東方美人 (Dongfang Mei Ren)
Beipu, Hsinchu, Taiwan
Famed for its insect-bite oxidation process, the Beipu growers have taken things another step further by way of disc compression. Compressing the Oriental Beauty into small disc shapes offer an added dimension to an already intriguing tea â it allows the tea to be aged which, when done properly, will heighten its woody, muscatel notes. Oriental Beauty is picked at the end of summer, after the seasonal migration of leaf hoppers that feed on the leavesâ tissue. The bites result in the leaf being partially oxidised as the plant grows which gives the tea its renowned flavour.
Dry leaves: compressed, small disc 10cm in diameter. Leaf colour has streaks of white from the downy buds, with dark green and amber denoting oxidation variance.
Liquor: tangerine with a pinkish hue
Taste: woody, muscatel, rosehip, strawberries
Process: oxidised via insect-bites while growing, then lengthy wither, rolled, oxidised and compressed
Storage: if aging, best at approximately the 2.5 year mark when kept out of light, moisture and heat. Like a compressed pu erh, break up the disc in pieces and keep in a clay caddy. Clay pores and occasional opening introduces the right amount of oxygen that help the tea develop character over time.