Taiwan Black Tea

Black Taiwanese tea has a relatively short history. Taiwan is mainly known for its oolongs. The vibrant, exotic aroma of Taiwanese oolongs is considered a constant in the tea world. The rich terroir here, so suitable for tea cultivation, is unique in the world. Not surprisingly, black Taiwanese teas are equally aromatic and distinctive.


History of Taiwan Black Teas

The production of black tea was started in Taiwan in the 1920s by the Japanese during the 50-year occupation from 1895-1945. The area around Sun Moon Lake in the central part of the island was chosen as the most suitable location. Here, in the picturesque mountain landscape, new tea gardens and factories were established. Seeds of the Assam tea tree were brought from India to plant the new gardens. Assam was by then already renowned for producing excellent black teas.


A key role in the cultivation of quality black tea in Taiwan was played by the research and breeding station that was established on the shores of Sun Moon Lake as early as 1902 under Japanese rule. It continued its activities after 1945, when the Republic of China declared independence. Today it is called the Tea Research and Extension Station. It is a state-run research organisation specialising in research, development and promotion related to the tea industry.

One of the main contributions of this station is the breeding and dissemination of new tea cultivars. The new cultivars bear, in addition to their original name, the abbreviation of the station (TRES) and the number assigned to the cultivar. One of the most famous teas bred at this institute is the legendary Hong Yu - Red Jade (or Red Ruby) TRES No.18. This cultivar was bred in 1999. It was a response to the demand for a new and interesting type of tea with a distinctive flavour and aroma. TRES No.18 has become a successful product that has gained popularity both in Taiwan and abroad due to its distinctive taste and aroma.

Another important tea that TRES has popularised and taken under its wing, so to speak, is Shan Cha - mountain tea. A version of the original tea plant from Taiwan. It was by crossing it with the Assamese tea tree that the aforementioned Red Jade was created.