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The Tea Counties of Taiwan

Taiwan is an island situated off the south-east coast of China. It has an elongated, leaf-like shape running roughly north-south. The west coast of the island has fertile plains which support a wide range of agriculture, and the central and eastern areas are mountainous. Tea is grown throughout Taiwan but the best quality tea comes from the mountainous regions.

The climate of the mountain regions is much cooler than the plains. There can be a temperature difference of up to 20 degrees Celsius (45 degrees Fahrenheit) between the plains and the high mountains. As well as having cool air, the mountains are often enshrouded in fog which produces an ideal environment for growing tea.

There are five distinct tea producing regions of Taiwan:

  • The northern region (including Taipei and Ilan counties) produces green tea, Wen-Shen Paochong, and Tie Guan Yin.
  • The north-east region (Taoyuan, Hsinchu, and Miaoli counties) produces green tea and Oriental Beauty (also known as Bai Hao, Pom-Feng or White Tip Oolong).
  • The central and southern region consists mostly of low-altitude plantations which produce commercial grade teas.
  • The eastern region (Taitung and Hualien counties) produces oolong tea and black tea.
  • The high-mountain region runs down the geographical center of Taiwan and consists of tea plantations which are at least 1000 meters in altitude. This region spans several counties (Nantou, Chiayi, Taichung and Hualien) and produces the famous high-mountain oolong tea.

Each of these regions has a unique micro-climate that makes them suitable for particular types of tea. In particular, the high-mountain region is ideal for oolong tea and the region has developed a unique processing method that produces tightly rolled balls of tea.

The Counties of Taiwan

The island of Taiwan is divided into 15 counties and tea is grown in all of them. There are also three island counties (Penghu, Kinmen, and Matsu) which don't produce tea.

Of the 15 tea-producing counties the most important in terms of production are Nantou, Taipei, Hsinchu, Chiayi, Miaoli, and Taoyuan. Each of these counties has more than 1000 hectares of tea plantations with Nantou County leading the pack with more than 8,000 hectares.

Nantou County

Nantou is the only land-locked county in Taiwan. It is famous as the home of Dong Ding (Ice Peak) oolong tea. The area around Luku town in Nantou County has been planted commercially since the mid-19th century. Despite being devastated by the 1999 earthquake, Nantou tea production is stronger than ever and consistently produces first grade tea.

Teas from Nantou County

Type of Tea

Area of Production

Dong Ding Tea

Luku Town

Song Bo Chang Ching Tea (Bu Chong)

Mingchien Town

Tzushan Oolong, Tzushan Jin Xuan, Shan Ling Xi Oolong

Tzushan Township

 

Er Jien Tea

Chungliao Town

Yushan Oolong

Shueli, Hsinyi Town

Ching Shan Tea

Nantou City

Sun Moon Black Tea

Yutse Town

Wu Se LuShan Oolong Tea

Renai Town

Taipei County

Taipei City is a huge, congested, modern city, but the surrounding Taipei county is a reminder of why the Portuguese called this island "Isla Formosa" (beautiful island). Taipei county has fresh air, picturesque mountain scenery, and plenty of tea plantations.

Teas from Taipei County

Type of Tea

Area of Production

Mucha Tie Kuanyin

Mucha, Taipei

Nankang BaoChung

Nankang, Taipei

Wenshan BaoChung

Pinglin, Shihding, Hsintien, Hsichih, Shenkeng

Shihmen Tie Kuanyin

Shihmen Town

HaiShan LongJing,
HaiShan BaoChung

Sanshia Township

LongShou Tea

Linkou Town

Hsinchu County

Hsinchu county is situated on the north-west coast of Taiwan. Hsinchu city is center of Taiwan's thriving high-tech industry (Taiwan's Silicon Valley). The terrain of Hsinchu county ranges from coastal plains to high mountains. Tea is grown primarily in the Hill area at elevations between 500 and 1000 meters.

Teas from Hsinchu County

Type of Tea

Area of Production

LioFu Tea

Guanshi Township

Chang An Tea

Houkou Town

Oriental Beauty (Bai Hao Oolong)

Beipu Town, O-mei Town, Hengshan Town

Chiayi County

One of the most famous areas of Taiwan is Alishan (Ali Mountain) which is located in Chiayi County. Besides being a popular tourist resort, Alishan is also renowned for its high mountain oolong tea. Chiayi County straddles the Tropic of Cancer - combine this with the mountainous terrain and you get ideal conditions for growing tea.

Teas from Chiayi County

Type of Tea

Area of Production

Meishan Oolong Tea

Meishan Town

Alishan Chu Lu Tea, Tzuchi Kaoshan Tea

Tzuchi Town

Alishan Oolong Tea

Panlu, Alishan Town

Miaoli County

Miaoli County is situated just south of Hsinchu County. Its economy is agriculture-based and most of the people are of Hakka descent. It is a coastal county with terrain ranging from plains to mountains.

Teas from Miaoli County

Type of Tea

Area of Production

MiaoLi Oolong

Chaochiao Town, Shihtan Town, Dahu Town

MiaoLi Feng Tea

Touwu, Toufen, Sanwan

Taoyuan County

The CKI International Airport is located in Taoyuan County, so anyone who has visited Taiwan has been to this county. It is on the north-west coast of Taiwan between Hsinchu and Taipei counties. Taoyuan County extends into the central mountains and there are many tea plantations on the plateaus leading up to the mountain peaks.

Teas from Taoyuan County

Type of Tea

Area of Production

Long Chuan

Longtan Town

Hsio Tsai

Yangmei Township

Shou Shan

Kueishan Town

LuFeng Oolong Tea

Lutzu Town

Mei Tai Tea

Fushing Town

Jin Hu Tea

Pingchen City

 

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