Taiwan's Li Shan mountain range produces some of the best tea in Taiwan.
Li Shan tea comes from 3 broad regions: Heping in Taichung county, Renai in Nantou county, and Xiulin in Hualien county.
Drill down a bit further and we have six famous tea areas of Li Shan: Fushoushan, Wu Ling, Hua Gang, Cui Feng, Tsuei Luan, and Da Yu Ling. The tea from each of these areas has different characteristics, but Hua Gang stands out as the representative of rare and top quality Li Shan tea.
The Hua Gang tea area is located in Ren-ai Township, Nantou County at altitude about 2,300-2,560 meters.
Hua Gang(華崗) is so-named because it used to the home of anti-communist mountain tribes. "華崗" refers to "sentinel post".
In 1973, there were 168 soldiers stationed at Hua Gang. After the death of President Chiang Kai-shek in 1975, the troops were disbanded. In order to accommodate these 168 veterans, the Veterans Affairs Council established the Hua Gang Agricultural Reclamation Area, which mainly grows alpine vegetables, bean sprouts, garlic, and oolong tea.
Hua Gang is located close to Hehuanshan (Mount Hehuan), and there are few tourists. Only hikers who would like to go to Hehuan Creek Trail or Hehuanshan West Peak pass through this area. The road to Hua Gang tea area is dangerous, with difficult mountain roads and inconvenient transportation, but the local climate is very suitable for tea planting. The average temperature in summer is about 20 degrees, and it often snows in winter. In addition, under the conditions of high altitude and large temperature difference between day and night, Hua Gang tea leaves are thick with good aroma and quality.
There are few tea farms in the Hua Gang tea area, and the production output is low. But there are many tea factories in the region that process the newly harvested tea, not only of Hua Gang tea but of other tea areas such as Tsuei Luan, Diaoqiaotou, and New Kayo Tribe. It is the number of tea factories that makes people think that the output of Hua Gang tea is large, but it is not. The high-mountain environment and the fact that it can only be harvested in spring and winter makes the output of Hua Gang very small.
All these factors make Hua Gang Oolong Tea a truly representative top-quality Li Shan tea.