Tea Recipe

Recipe | Oriental Beauty Oolong Tea Raw Chocolate

Oriental Beauty Oolong Tea Raw Chocolate

Making healthy raw chocolate is so easy, I couldn't believe it when a dear friend shared her recipe. This recipe is vegan, raw and gluten free but still taste all in all amazing and no less chocolate-y than the regular chocolates. I have been making this when I visit friends and for coworkers at the office. The recipe only takes 30 minutes so it's possible to make this from start to finish while waiting for laundry!

Ingredients

Steps

  1. Grind oriental beauty oolong tea down to powder
  2. Combine all ingredients together in a double boiler or in a bowl inside a bigger bowl that is filled with hot water. 
  3. Mix the mixture till the texture is smooth
  4. Pour the mixture into chocolate molds or baking tray 
  5. Let the chocolates rest in the freezer for an hour or fridge for 3 hour

Alternative fun flavour ideas

This recipe is easy and versatile, you can add any flavours you like to it. Our suggestions include Iron Buddha Oolong Tea with walnuts, Red Jade Black Tea with peppermint and Chamomile with a little bit of rosemary.

Enjoy the healthy raw chocolates with our Iron Buddha Oolong Tea Bourbon Soy Latte. Try the soy latte recipe here!

Tea Recipe

Recipe | Iron Buddha Oolong Tea Bourbon Soy Latte

Iron Buddha Oolong Tea Bourbon Soy Latte

This has become my weekend morning ritual drink. It started with waking up one crispy November morning faced with the choice of either roast oolong tea or home made soy milk. So why not combine the two? Turned out it's pretty awesome. The smokey roast flavours of Iron Buddha compliments the gentle sweet soy milk and the touch of bourbon spice makes it complex with a kick. 

Ingredients

  • Soy milk 300ml (semi sweet)
  • Iron Buddha Oolong 3g (roasted oolong)
  • Dash of bourbon
  • Pinch of anise 

Steps

  • Roughly grind rolled ball shape iron buddha oolong.
  • Bring soy milk, tea and anise  to a light simmer in a pot (do not leave the pot as it will boil over quite fast)
  • Strain the tea and anise out while pouring the mixture into your mug
  • Add a dash of Bourbon

Done and done. Now, to add a 'holiday feel' to it, replace soy milk with eggnog! Yummy. 
Pair this latte with our Oriental Beauty Oolong Tea Raw Chocolate recipe!

Tea Recipe

Recipe | Red Jade Black Tea Infused Raw Chocolate

Happy holiday! With secret santa gift exchanges and holiday dinner hosting coming up, we are here to help you! This tea infused raw chocolate recipe is one that everyone would love and it's easy to make with minimum effort. Read on, we'll teach you how to make tea infused raw chocolate. 

The Red Jade Black Tea Infused Raw Chocolate Recipe

Utensils

  • pot or pan
  • stainless steel or tempered glass bowl
  • wooden spoon
  • spatula
  • mortar and pestle
  • tray (we use 15 cm x 15 cm pan)

Ingredients

Makes one 15cm x 15 cm x 3cm chocolate block

  • chocolate 200g (sweet or bitter, it's up to you!)
  • butter 35g
  • cream 100ml
  • honey 5g (replace with maple syrup for a Canadian touch)
  • Red Jade Black Tea 3g 

Steps

30 minutes to make and 10 minutes to cut

  1. Grind Red Jade Black Tea into powder form with mortar and pestle.
  2. Combine chopped chocolate and butter together in a double boiler setup.
  3. In a small pot, combine cream, honey and tea under low heat. Turn off the heat immediately when it starts to simmer then let it rest for 2 minutes.
  4. Combine both mixtures then pour into the tray.
  5. Place in freezer for at least one hour for the mixture to solidify.
  6. Take out and cut them into 2.5cm x 2.5cm squares.
  7.  Optional decoration is to sprinkle coco powder.

Alternative Flavour Ideas:
Iron Buddha Oolong with a pinch of lavender
Oriental Beauty Oolong with a pinch of cinnamon


Tea Learning

Learn | Health Benefits of Cold Brew Tea

Cold Brew Tea Health Benefits

What's the difference between our cold brew tea and other tea drinks out there? That's a question we get a lot so we're here to tell you point by point!

 
 


1.    Zero calories. Our goal is to offer healthy drink. What's a healthy drink? Zero calories and no additional sweeteners. It's that simple.

2.    Catechin. It's an antioxidant and flavonoid. It helps you fight free radicals and protects you from a number of diseases. Teas contain catechins naturally.

3.    Less tannin. Tannin is what's making teas and wine bitter and complex however, cold brewing  extracts less tannin which means the teas will taste less bitter while maintaining it's complexity. (This is technically not a health benefit but hey, the teas taste better right?)

4.    Less caffeine. Cold water brewing extracts half the normal caffeine amount which means it’ll be better for your stomach and sleeping problems.

5.    Fresh. We source and brew our teas fresh and bottle them raw so you’ll always drink fresh teas that still contain all their health benefits.

6.    Clean. We directly work with Taiwanese tea farmers which means we can make sure the teas are safe and clean for consumption. In addition, we add no extra artificial flavours because we believe in natural flavours and clean drinks.

Enjoy the cold brew tea everybody! 

Tea Learning

Learn | Famous Taiwan Tea #2 Oriental Beauty Oolong

What's the second famous Taiwanese tea on our list? 

#2 Oriental Beauty Oolong 

Let's start with some weird facts. There's multiple names for this tea each with different reasons. Here's what we know,

Yanzai Tea 煙仔茶
Yanzai refers to the green leaf hoppers

Pongfong Tea 澎風茶
Pongfong meaning bluffing because it was sold at high prices when it was thought to be worthless

Oriental Beauty Oolong 東方美人茶
Named by British royalties for it's beautiful colours and shapes. It seemed like a lady dancing in the tea pot.

White Tip Oolong 白毫烏龍
White tip refers to the white buds that are caused by the hoppers

Champagne Oolong 香檳烏龍
A name given for its high status among the oolongs

Five Colour Tea 五色茶
Referring to the 5 colours of the dry leaves

DSC_0714.JPG

Where's the origin? Oriental Beauty Oolong were first made in north western part of Taiwan, at a low altitude of around 600m between the plains and the mountains and mostly by Hakka people. Emei 峨眉, Baosan 寶山 and Beibu 北埔 are the three major production town in Hsinchu, Taiwan. This pesticide free method inspired the creation of 'honey scented black tea' in east coast Taiwan.  

 Old picture of Hsinchu taken early 1900s. 

Old picture of Hsinchu taken early 1900s. 

What makes the tea unique and what's the tea like? The invention of Oriental Beauty Oolong began with green leaf hoppers and a few hardworking Hakka people in Taiwan. Bitten tea leaves are consider ruined but Hakka people, known for their frugal character, decided to make it into tea for the family to drink. Green leaf hoppers populate during summer times in Taiwan. They are about 2.5mm with yellow green body, beige feelers and grey white eyes. Green leaf hoppers feast on the tea leaf juices like vegetarian vampires. The leaves' natural chemistry reaction is to produce more polyphenols and tea tannin. The bitten tea leaves grow slower and curls up while the tea buds turn harder and yellow white in colour. The production process is a rare heavy oxidization at 75~85 % with an additional second oxidization step. The result is a unique one of a kind honey and ripe fruit flavours along with orange and maple leaf tea liquid colours. It's sweet, full body and easy drinking.

Oriental Beauty Oolong is often expensive. Why the high price you ask? Because it takes double the amount of fresh tea leaves to make the same weight of tea compare to other teas. The second reason is because we got to rely on the green leaf hoppers to do the biting!

How do you choose good Oriental Beauty Oolongs? Look for dry tea leaves with multiple colours, red, white, brown and green. And for the top notch Oriental Beauty Oolongs, looks for the extra colour, yellow!

 Oriental Beauty tea brewing in the standard tea cup. Observe the beautiful small brown red leaves dancing in water.

Oriental Beauty tea brewing in the standard tea cup. Observe the beautiful small brown red leaves dancing in water.

 First brew of the tea in standard tea cup. 3 grams of tea in 150ml of 95 Celsius water.

First brew of the tea in standard tea cup. 3 grams of tea in 150ml of 95 Celsius water.

  Second brew of the tea in standard tea cupping    3g / 150ml / 95 Celsius degrees. Notice the small leaves and buds. 

Second brew of the tea in standard tea cupping  3g / 150ml / 95 Celsius degrees. Notice the small leaves and buds. 

Next time when you see a tea with one of the six names, you'll know what they're talking about! Hope you enjoyed the read. Next time, we'll talk about Baozhong Oolong.

With tea,
Jenny

Tea Learning

Learn | Famous Taiwan Tea #1 Alishan Oolong

Taiwan, a mountainous island nation,  is famous for oolongs, especially high mountain teas. Little has it been know that Taiwan also produces amazing green teas and black teas. In this blog, we'll introduce you to the unique Taiwanese teas one by one.

#1 Alishan Oolong

Alishan Oolong comes from The Greater Alishan Tea Farm Region in and around Alishan Township in Chiayi Province. To put it into perspective, it's the central southern highlands of the island with an altitude of 2190 meters (7190 feet), population of around 5500 and 428 square kilometers. Interestingly, Alishan Township is also part of Alishan National Scenic Area that is well known for it's Alishan Forest Railway and its breathtaking scenic sunrise.

 View of Alishan from early 1900s.

View of Alishan from early 1900s.

To make matters a bit more confusing, Alishan Mountain Range is the name given to the natural environment of the Alishan Township. Alishan is a combination of '阿里' taken from 'alit' which means ancestor mountain in local first nation languages and '山' simply means mountain.

The government approved 'Greater Alishan Tea Farm Region'  runs along Alishan Main Road also known as Taiwan No. 18 Province Road (台18線省道). This greater area includes townships of Alishan, Fanlu, Zuqi, Zhongpu, Dapu and Meishan. The main varietals are Qingxin Oolong 青心烏龍 and Jinxuan Oolong 金萱烏龍. 

So, why are Alishan teas so awesome? Alishan is grown around 1000 to 2300 meters altitude. The mountains provide a foggy environment with year long low temperatures that is perfect for qingxin and jinxuan oolong tea plants. Furthermore, clean spring water from the nearby mountains are used for irrigating the tea plants making the teas just that much better.

Our favourite tea farm villages are Zhizuo (Stone Table), Dabang, Tefuye and Ruili. Zhizuo is at 1300-1500 altitude with a year round foggy climate therefore its got a bold 'high mountain qi 高山氣'. The tea leaves are soft, large dried tea balls, heavy in fragrance and has jade green complexions.  Dabang and Tefuye are first nation aboriginal villages. They are known for 'forest qi 森林之氣' since it's surrounded by fog with soil that has good ventilation and rich micro-nutrients. The teas produced here are sweeter and smoother than others. 

 Ruili Alisan Oolong dry rolled leaves.

Ruili Alisan Oolong dry rolled leaves.

 Ruili Alishan oolong first brew in standard tea cupping 3g / 150ml / 95 Celsius degrees. 

Ruili Alishan oolong first brew in standard tea cupping 3g / 150ml / 95 Celsius degrees. 

  Ruili Alishan oolong second brew   in standard tea cupping 3g / 150ml / 95 Celsius degrees. 

Ruili Alishan oolong second brew in standard tea cupping 3g / 150ml / 95 Celsius degrees. 

Ruili is our absolute favourite village. This village along with Taixin and Sancun are three important villages since the beginning of Taiwan's tea history. Ruili produces the infamous Jinxuan 'Milky' High Mountain Oolong known for its creamy scent and sweet liquor. The classic foggy climate, temperature difference and humid climate is again, perfect for producing Qingxin Alishan High Mountain Oolong which is famous for its floral fragrance and 'high mountain qi'.

Here we end with a saying we learn from the local indigenous Tsou People.

Mimiyo (mi-mi-yo)
n. stroll without purpose

Thank you for reading and sippin' tea. Next up, we're heading a tad north for the champagne of oolongs. The clue is in the photo below.

With tea,
Jenny

Tea Stories

Story | Tea Picking

Tea picking has always been a dreamy job to me. Imagine being surrounded by tea trees every day and working in the sun, who wouldn't want to do that everyday? 

Do you know what tea pickers do? 

Tea picking is a physical demanding job, in the past and in the present too. Premium Taiwanese teas are hand picked so the leaves are wholesome instead of missing the stem or missing half the leaf. The tea pickers carry big bamboo baskets on their back, get up to work before dawn and then spend entire mornings working up and down the hilly tea farms. Sometimes the pickers also help with oxidizing the tea leaves on bamboo trays and sorting out the quality of the leaves in the afternoon and evenings.

Did you know Taiwan had tea picking competitions?

In early and mid 90s, Taiwan held annual tea picking competitions. It gathers all the best tea pickers in Taiwan. They competed on 3 things:
1. Cleanly pick all the good leaves from the section they are assigned.

2. Two leaf one bud standard with first leaf 70% of the second leaf.
3. The weight of the leaves they picked.

Let's hear it from a retired tea picker...

My grandma was a professional tea picker. In mandarin it's called "採茶女" which means "picking tea lady". One weekend afternoon, she sat down and told us all about her passion.

She use to attend tea picking competitions every year. There's one summer she'll never forget. She picked long and hard under the summer heat along with the other contestants. She was so confident her teas would be the best thus winning the grand prize however, all the contestants were asked to put down their tea baskets to take a few photos. When she return to find her basket, she realized the tea baskets were all mixed up! No one knew which is which anymore. Grandma was so upset about what happened she remembered till this day. 

 Tea picking ladies wearing big bamboo hats and bamboo baskets.

Tea picking ladies wearing big bamboo hats and bamboo baskets.

 Tea ladies doing quality control. They are sorting through tea leaves and picking out the teas that are not up to standard.

Tea ladies doing quality control. They are sorting through tea leaves and picking out the teas that are not up to standard.

Next time you sip tea, treasure it and appreciate it! Every single leaf was picked by by hand with passion and dedication for tea. It's an essential element to amazing Taiwanese teas.

That's all for now everyone! Thank you for reading, next week, we'll talk about the different kinds of Taiwanese teas!

With tea,
Jenny

Tea Stories

The beginning...

Welcome to the inaugural blog post of the Formosa Tea Story Project! We like to start by introducing ourselves and why are we doing this project.

Our family come from a long line of Hakka tea farmers in  Hsinchu, Taiwan. What is Hakka you ask?  客家人 literally means The Guest People. Hakka is a subgroup of Han Chinese who moved from North China to Central China and settled largely in Canton, Taiwan and Hong Kong. (We'll tell you more about Hakka people later.) 

Our great great grandpa started tea farming in early 1900s. Our Lo family tea farm produced baihao oolong, black teas and green teas. The love for Taiwan tea extended down the line and now me, Jenny, the 17th generation, is continuing the passion for Taiwan tea.

 Our tea factory, Golden Mountain established 1923 April 16. 

Our tea factory, Golden Mountain established 1923 April 16. 

Formosa Tea Story Project originated from the long afternoons of my grandpa telling me about his tea stories. One day, I wonder to myself, what if we share these stories and collect more stories to share with everyone? Formosa Tea Story's sole goal is to document and share the wonderful tea stories that happened and are happening in the beautiful Formosa Taiwan.  

Come, join us in this journey, taking us way way back in time. Let's begin with one of my grandma's stories "Tea picking competition" Read about it next week. Make sure to subscribe below so you don't miss a single story!

With tea,
Jenny