Taiwan tea gets stamp of approval from U.K.'s Great Taste Awards
Taipei, Sept. 12 (CNA) The new Dongfang Meiren (東方美人) tea made by Taiwan artisanal craft tea maker Jacky Chang (張家齊) has received the highest recognition from the United Kingdom's most trusted food and drink awards, he said Monday.
Listed as "Oriental Beauty Tea 1" on the website of Great Taste Awards 2022, Chang's tea was given a 3-Stars Exquisite rating which, according to the award's organizer the Guild of Fine Food, classified the product under a list of "extraordinarily tasty foods."
The guild also certified that only 2 percent of the applicants each year are given a three-stars label.
The Miaoli County-based teamaker's Oriental Beauty Tea, a sweeter and more aromatic strain of Taiwan's popular Oolong Tea, was given the three-stars accolade under the "Single Estate tea, loose" competition category, making it a featured product among the 14,205 entrants this year after winning over the palates of 500 judges.
Speaking with CNA on Monday, Chang credited his award to picking his tea leaves during unconventional harvesting periods.
He said he made sure that his company, Formocha Tea Co., refrained from picking leaves during the traditionally optimal season this year due to the rainy weather experienced in Taiwan.
To compensate for the unorthodox harvest time, Chang said his company focused on adjusting the fermentation process and the humidity and temperature during roasting to control the tea's flavor, and it paid off.
The flavor and aroma of his 2022 tea stood in between the two other Oriental Beauty Teas that were also rated with three stars at the Great Taste Awards last year, he said.
Because he tends to name his teas after-the-fact, Chang said he will be branding his 2022 three-starred tea "Queen's Garden" in honor of the late Queen Elizabeth II who died on Sept. 8.
According to Chang, legend has it that the late queen's paternal great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria, was the monarch who gave the specific strain of Oolong its alluring name after tasting the original batch from Taiwan over a century ago, giving another layer to the naming of Chang's 2022 tea.
Great Taste is the U.K.'s largest and most trusted accreditation program, and was organized by the Guild of Fine Food in 1993.
All products entered are available commercially in the U.K., with rated products having undergone vigorous and impartial scrutiny, the organization said.
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