The origins of our Taiwan Native Mountain Tea
With its damp wood aroma and deep brown, lightly twisted leaves, our loose-leaf Native Mountain tea (Yuansheng shancha 台灣原生山茶) will transport you to the foggy, tree-clad slopes of central Taiwan. An organic black tea with complex flavours, it's a great option for quiet afternoon drinking.
Our Native Mountain loose leaf tea is from Formosa Farms, which specialises in sourcing speciality single-origin teas from small-batch plantations around Taiwan. Grown at 600m, this special loose leaf is from the mountainous land-locked county of Nantou, Taiwan's most important tea-producing region. Each tea leaf is hand-rolled, mildly oxidised before drying. Brewing yeilds a tantalising amber coloured infusion tinged with dark red, it has a smooth mouthfeel and a light, floral flavour with hints of caramel. Free of pesticides, chemicals and herbicides, and rich in antioxidants, it can be drunk black as a vegan tea or with milk if you prefer.
A history of our exceptional single origin tea
Famous as the birthplace of tea in Taiwan, once known as Formosa, Nantou is steeped in tea-producing history. Tea cultivation in the region dates back to the early 1700s, and the high mountain teas harvested here are today considered the best in the country. As well as benefitting from a rich heritage of agricultural production, teas grown in Nantou county are influenced by the area's high altitude and considerable cloud cover, which prevents the leaves from becoming bitter and contributes to their smooth and gently sweet taste.
Five generations of the Cheng family have worked the estate that produces this fine black tea. Located in the Yuchi municipality of Nantou, close to Sun Moon Lake, the plantation was first planted to tea bushes in 1860. Leaves are picked year-round from 180-year-old trees using traditional methods for a native mountain tea that's as authentic as it is delicious.
Quality control is part of the heritage at the Chengs' tea garden. Rules and records of tea farming have been maintained since the family's plantation was established, set out in a precious handwritten tea-making book that has been passed down through the generations. At one point, the tea garden fell under the auspices of the ruling Japanese, with its teas supplying the royal courts. However, to ensure their ancestors' legacy lives through their teas, the farm is today run to high organic, sustainable, and ethical cultivation standards. The result is this beautiful Native Mountain Tea.
What are Formosan Farms?
Founded by Dr Yvonne Han, Formosan Farms produces premium, single-origin teas organically grown by select family-run tea farms in Taiwan. The sustainably grown teas are 100% pure, with no added chemicals or pesticides, and are supplied to various grades, all of the high quality. Each contributing farm has a sustainable ethos that ensures the methods used in cultivation are eco-friendly and place the environment front and centre. The farmers' love for their work is reflected in their teas, and we are very proud to launch our new range of teas with them.
Other related loose leaf teas
If you love the complex flavours of our Taiwanese Native Mountain Tea, try a caddy of Sun Moon Lake, another organic black tea from the same region. It has the same recognisable hint of caramel and a rich, ruby-red infusion. For more caramel flavours plus some cocoa notes, look to our Dian Hong Chinese black tea. Or try an oolong: our Wuyi Shui Xian Chinese and Oriental Beauty Taiwanese teas are exceptional styles that combine those sweet yet aromatic characters.
Discover more about the history of Taiwanese tea culture in our Tea Journal.