Wild Mountain Tea
This month’s tea has interesting roots. It comes from a region of Taiwan once occupied by the Japanese. Close to the largest freshwater lake in central Taiwan, Sun Moon Lake. This area once saw large scale industrial, beautiful terraced, black tea production. Tea terraces that until recently had been all but forgotten. Understanding what makes our Wild Mountain Tea special means we need to take this opportunity to look into the interesting shifting history of Taiwan.
A Changing Cultural Landscape
Taiwan has several indigenous cultures, and has been occupied by either colonizers or permanent settlers. This includes the Netherlands, China, Japan, and now hosts workers from other parts of South Asia and beyond.
China lost control of Taiwan at the turn of the 20th century (early 1900’s) to Japan, who set about to industrialize its economy and agriculture. They began by planting foreign cultivars of Camellia Sinensis Assamica (the larger leaf tea plant preferred in black tea producing). Much like how modern Taiwan is the result of overlapping foreign control going back to the Dutch in the 1600s, Wild Mountain is a uniquely beautiful, and uniquely Taiwanese tea that could have only emerged in this place with awe-inspiring geography and history of tea brought in from outside.
At some point towards the end of the Japanese occupation, this black tea producing area was abandoned. These Terraces were reclaimed by the forest and the remaining tea trees crossbreed in the wild for close to 70 years!
In recent years, local aboriginal people started foraging some of the “mountain tea” from this region. Now this tea is available as a semi-wild tea with limited availability.
Redefining Black Tea
This tea is incredibly delicious and sweet. It quite frankly redefined what we thought was possible out of breadth and depth of flavor in a black tea.
We are so happy to reintroduce this well-loved tea to our tea club members first, many of whom have been waiting patiently for its return.
Due to its price and availability it has not been the easiest tea to keep in stock and we look forward to a future when it can be available on the store year round.
Taylor Drye, Mad Monk Tea
Founded in San Diego, each tea purchased supports organic and
regenerative farmers around the globe.