Bai Hao oolong tea, with its multi-hued leaves reminiscent of autumn foliage, is a perfect choice for an autumn tea. The name Bai Hao means white tip and refers to the small tender white buds that are picked along with the top two leaves. Bai Hao originates from Xinzhu County, Taiwan Province. This area in northern Taiwan is especially humid and foggy and the natural environmental conditions help to create the special characteristics of Bai Hao. Unlike most high-quality Taiwanese oolong teas, which are picked in the spring or winter, the best grades of Bai Hao are harvested in June and July. Once harvested, the leaves of Bai Hao are processed to a greater degree of oxidation (around 50-60%) than other Taiwanese oolong teas. The result is a tea with a very smooth and sweet flavor, virtually no astringency, and a unique aroma of ripe peaches and honey.
There are many stories about the origin of Bai Hao tea. According to one Taiwanese tea book, a tea farmer in Beipu noticed that small green insects resembling grasshoppers had damaged the leaves of his newly picked spring crop. Rather than destroying his crop, he decided to process the leaves into tea. He took his finished tea to a local tea merchant, who liked it well enough to pay him twice the price of his usual tea.
Bai Hao is also known as “Dong Fang Mei Ren” or Oriental Beauty. The origin of this name dates back to the early 20th century when a British tea merchant presented a sample of this tea to Queen Elizabeth II. The Queen was captivated by the special aroma and taste of Bai Hao. Because of the tea’s lovely appearance, like a beautiful lady, and its origin in Asia, the Queen named it “Oriental Beauty”.
Oolong, meaning Black Dragon in Chinese, is a semi-fermented tea, a cross between green and black teas. Oolong tea is a variety of semi-fermented (oxidized) tea that is known for its sweet and flowery qualities. The oxidation of the leaves during the drying process establishes Oolong’s unique place among tea between Green and Black teas. Green varieties exhibit a slight withering and browning of the edges of the leaves. Darker Oolongs are fully browned and more robust. Oolong has many metabolic stimulating attributes and can be used for weight management in addition to a well balanced diet. All oolongs help in any weight loss program and have been used for centuries.
It is said that oolong tea first began to be produced at Mt. Wu Yi Shan in Fujian Province at the end of the Ming Dynasty about 400 years ago. Oolong tea has been described as "Yu Xiang Hui Wei " as it goes through so many different production stages in order to generate a good flavor and aroma. The tea consists of several dozens of kinds of leaves that have different flavors and aromas due to differences in the leaves, the production area, and the harvest time. Among them, Tie Guan Yin, Shui Xian, and Oolong are well known, and many renowned oolong teas are produced in Fujian Province. Oolong tea produced in the Province is exported throughout the world as the tea that is representative of China, the home of tea.
To Enjoy: Place one teaspoon per cup into an infuser, filter or teapot. Switch the kettle off, before it boils, when you hear the water rumbling. Add the hot, but not boiling, water and infuse for 3 minutes. Serve immediately or remove leaves to prevent spoiling.