August 02, 2020
History of Tea | Taiwan

In recent years, Taiwan has been attracting attention due to the boom of tapioca milk tea.

In this article, I’m going to explain the history of tea in Taiwan in detail.

The history of tea in Taiwan

Let’s take a look at the history of tea in Taiwan in chronological order.

Origin of tea in Taiwan

It is said that tea was first introduced to Taiwan around 1796 when Taiwan was under the rule of the Qing Dynasty.

It was the beginning of Taiwanese tea when a Chinese merchant named Kacho brought to Taiwan oolong tea seedlings from Fujian Province.

In 1862, a leader from Fujian Province introduced method of tea production, and began making tea in Chinese style.

Expansion of Taiwanese tea

Taiwanese tea expanded rapidly with the support of John Dot, an English man.

In 1865, he established a trading company called “Bao Shun” in Tanshui, Taiwan, and brought large quantities of tea plants and seeds from Fujian, China.

Then, he established a system in which he loaned it to farmers around the country and bought the tea leaves again after harvesting.

In 1866, Taiwanese tea leaves exported to the United States and Australia via Fujian Province in China.

Taiwanese tea, which is of high quality and has gained particular popularity in the United States, began to be exported under the name “Formosa Tea” (Tea on the beautiful island) in 1969.

Taiwan also began exporting its tea to the United Kingdom in 1972, expanding its sales channels gradually.

Influence of Nittoh Black Tea

Nittoh Black Tea is a famous Japanese brand that has been popular in Japan for a long time.

However, Nittoh Black Tea was originally produced in Taiwan.

I will describe the influence that Japan had on the tea industry in Taiwan during the War.

 

Promotion of Taiwan tea industry

With Japan's victory in the Sino-Japanese War in 1895, Taiwan came under Japanese rule.

In 1903, it was decided to set up a testing site for tea as part of its governance policy, to further promote the tea industry in Taiwan.

 

Entry of Mitsui Gomei Kaisha

Mitsui Gomei was one of the companies that entered Taiwan soon after the start of Japanese rule.In 1908, the company established a branch in Taiwan to introduced the British method of mass production of tea.

Mitsui, which has played a central role in Taiwan's tea industry, set up tea factories one after another in such places as Dairiao, Daxi and Miaoli.

The company began full-scale tea production in 1924, and selling canned “Mitsui Black Tea” and (later renamed “Nitto Black Tea”) in Taiwan.

After that, Nitto Black Tea came to be consumed by middle class and above people in Japan and gradually became recognized as a Japan’s tea brand.

After liberation from Japanese occupation, Taiwan Agriculture and Forestry took over all facilities and capital of the tea industry.

Of course, the domination of Taiwan by the war is unforgivable, but it is true that Mitsui’s business is the foundation of the tea industry in Taiwan.

Modern times

The tea industry is still thriving in Taiwan, and oolong tea and black tea are highly valued around the world.

This is because Taiwanese tea is grown on a slope 600-800 meters above sea level, and has s unique aroma.

One of the attractions of Taiwanese tea is that we can enjoy a wide variety of tea.

Various types of black tea are grown, including:

  • Taiwanese Tea No.7, Taicha No. 8 (suitable for milk tea)
  • Taiwanese Tea No.18 (cinnamon and mint fragrance)
  • Taiwanese Tea No.22 (floral fragrance)
  • Taiwanese Tea No.23 (refreshing aroma like lemon or yuzu)

Among them, Taiwanese Tea No.18 is favored by Westerners, while No.23 is favored by young people.

As more varieties are developed to attract new customers, Taiwan’s tea industry is expected to continue to develop.