In a over hundred years old teashop, we found this treasure. This Oriental Beauty is made in Miaoli, and the shop owner was hidding it "secretly" in his own cupboard. As we having a long conversation about Oriental Beauty, suddently he turned around and a minute later, he was holding a "new" bowl with these few dried leaves in and I will never forget his warm but proud smile on the face. Although we didn't meet the maker of this tea, nor visit the teagarden, however as he gently put the leaves into the warmed gaiwan... the room was right away filled with its sweet honey and flowery scent. Then followed by its taste, its finished in the throat, its multilayered fragrance in the nose, the natural beauty of its tea leaves, and the golden droplets... oh yes... every bit of these was just too convincing for us. Without question, this certainly belongs to our Master Class.
A good Oriental Beauty is already a masterpiece. In its production, only very little is involved with maschine, sometimes even none. Not only an attention to detail is required with the master, since the bitten tea leaves are smaller and more difficult to pick, the tea-pickers must have very good eyes and an attentive heart as well. On the other hand, Oriental Beauty season is very short, unlike the other taiwanese teas, there is only one season in a year, therefore we can only hope that weather plays along.
Although we would normally group it under the oolong category, but its making is still quite different to the others. According to my observation, apart from oxidation (chemical reaction due to contact with air), fermentation also involves in its process after oxidation. The tea will be wrapped in the cloth and rolled into a ball, where it will stay in this form (in the cloth) overnight. Since it is usually in a small quantity, the teamaster will carry this "tea ball" around with him like bring his own child to bed. So it is truely a privileged tea. Once a master said, to learn about the master, drink his tea; want to know how the tea tastes, meet the master. In this case, the cup of tea has told powerful words for the teamaster. :)
An Oriental Beauty of high quality mature also during the storage, and will turn fruitier and mellower. But of course, there are still many aspects which influence the taste and resulting quality.
Year of harvest: 2012 Summer
Infusion: golden yellow to slightly reddish
Suggestions on teaware material: Glass or Porcelain
Note: With cooler temperature would even intensify its honey sweetness.