What is Eastern (Oriental) Beauty?
By Isabelle Wilkinson
Our Eastern Beauty, often known as Oriental Beauty tea, is a beautiful, dark oolong famed for its deliciously fragrant cup. Originally cultivated in Taiwan, the story of how Eastern Beauty tea comes to have its unique flavour is a special one.
How Eastern (Oriental) Beauty tea is made
Just like other tea types, oolong tea comes from the Camellia Sinensis plants. For a few weeks in the Taiwanese summertime, the Eastern Beauty tea plant is swarmed by tea green leafhoppers, which bite the leaves, stems and buds. This attack on the plant causes the plant to release polyphenols, which ultimately give Eastern Beauty its distinctive sweet sour flavour and fragrant character. Once ready to be harvested, two leaves and a bud are expertly picked, before being withered and then tumbled - provoking oxidation. Eastern Beauty is a ‘dark’ oolong which means that it is heavily oxidised, to about 70%. The leaves are then pan-fired at high temperatures before being rolled and dried. If you want to know more about the bug-biting process - read more here.
Where our Eastern Beauty is from
Eastern Beauty tea is most famously produced in Taiwan, but we have recently begun sourcing ours, unusually, from the Doi Mae Salong region of Thailand. The cultivar that we source - Qingxin and Ruan zhi, have been moved from Taiwan to Thailand where the climate also lends itself well to the production of this tea. In Thailand the tea is grown at an elevation of 950-1,100 metres before it is picked and packed.
Doi Mae Salong Estate, Thailand Photo: Rishi Tea
How to brew Eastern Beauty tea
Our loose leaf Eastern Beauty oolong has beautiful multi-coloured leaves which produce a fragrant cup, with hints of orange and caramel. We recommend brewing 2.5g of the leaf in 200ml of 85 degree (celsius) water for four minutes for maximum deliciousness.
Eastern Beauty, like other oolongs, can also be reinfused to release different flavours. Just brew per our recommendation above and keep your leaves somewhere safe and dry, then when you’re ready for the second pot, brew exactly the same again. As you move through infusions, you might find that you want to increase the brew time. Using the leaves multiple times is a chance to experiment with tea, and discover how varied it can be. We recommend reinfusing Eastern (Oriental) Beauty up to 5 times.
To learn more about oolong tea, you can read our article: Everything you need to know about oolong tea.
How best to enjoy Eastern Beauty oolong
Oolongs are often considered the finest and most highly prized teas. Our Eastern beauty is a particularly deep and aromatic treat which we love to enjoy with a pastry or crumpet for afternoon tea.