Oriental Beauty Tea."
Note: There is no evidence to support the veracity of these stories.
Chinese Name: 東方美人
Alternative Name: Dong Feng Mei Ren, Fan Zhuang, Eastern Beauty, Pekoe Oolong
Origin: Emei, Hsinchu County, Taiwan
Cultivar: Qingxin da mao (Bitten by Tea Jassid)
Elevation: Sea Level
Flavor Profile: Rose, citrus, muscat grape, honeyed figs
Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied, heady, complex, velvety
These instructions are for reference only, a starting point for brewing this tea. Brewing tea can be made in a variety of different ways.
Quantity of Tea: 6 grams
Quantity of Water: 237 ml / 8 oz
Water Temperature: 208°F / 98°C
Steep Time: 2 minutes / + 1 minute per infusion
Number of Infusions: 4~5