Oriental Beauty Tea
Dong Fang Mei Ren
Oriental Beauty tea is an amazing oolong tea from Taiwan. Twisted shoots of dark green color and silver down make this floral tea.
What makes this tea so special?
This tea undergoes a unique processing step while the tea leaves are still growing on the bush. Little insects play an important role in bringing out the sweetness and freshness of this tea.
Naturally sweet and wonderfully healthy at the same time, this is a tea with a bit of royal history.
Come and have a taste of Oriental Beauty!
What is Oriental Beauty Tea?
Oriental Beauty tea, or Dong Fang Mei Ren in Chinese, is also known as Bai Hao Oolong, which means White Tipped Oolong, referring to downy tea buds.
Oriental Beauty tea is a Taiwanese semi-oxidized tea to 60% - 70%, which means that it is a highly oxidized tea, close to black teas. Its fruity and floral aroma and sweet taste make it one of the most distinctive teas in Taiwan.
This is a beautiful tea made up of the bud and two leaves on the shoot. These twisted shoots are mostly dark green with silver down covering the buds. Some say that these leaves actually have 5 colors: green, white, red, yellow and brown.
Origin of Oriental Beauty Tea
This tea was first produced in the late 19th century in the Beipu County in Taiwan and it was done purely by accident.
The most popular story surrounding the origins of this tea is that a tea farmer found his plantation had been damaged by small green insects, known as cicadas, similar to tiny crickets. The little pests had chewed on the leaves.
Instead for destroying the plantation to begin anew as was customary, the tea farmer harvested the tea leaves and processed them anyway. The resulting tea was so surprisingly good that it sold for twice the regular price.
At this time Taiwan was beginning to export its teas and Bai Hao Oolong found great acceptance abroad. It is even said that it was the queen of England who, upon tasting this tea, named it Oriental Beauty.
Processing Oriental Beauty Tea
So it seems that the magic behind this particular oolong tea is due to small insects. Let’s find out more about the processing method this tea undergoes.
Production – Today this tea is mainly produced in the Beipu and Emei, in the Hsinchu County in Taiwan. Production has to be totally free of pesticides to attract the small crickets.
Green Crickets – these little insects need to be attracted to the tea garden and then need to bite the plant to suck the juices from leaves and stem. This causes the tea bush to react and produce elements that bring out a unique sweet flavor.
Harvesting – A bud and two leaves are harvested in the summer, this is when the best aromas and sweetness are found in the tea leaves. Due to the very unique production conditions, only half of the leaves may be used.
Sun Withering – the leaves are spread under natural sunshine to begin the process of evaporation of the moisture inside the leaves, this begins the oxidation process and refreshing aromas are released.
Indoor Withering – a second stage of withering takes place inside the factory as this tea has more moisture than other tea leaves, so this step takes longer than other oolongs.
Tossing – leaves are tossed onto a bamboo tray and the agitation helps the oxidation process to really begin as the cell tissue of the leaves begins to break.
Rolling and Drying – moderate pressure is applied to the leaves and these take shape in the form of twisted shoots. Finally, the leaves are dried in order to stop further oxidation.
A great deal of luck and knowledge is needed to produce this tea. Luck is needed for the plants to survive pesticide-free from all other harmful insects. Knowledge is needed because only a good tea farmer will know exactly how to process the best tea leaves.
Before drinking your Dong Fang Mei Ren tea, let’s take a quick look at the health benefits of this oolong tea.
Benefits of Oriental Beauty Tea
This Taiwanese oolong tea contains several components such as vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and caffeine that give it quite a range of health benefits. It is rich in vitamin C, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, iodine, zinc, etc.
Here are the top health benefits of tea you will find in Oriental Beauty tea.
Improve Digestion and Lose Weight
A cup of Oriental Beauty tea after your meal may help improve your digestion. This tea contains polyphenols and caffeine that help to boost your metabolism.
A properly functioning metabolism helps you digest foods faster, reducing the risk of indigestion and stomach cramps. This oolong tea will also improve your body to get rid of unwanted wastes.
The polyphenol content in this tea boosts up the activity of enzymes that may help to burn fat faster. The caffeine content will also help you feel energized to start on a path of healthy exercise.
Boost you Immune System
Antioxidants, minerals and vitamins in each cup of tea you drink may help to improve your immune system. By boosting your defenses, you may be less prone to getting ill.
A good cup of tea a day may help reduce the risk of infections and inflammations. If you do have the unfortunate luck of getting sick, then a healthy immune system may also speed up your recovery time.
When you drink a cup of unsweetened tea you are also fighting bacteria in the mouth and reducing plaque buildup and tooth decay.
Oriental Beauty tea is rich in components that may also help your heart stay strong and healthy. Antioxidants and polyphenols help to reduce blood pressure and may also help reduce levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol.
Components in each cup of tea help to strengthen your blood vessels improve blood flow and thus may reduce the risk of blood clot formation that lead to heart attacks and strokes.
Although this tea may be used as a stimulant for the mind and body due to its caffeine content, unlike coffee, tea contains the amino acid L-theanine.
This amino acid helps to calm the nerves and relax the mind. This is why tea may help improve memory and mental function while keeping you calm and focused.
Fight Free Radicals
The high levels of antioxidants found in tea or cocoa and some vegetables may be highly beneficial for you. Antioxidants are being studied for their ability to fight off free radicals that enter your organism through environmental pollution and stress.
Free radicals may cause damage to your DNA that leads to tumor growth and spreading. So even if there is still plenty of study to be done on this matter, a daily cup of tea may be a way to prevent certain types of cancer.
These free radicals may also cause premature aging that reflects on your skin. This is why it is said that drinking tea on a daily basis may help freshen up your skin, making you look younger.
Give it a try!
This floral tea is full of great health benefits, isn’t it? Find out more about what are the common oolong tea benefits so that you may enjoy this and other oolong teas every day.
Caffeine in Oriental Beauty Tea
Oriental Beauty tea is like any other oolong tea: it contains caffeine. However, this oolong tea contains a moderate to high caffeine level, which is usually higher than other oolong teas.
Why is caffeine higher in this tea compared to other oolongs?
This tea is considered a tippy tea, meaning that it contains a high proportion of buds and young shoots. Remember Oriental Beauty’s other name? Bai Hao Oolong or White Tipped Oolong, it clearly refers to the content of buds in this tea.
Buds and young shoots is where the tea bush stores most of the caffeine content as this acts as a natural defense against insects.
What are the side effects of caffeine in tea?
Too much caffeine or high sensitivity to caffeine may cause you to have headaches, dizziness, irritability, anxiety and difficulty sleeping to the extreme case of insomnia.
Sensitivity to caffeine may also be felt as stomach aches, loss of appetite, diarrhea and irregular heartbeat and palpitations.
If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, you may also have to reduce your caffeine intake so as to reduce the risk of birth defects or not to upset to your nursing infant.
Caffeine in tea may have its benefits, but it is always best to enjoy it in moderation and adjust your intake to your bodily needs.
Drinking Oriental Beauty/Dong Fang Mei Ren Tea
Learn how to brew Dong Fang Mei Ren Tea and enjoy this great and unique oolong tea.
Water temperature: 85ºC – 90ºC (185ºF – 194ºF)
Quantity: 2 tsp/cup (250ml)
Steeping Time: 2-5 minutes
Rebrew allowed: Yes
Best paired with: salty-sweet tagines; dried fruits; milk or chocolate desserts
Brew your tea in a porcelain teapot (Western style) or in a small Yixing teapot (Chinese style). Serve your tea in white porcelain cups so that you may enjoy the true color of your tea.
Remember to preheat your teapot before brewing your tea. Just fill it with hot water and once the teapot feels warm, discard the water. This will help your tea to keep warm for a longer time.
Place 2 teaspoons of tea leaves per cup (250ml) in your teapot. If you are brewing this tea in the Chinese Gongfu way, then place about 2 tablespoons of Oriental Beauty tea in the small Yixing teapot.
Choose good quality water when brewing your tea. This should be preferably bottled or filtered water. Tip: if you don’t drink your regular tap water, then don’t use it to make your tea.
For western style brewing, heat water to 90ºC (194ºF), and for the Gongfu way, heat the water to 85ºC (185ºF).
If the water reaches a higher temperature, you can either wait for the water to cool down, or add a tablespoon of cold water until the temperature is right.
Let your Oriental Beauty tea steep for 2 to 5 minutes when brewing your tea in the western way. Consider purchasing a timer to control steeping time. The shorter the steep the milder the tea will be, so adjust to your own taste.
This tea may be brewed several times, but for each additional brew you should add 30 seconds to the steeping time.
Infusion is much shorter when brewing in the Gongu way. Your Oriental Beauty tea only needs 1 to 2 minutes in the first infusion, and then you should add 15 seconds for each additional brew.
Pour the tea into the tea cups making sure to empty the teapot. This will stop the leaves from brewing and you can then reinfuse them several times.
First, feel the fruity and floral aroma from this famous Taiwanese oolong tea. It has an amber, reddish-orange color that generally darker than other oolongs.
Take a sip and feel the smoothness of the liquor. This is a naturally sweet tea, with very little to no bitterness, and so requires no additional sweeteners. It is floral and fruity and at the same time, has nice woody tones.
Follow these recommendations to start enjoying this wonderful oolong tea and then as you become more familiar with it adjust the amount of tea or brewing time to your liking.
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your Oriental Beauty Tea
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”In the Taste of a single cup of tea you will eventually discover the truth of all the ten thousand forms in the universe.”
- Attributed to Kyongbong Sunim, Ch'an (Zen) Master
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