Emei Oriental Beauty Tea, an exotic and enchanting tea from Taiwan
Before talking about this tea, I need to talk about this particular type of bug. This tiny, harmless bug is called tea jassid, or sometimes known as small green leafhopper. Our little friend here is the secret “ingredient” to the unique sweetness from this famous Taiwanese tea.
Tea name: Emei Oriental Beauty Tea (東方美人, Dong Fang Mei Ren)
Origin: Emei, Hsichu, Taiwan
Harvest: summer 2021
Cultivar: Chin shin dah pan (青心大冇)
So here’s what happened: tea jassid is officially known as Jacobiaasca Formosana. It thrives in a pollution-free environment. When the bug nibbles on the leaves and stems of the tea trees, it triggers the tea trees to produce more monoterpene idol and hotrienol, which then give the processed tea a honey like sweetness.
That being said, albeit my purposely misused term “ingredient”, the bug is no where in the finished tea. Rest assured. Not only that, since this bug is so sensitive to its environment, teas produced this way are naturally organic.
This particular cultivar is said to be the best for this type of tea making. According to the Tea Research and Extension Station, COA of Taiwan, this varietal is slightly taller. New leaves is green with a hint of purple. Although not particularly drought tolerant, it’s over all pretty resilient with good yields.
This tea is incredibly floral. I would almost use floral perfume with a hint of lychee to describe its aroma. The rounded, honey-like sweetness is very unique to this tea. It also has a hint of orange in the finish. It’s a beautiful and uplifting tea.
How to brew it
I’m including 2 different recipes for this tea. The first one while not my favorite, does bring out so much of that intense aroma and sweetness. I’ve always appreciate subtlety in teas, so the second recipe, which may not give you the same wow factor, still has lots of rose notes, and hint of honey, way less astringency.
Recipe 1: intense aroma and ultimate sweetness, however slightly astringent in the aftertaste
Water temperature: 200c
First brew: 150g water, steep for 5 minutes
Second brew: 150g water, steep for 15 minutes
Recipe 2: roses and honey
Water temperature: 180 ~ 190°F
Pre-rinse: quick rinse, no steep
First brew: 150g water, steep for 3 minutes
Second brew: 150g water, steep for 10 minutes
Third brew: 150g water, steep for 20 minutes
Where to get it
I purchased this tea together with other samples from a premium tea seller, Tea Scholar, from Taiwan. Shipping costs US$42.5, takes about a week.
I also did a quick google search, and found that Adhara, Tealyra, Tea and Whisk and Adagio Teas all has this type of tea available.