One of the most famous tea-producing areas of Taiwan is Dong Ding (Tung Ting) Mountain. Located in Nantou County in the geographical center of Taiwan, Dong Ding Mountain has a superb micro-climate for growing fine oolong tea.
The area around Dong Ding Mountain is home to about 20,000 people, with about 60% of them in the tea business. LuGu Township, where Dong Ding is located, is one of the most productive tea regions of Taiwan.
Dong Ding Mountain stands about 740 meters (2,427 feet). It is usually wrapped in mist and fog, so the slopes are very wet. The only way to the top is on foot, and you are sure to freeze your toes on the way. This is why the mountain is called Dong Ding, which means "frozen peak."
The beginnings of commercial tea production in this area date from around 1865. At that time, a scholar named Ling Fong Chi returned from his studies in China with 36 tea plants from Fujian Province.
He gave away 32 of the plants and kept 4 for himself. All 36 plants were grown on Dong Ding Mountain and through propagation produced enough tea bushes for several plantations.
Dong Ding proved to be ideal for oolong tea. The fertile soil and moist climate produces tender and fragrant oolong tea of the highest quality.
The Dong Ding area was near the epicenter of the 1999 earthquake that devastated Taiwan. In the aftermath of the disaster many of the tea plantations were left unattended. When work resumed on them and the neglected oolong tea was picked and processed it was found to have a deliciously sweet honey flavour.
Investigation showed that the oolong tea gets its honey flavor from secretions left on it by cicadas. In order to encourage this special flavor, Dong Ding Mi Xiang oolong tea must be grown without the use of pesticides.