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Saturday, June 26, 2010

Da Yu Ling

Many of you have probably already heard the news that the Taiwanese government is planning on shutting down the tea farms in the DaYuLing area, which is famous for its premium quality high mountain oolong. We have heard this rumor for the past three years and I learned that the government is pretty serious about it this year.

When I was in Taiwan this past May, I thought it would be great if I could find a good DaYuLing tea. We didn't carry it last season and had a fairly small amount of it the season before that. It would also have been great because this year might have been the last season for us to enjoy this tea.

On May 22nd, 4 days before I left for Seattle, I went to visit a tea friend and hoped to hear some great news about DaYuLing tea. We sat down and he said, "Not good. The tea is not good. The tea farms in the FuShouShan and DaYuLing area were attacked by 'red spiders'." He showed me a picture he took in FuShouShan. There were around 10 "red spiders" on one tea leaf. I later learned that red spiders are actually not spiders. They are a pest to many plants and fruits. They are like spider mites (kind of like aphids); I don't know exactly what they're called in English but I'm sure you can find more information about them somewhere online.

I asked my friend why it was a bad thing to have "red spiders" on the tea bushes. Afterall, isn't Oriental Beauty also produced with the help of some sort of bugs? He replied, "That's different. The bugs for Oriental Beauty nibble behind the tea leaves and take some of the leaves' moisture out from the vein. The red spiders bite too much and destroy the cells in the leaves, so it will be hard to make good tea."

I feel bad for the farmers and feel bad for not being able to get a good DaYuLing. Hopefully, I will still have a chance next season.


Anonymous said...

This is really unfortunate all around. Da Yu Ling is one of my favorite teas; I can't imagine never having it again.

Eric G. said...

Why do they want to shut it down? Is it dangerous?


CindyW said...

I'm wondering the same thing as eflass. Why do they want to shut down the tea farms there?

Shiuwen said...

I hope the government only talks about it and finds some good solutions for the farmers.
High Mountain teas became popular and more and more lands got developed. There is a saying that land slides up in the mountains are partially due to tea growing.
I heard that some farmers cultivated tea farms at the DaYuLing region without the government leasing the lands to them. So I guess it's not really legal.