Taiwan High Mountain Tea: A Comprehensive Guide

台灣高山茶Taiwan High Mountain Tea

Taiwan high mountain tea refers to tea produced in gardens situated 1000 metres above sea level. Due to the many high mountains in Taiwan, along with the humid environment and uniform rainfall, tea trees have been in production here since ancient times. The altitude of the mountains in Taiwan are prime environments for tea excellence due to the low temperature, young sunlight, and high soil quality.

In the early days, the main export products of Taiwan were tea, camphor, and sucrose. At that time, these products were said to be the three treasures of Taiwan, which also helped promote the scenery of major local ports. Tea has affected the development of Taiwan’s local industries and also affected the evolution of Taiwanese culture.

“The higher the altitude of tea, the more expensive the price,” is one of the established impressions of many people. The freshness of the sweet and smooth taste, elegant aroma, and golden green brew, with the added benefit of its multiple-brew suitability, is why Taiwan’s alpine tea is welcomed by the market.


Do you know Taiwan High Mountain Tea?

Taiwan High Mountain Tea Distribution

High mountain tea is defined by altitude, with some considering altitudes of 800 meters and above, but most commonly recognized as tea grown in areas above 1000 meters.

Due to the scarcity of high mountain resources, teas from regions ranging from 800 meters above sea level, like Tongding Oolong Tea, to those from as high as 2600 meters, like Dayuling Tea, are classified as high mountain tea. Let’s explore the distribution of high mountain teas in Taiwan from north to south.

Representatives in Northern Taiwan: Xueshan and Taiping Mountain – Taiwan High Mountain Tea

Although there isn’t a well-defined standard for high mountain tea in northern Taiwan, Pinglin in New Taipei City lies at the foothills of the Xueshan Mountain Range, with the Beishi Stream running through the area, making it an important water conservation area in northern Taiwan.

With over 2300 hectares of tea plantations, which covers about 13.5% of the entire Pinglin district, it’s a major area for tea production in northern Taiwan. Tea plantations in Pinglin are mostly situated above 400 meters above sea level, with a cool and moist climate benefiting from the pristine water quality from the Xueshan Mountain Range, resulting in high-quality tea leaves!

In Yilan, the focus is on Yulan Tea Village at the foot of the Taiping Mountain. Yulan Tea is mainly concentrated in the Songluo and Lunbei villages of Datong Township in Yilan, with the Yulan community being the most renowned.

The Yulan tea plantation is located between the valleys of the Lanyang River, at an altitude of approximately 500 to 700 meters. The produced teas are predominantly oolong teas, known for their fragrant aroma and smoothness. With tea plantations spanning 100 hectares, besides enjoying tea, it’s highly recommended to visit and experience the natural countryside filled with tea aroma.

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Representatives in Central Taiwan: Yushan, Lishan, Tongding Mountain, Cingjing Farm, and Dayuling – Taiwan High Mountain Tea

The tea plantations in central Taiwan are quite standardized, situated between 2000 to 2600 meters above sea level. In these mountainous surroundings, the tea trees receive prolonged sunlight exposure, coupled with significant day-night temperature differences, providing the best growth environment for tea trees.

Central Taiwan is renowned for its fruit orchards, cultivating high-value fruits like pears, peaches, and Honey Crisp apples. After the harvest of fruits, unsuitable or economically ineffective fruits are collected and fermented, serving as natural auxiliary fertilizers for the tea trees in central Taiwan. As a result, teas produced in this region are often described as having rich fruity aromas.

Lishan Tea is mainly produced in the Fushoushan Farm, with tea plantations situated at an altitude of approximately 2500 meters. The main variety is Lishan Longjing Tea, including varieties such as Qingxin Oolong, Wuyi, and Tieguanyin, among which Qingxin Oolong is the most common. It’s harvested only twice a year, in May-June and September-October, with an annual production of only 5000 kilograms, which is always in high demand.

Representatives in Southern Taiwan: Alishan, Meishan, Jhushan, and Chashan – Taiwan High Mountain Tea

The high mountain tea-growing areas in southern Taiwan are mainly located in Chiayi County, covering regions such as Alishan and Meishan. The tea areas in the mountains of Chiayi range from 1000 to 1800 meters above sea level. Most of the tea plantations in Meishan are concentrated in villages to the east of Meishan Township, including Taiping, Longyan, Bilu, Taixing, Ruili, Ruifeng, and Taihe villages.

In Alishan, the main areas are the Dabang and Chashan tribes. The tea plantations in the mountainous regions of Chiayi integrate the culture of the Zou indigenous people in Dabang, adding a cultural element to tea enjoyment. Alishan tea is mainly planted with Qingxin Oolong or Jin Xuan, with Alishan’s Lu Zhu tea being the most famous.

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Amidst mist-kissed peaks where clouds embrace the earth, Taiwan’s high mountain tea flourishes, its essence distilled from mountain springs and whispered legends, each sip a pilgrimage to the celestial gardens.

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What is Taiwan High Mountain Tea?

Famous Taiwanese high mountain tea

Dayuling high mountain tea

Dayuling, at 2200 metres above sea level, belongs to the primaeval forest zone located between Hehuan Mountain and Green Hill Mountain on the Central Cross-lsland Highway in central Taiwan.

The reason why the high mountain tea of Dayuling is so popular is that the winter temperature in this area drops below 0 degrees, and the annual average temperature is only about 20 degrees.

The temperature difference between day and night is large, and the low temperature slows down the growth of tea leaves which keeps water and pectin retained in the leaves. Some people refer to Dayuling tea as “Taiwan Alpine Tea King ”.

Dayuling high mountain tea is one of the most beloved high mountain teas, and has a unique fruity aroma which is sweet, rich and mellow, and full in the throat.

Tianwu High Mountain Tea

Tianwu tea is produced in the Shangwushe region of Hehuan Mountain and Lushan Hot Spring. The altitude is 1300 metres above sea level, and thanks to the surrounding clouds all year round, the rich water vapour and quality soil, the tea grown here has a mellow taste after brewing. Some even say that Tianwu high mountain tea is the best high mountain Oolong tea in the world.

Alishan high mountain tea

The tea gardens in Alishan are mainly distributed in mountainous areas with altitudes of 1100-1600 metres, among which the tea gardens in the Shijiao area are the densest. Alishan Zhulu tea is produced in the Shizhuo tea area of Zhuqi Township, and the main variety is Qingxin Oolong.

Because of its excellent quality, strong aroma and sweet taste, it is loved by tea enthusiasts all over the world. Seventy-six years ago in the Republic of China, Vice President Xie Dongmin named it “Alishan Zhulu Tea”.

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Why is Taiwan High Mountain Tea Delicious?

Due to the relationship between climate and altitude in high mountain regions, crops grown there naturally differ from those in flatlands in terms of temperature and sunlight exposure. The content of bitter substances such as catechins, theanine, and caffeine in high mountain tea trees is lower compared to those grown in flatlands.

On the other hand, the proportion of “theanine” and “soluble nitrogen,” which represent sweetness in tea flavor, is higher in high mountain tea leaves than in ordinary tea leaves. As a result, high mountain tea has become one of the favored tea types because of its good taste without bitterness, thanks to the unique conditions that create a superior tea taste.

Another advantage of significant day-night temperature differences and year-round afternoon cloud cover is that these natural factors slow down the growth of tea trees. Slow growth results in softer and thicker leaves with higher pectin content, which is why high mountain tea leaves can endure multiple infusions.

Most Taiwanese high mountain teas are lightly fermented, with a fermentation degree ranging from 15% to 25%.Taiwan’s high mountain teas are characterized by their vibrant green color, rich taste, and delicate aroma, making them a premium choice in the tea world.

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Amidst mist-kissed peaks, Taiwan High Mountain Tea flourishes, each sip a journey to the heavens, where clouds dance with the dew, and with each sip, the soul ascends to the ethereal realm.


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