Last update: August 16, 2008

Ponfeng Tea

I was recently drinking tea in the home of a young tea maker in his home in the small rural town of Peipu,   in Hsinchu county to the southwest of Taipei. This little town is mainly inhabited by people of Hakka origin and at weekends it fills up with visitors eager to purchase the fresh farm produce of every kind for sale along the street sides in a very lively market atmosphere. Some old houses have been restored and there are good restaurants and a number of tea houses as well as shops specializing in the tea produced by individual growers.

The young tea-grower I know is also an artist and designed his own logo (the 2nd picture). HIs name is Yang Hwan-jang.

Like many other growers in Peipu, he produces Pai-hao (white-hair) oolong tea (白毫烏龍). This tea is also sometimes known as “Oriental Beauty” (東方美人). His own brand is called Ponfeng Cha (膨風茶 Swelling Wind tea). This name is probably a joke, for PongFong (椪风 or 椪風 huff and puff) is the Hakka dialect name given in the area to tea that is sold at an inflated price to unwitting buyers.

In the following pictures, we see the distinctive color of fresh shoots in a photos then in a painting Mr. Yang made. The tea he makes is all sold to a dealer friend. He also makes simpler, lightly oxidized winter oolong tea in December.  He is now exploring red tea,  which he makes using his Oolong cultivar (he uses another cultivar for the  Pai-hao tea.

Here are some photos taken in 2008 at the tea fields belonging to Mr. Yang at 1200 meters in the hills above Peipu.

The Oolong cultivar

The Oriental Beauty plantation

The Oriental Beauty cultivar

View from the tea factory

A tea tasting table

Visitors to Peipu are usually encouraged to drink “Lei cha” (pounded tea) which is a mixture of tea with various nuts and seeds, pounded to flour in a pestle on the table then mixed with tea and drunk. Very nourishing!