Taiwan is famous for its tea, most notably its bubble tea. Bubble tea was created in the 1980’s and tea (usually oolong) mixed with milk or fruit and then tapioca balls or fruit jellies are added. It gets its name from the fact that the drink is mixed by shaking which creates a foam on top. Bubble tea is now enjoyed across the world in restaurants and coffee shops.
It isn’t only bubble tea that is produced in Taiwan. Historians have found that tea plants were imported from China late in the 18th Century and it was John Dodd in 1860 who started to promote Taiwanese tea by working with farmers and merchants. Tea soon became the number one export from the country.
Taiwan is thought to produce one of, if not the finest oolong teas in the world and the finest of these comes from the Dongding Mountain in central Taiwan. Tea was first brought to the region from China and the ever present mist that clouds the mountain makes for a cool, wet climate and perfect conditions for growing oolong tea.
These days due to demand, Dongding tea is produced all over Taiwan but it can only be called Dongding tea if it meets certain standards and adheres to traditional Dongding production methods.
Taiwan was formally known as Formosa and was given the name by Portuguese explorers. Formosa translates from the Portuguese “beautiful” and is a fitting name for the tea produced, hence why many teas from Taiwan still carry the Formosa label including black, oolong and green tea.