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A GIFT FROM THE MOUNTAIN

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HOME > Oolong Tea > High Mountain Formosa

High Mountain Formosa

Feel As If We are trapped in a Beehive

Flavor is a very sweet and reminds us of ripe mango. Some customers describe its taste like as if being trapped in a beehive. The flavor is beyond reach of your imagination.

Taste is like fruit liquor

This tea gives a slight bitterness. It is a different kind of bitterness from Japanese green tea. This bitterness is similar to the taste of brandy.

Fruity Flavor was Made by the Green Fly

Tea leaves attacked by tiny green flies change to a yellow color and emit the fragrance which is just like a ripe fruit. When tea leaf is bitten by green fly, it produces a kind of antibody. As it happens, this antibody is the one that gives the amazingly fruity flavor. This fruity flavor is called muscatel in English. In Chinese, it is named as蜜香.

高山茶の茶園

A Passion To Create New Flavor Brought About The Formulation Of This Special High Mountain Tea

High Mountain Formosa is not a common tea in Taiwan. Try visiting any walk-in tea shop in Taiwan, you can hardly find this tea. This tea is an original tea made by an expert who has a passion to create and formulate new teas.

高級梨山茶

You can brew nearly 1 liter of tea from 1 table spoon

From one table spoon of this tea, you can brew nearly 1 liter of tea. Considering the volume of tea such little tea leaves can produce, this tea can no longer be regarded as expensive.

Experience The Special High Mountain Tea and Take An In-Depth
Look At The Fine Expertise of A Taiwan Tea Master

Introduction of High Mountain Formosa
Tea Garden of High Mountain Oolong
Tea Garden of High Mountain Oolong

This tea is a very rare tea and you can hardly find it in any Taiwan Tea Shop. This is not the ordinary High Mountain Tea, but High Mountain Tea produced only from the tea leaves which have been attacked by Green Flies. Green flies usually arrive in droves in early summer. Originally this insect was a pest for tea. Tea leaves attacked by this insect changes to yellow in color and produce a substance that has a similar function as the antibody of human. Coincidently, this substance surprisingly also smell like ripe fruit.

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1. History and Culture

Once upon a time, legend has it that a farmer had left his tea garden unattended as he was too busy to look after it. His tea garden was terribly attacked by a large number of green flies. All the bitten tea leaves changed into yellow in color. Nevertheless, he still processed the tea leaves as he could not afford to give up his tea. To his surprise, the tea processed from insect bitten leaves gave a very strong fruity flavor. Coincidentally, a European tea merchant noticed this tea. He loved its quality very much and named it as Formosa Tea. It is believed that this is the prototype of Oriental Beauty. High Mountain Formosa is made following the basic technique of making Oriental Beauty but with further development. In Taiwan, this is not even known among the locals. It can be said that it is introduced to the overseas market for the first time.

The light green insect seen in the above photo shows the green fly at the edge of tea leaf. When the insect sucks the juice of tea leaf, the leaf will turn yellowish in color.
The light green insect seen in the above photo shows the green fly at the edge of tea leaf. When the insect sucks the juice of tea leaf, the leaf will turn yellowish in color.
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2. Production Area

霧の茶園
The tea garden gets very strong sunshine in the morning, but it is completely covered by fog in the afternoon.

The tea garden is located on the mountain with an altitude above 1000m a.s.l at Nantou County in Taiwan. At high altitudes, the temperature difference between the day and night is significant. The tea garden gets very strong sunshine in the morning, but it is completely covered by fog in the afternoon. The tea leaves accumulate a lot of substances and leaving it without a chance to consume these substances. Good oolong tea gives a very smooth and sweet after taste. This is contributed by the amino acid especially theanine. Young tea leaves contain a lot of theanine. This substance will be converted into catechin and polyphenol when tea leaves receive sufficient sunshine. Due to the thick fog consistently covering the mountain area, the bio-conversion of theanine to polyphenol is hampered, thus the tea leaves preserve their high content of theanine.

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3. Cultivar and Plucking

Tea Garden of High Mountain Oolong
Tea Garden of High Mountain Oolong

The green fly likes to suck the juice of young leaf and those leaves attacked by green fly will change its color into yellow. It is said that the tea garden sometimes emits a sweet fragrance caused by the leaves that have been attacked by the green flies.

The mechanism of formation of the mysterious fragrance is yet to be fully revealed. We assume that the tea leaves attacked by these insects will subsequently produce some kind of antibody. Usually the antibody of plant are called Phytoalexin. It is known that there is a type of Phytoalexin which gives a fruity aroma. It is a small molecular substance called terpenoid. We wonder if this substance has anything to do with the flavor of High Mountain Formosa.

飛来したウンカ
Green Fly
A Non-Pesticide Tea Garden is necessary to attract the green flies. But this alone is not sufficient. It also very much depends on luck. Many other factors may also contribute to the attraction of these flies.

Plucking is carried out to select only the tea leaves which have been attacked by green flies. Only one bud and two leaves are carefully plucked by hand. The tea garden must be kept free from pesticides; otherwise green flies will not be attracted to the tea leaves and attack them. Without using pesticide, the output of tea garden drops drastically. In addition, tea leaves that can be used for this tea must be yellow in color. As it is, this tea is extremely rare, even in Taiwan which makes the production of this tea even less and rare to obtain.

High Mountain Tea Garden
High Mountain Tea Garden
This is the tea leaf that is attacked by green flies and turns into yellow in color
This is the tea leaf that is attacked by green flies and turns into yellow in color
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4. Processing

Sunshine Withering

Sunshine Withering of High Mountain Tea
Sunshine Withering of High Mountain Tea

After plucking, the tea leaves are spread over the ground under the natural sunshine. It is called Sunshine Withering. Usually clouded weather is ideal to grow this tea in order to avoid excess damage on tea leaves. If the sunny weather continues, a black cloth is used to cover the tea leaves to block out the harsh rays of sunshine. With sunshine withering, moisture inside the tea leaves gets evaporated and fermentation is moderately triggered. The tea leaves will gradually start releasing a refreshing aroma.

Indoor Withering

The method of fermentation for oolong tea is completely different from that of black tea. After the sunshine withering is completed, tea leaves are conveyed into the factory and spread over a sheet.

蜜香高山茶 室内萎凋その1
蜜香高山茶 室内萎凋その1

If the tea leaves are rich in moisture, they are spread into a thin layer in order to increase the evaporation process. The tea leaves are then tossed onto a bamboo tray. This agitation and tossing, causes friction and bruises the tea leaves which in turn causes the tea leaves to start fermentation.

蜜香高山茶 室内萎凋その4
Tea leaves are tossed onto a slanted bamboo tray in order to bruise them slightly.
蜜香高山茶 室内萎凋その1
Trays are then stored and fermentation of tea leaves will takes place.

The tray is then placed on a rack and these processes are repeated several times. This is called fermentation. Tea leaves gets oxidation mediated by the oxidative enzyme when the tea leaves get bruised.

蜜香高山茶 室内萎凋その1
蜜香高山茶 室内萎凋その1

Once entering the fermentation room, you might be surprised with its fragrance. You feel as if you are in a flower garden. Subsequently tea leaves are rotated in a bamboo drum. The tea leaves are lifted and dropped several times. Gradually the edge of tea leaves get damaged and further fermentation takes place. Tea leaves are again spread over the bamboo tray and the same process is repeated over and over again.

Once tea leaves get sufficient fermentation, it starts generating a flowery fragrance. Tea that is processed by a fine tea master is easily distinguishable. The original shape is maintained without any damage done to the tea leaves and only the edge of tea leaves are found to be red in color. This indicates that the tea leaves were successfully semi-fermented and the quality is far different from the tea leaves which have a reddish appearance at the center part of the leaf. Once the tea master finds that fermentation is sufficiently achieved, the tea is then sent for heat treatment in order to arrest further fermentation process. If this is not carried out swiftly, the tea leaves will keep on fermenting and it will finally turn into black tea.

The number of rotation and timing of fermentation is judged based on the moisture content, flavor and color. This decision requires top-notch experienced tea technicians which affects the quality of tea tremendously. All technicians follow the instruction of a tea master. In order to get good quality tea, we need to pick out an excellent tea master.

Rolling

蜜香高山茶 揉捻2
蜜香高山茶 揉捻1

At this stage, tea is fermented and gives an identical character of Dong Ding Oolong. However the tea leave have not been damaged or bruised except for its edges. Without physical damage on tea leaves, it is difficult to "brew". On the other hand, conducting the rolling process as black tea where tea leaves are twisted tautly under strong pressure, the tea leaves will be excessively damaged and will be astringent and harsh in taste. In addition, excessive damage of leaves expose constituents to the oxygen and cause unwanted oxidation that will also affect to the taste and flavor. Therefore the very unique rolling process called "Bag rolling" is used for oolong tea. Literary tea leaves are wrapped in a piece of cloth and rolled. Therefore, the tea leaves are twisted just right with the right amount of pressure applied.

While the tea leaves are still warm and soft, it is quickly wrapped in a cloth bag. About 10-20kg of tea leaf is wrapped and it is made into the size of about a basket ball. Then the end of cloth is mechanically twisted by machine in order to squeeze it into a very solid ball. Finally it becomes as solid as a stone ball and as a result the tea leaves are compressed very tightly.

蜜香高山茶 揉捻3
蜜香高山茶 揉捻4

Then, the cloth ball is clamped between disks at the top and bottom. The top disk does not move while the bottom disk rotate and tea gets further pressure through the motion. After the rolling process is conducted for a while, the bag is opened and the tea leaves are taken out and reheated again in a rotating drum. This is necessary as once the tea leaves cool down, it becomes crispy and easily crushed. This series of processes are repeated several times until it is well rolled.

The tea leaves are gradually tighten and become round in shape. High grade tea is usually very solid and it appears to be dark and shiny as the juice of the tea leaf is squeezed and hardens on the surface of the leaf.

The same sequence is repeated several times. The parameter is varied depending on the condition of leaf such as moisture content. It is important to feel the condition of tea leaf and apply the suitable method of process which is judge expertly by the tea master.

After this rolling process is completed, the tea leaves are dried and this will reduce the moisture content down to 5%.

蜜香高山茶 火入れ1
Once tea leaves cool down, it becomes brittle. The tea leaves are then heated up inside a rotating drum to soften it again.
蜜香高山茶 火入れ2
While these series of process are being carried out, the tea master is constantly monitoring attentively the condition of tea leaves in each step.
蜜香高山茶 火入れ2
Nearly 10kg of tea leaves are packed in the cloth.
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5. Quality Inspection Method

Appearance of Tea Leaf:

Tea leaf is tight, round in shape and solid. The size of tea leaves is consistent and its surface is lustrous. Good quality tea are weighty when you hold some quantity with your palm you can most certainly feel its weight.

Consistency of Tea Leaf:

Good quality tea consists of tea leaves with consistent size and shape. The same shape indicates that good technique in tea making process and good material is used.

Foreign Material:

There is no foreign material such as fiber, bamboo, piece of wood, sand or stone.

Fragrance:

When it is brewed, it gives a strong fruity aroma and flavor. This flavor lasts even after several brewing.

Liquor:

Bright and transparent, in golden yellowish color, and not dusty.

Taste:

Smooth, yet it is not as sweet as Oriental Beauty, but with a very refreshing taste like High Mountain Tea. This is due to the long withering process.

Brewed Tea Leaf:

蜜香高山茶の茶殻
Brewed Tea Leaf

Tea leaves are very tender and elastic. It contains less broken or cracked leaves. Looking at the cracked leaves, we can understand the reason what caused the crack. If the cracked part shows a reddish color, it indicates it was damaged when enzyme was still alive, which means that crack was made before Rolling Process. This shows that either the leaves were not properly handled or tossing was too rough. If the cracked part remains green in color, it indicates the tea leaves were cracked during the rolling process or too excessively dried.

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6. Recommended Brewing Method

Many customers are afraid of brewing oolong tea as it seems very difficult. However it is not that difficult once you understand the theory.


At first, bring the cool water to boil. Use soft water for preparation of tea. The water processed by distillation or reversed osmosis is not suitable for brewing tea. These water contains no minerals and it will cause tea to become tasteless. If normal tap water is used, it is advisable to use a filter. Boil the water just before brewing tea. It is very important to boil water so as to evaporate the chlorine and other types of contaminated substance in the water. Do not continue boiling for more than a few minuets as it will rather concentrate the mineral and the character of water may be converted to hard water.

The important point for brewing oolong tea is:

1) Use boiling water. 2) Avoid drastic decrease of water temperature. The sweet taste of green tea comes from the substance called amino acid which can dissolve in the water at a lower temperature. Therefore, low temperature is applied only for green tea. On the contrary, the taste of oolong tea comes from poly phenol and its oxidized substances. Those substances could only dissolve in the water at high temperature. In other words, you would not enjoy the real taste of oolong tea if it is brewed at a lower temperature. The taste of oolong tea very much depends on the brewing method.

Go to further information about suitable water for brewing tea >>


In order to enjoy oolong tea, always ensure that the water temperature is very hot. Use boiling water and rinse tea pot with boiling water to keep it hot.

Brewing Method 1
Arrange tea ware.

Arrange tea ware.

Brewing Method 2
Pour boiling water into the tea pot and fill up to 70%. This is to heat up the tea pot. If the pot is not warmed up, the temperature of water will drop drastically when a cold tea pot is used for brewing tea. This will affect the taste and flavor of tea.

Pour boiling water into the tea pot and fill up to 70%. This is to heat up the tea pot. If the pot is not warmed up, the temperature of water will drop drastically when a cold tea pot is used for brewing tea. This will affect the taste and flavor of tea.

Brewing Method 3
After 20 seconds, discard hot water from the warmed tea pot.

After 20 seconds, discard hot water from the warmed tea pot.

Brewing Method 4
Usually 1g is equivalent to 25〜50ml of water. For the small tea pot of 150〜250ml, about 5〜6g of tea leaves is sufficient, which can be measured by 1 table spoon.

Usually 1g is equivalent to 25〜50ml of water. For the small tea pot of 150〜250ml, about 5〜6g of tea leaves is sufficient, which can be measured by 1 table spoon.

Brewing Method 5
Place in about 5g of tea leaves. This photo shows the inspection plate which is convenient for placing the tea leaves. If the lighter taste is preferred, reduce the quantity of tea leaves.

Place in about 5g of tea leaves. This photo shows the inspection plate which is convenient for placing the tea leaves. If the lighter taste is preferred, reduce the quantity of tea leaves.

Brewing Method 6
Pour in the hot water. When pouring water, move the kettle upwards and downwards which is good as it will agitate the tea leaves. You can feel the aroma from the upcoming steam.

Pour in the hot water. When pouring water, move the kettle upwards and downwards which is good as it will agitate the tea leaves. You can feel the aroma from the upcoming steam.

Brewing Method 7
Within 10 seconds, pours off hot water into pitcher. Usually we recommend 7 seconds. The first brewing is to open up the tea leaves and its aroma and taste is not release yet.

Within 10 seconds, pours off hot water into pitcher. Usually we recommend 7 seconds. The first brewing is to open up the tea leaves and its aroma and taste is not release yet.

Brewing Method 8
Pour boiling water into tea pot up to 90%.

Pour boiling water into tea pot up to 90%.

Brewing Method 9
You can feel the aroma through the upcoming steam.

You can feel the aroma through the upcoming steam.

Brewing Method 10
The tea leaves start expands in the tea pot and emit its aroma.

The tea leaves start expands in the tea pot and emit its aroma.

Brewing Method 11
Gently place the lid and leave it for 55 seconds. For second brewing leave it for 45 seconds, follow by 55 seconds for the third brewing.

Gently place the lid and leave it for 55 seconds. For second brewing leave it for 45 seconds, follow by 55 seconds for the third brewing.

Brewing Method 12
In China, they pour boiling water over the cap in order to keep the tea pot warm. But this method is never used in Taiwan as they believe that the tea pot is hot enough.

In China, they pour boiling water over the cap in order to keep the tea pot warm. But this method is never used in Taiwan as they believe that the tea pot is hot enough.

Brewing Method 13
While waiting for brewing, pour hot water from the pitcher into the tea cups in order to warm them up. But this is not practiced in Taiwan as they believe there is no need to warm up the tea cup.

While waiting for brewing, pour hot water from the pitcher into the tea cups in order to warm them up. But this is not practiced in Taiwan as they believe there is no need to warm up the tea cup.

Brewing Method 14
Pour tea into a pitcher completely until the last drop which is most concentrated. It is important to keep the tea leaves without liquor before subsequent brewing. Steeping the tea leaves in hot water will caused excessive extraction of polyphenol and tannin which gives an astringent and bitter taste.

Pour tea into a pitcher completely until the last drop which is most concentrated. It is important to keep the tea leaves without liquor before subsequent brewing. Steeping the tea leaves in hot water will caused excessive extraction of polyphenol and tannin which gives an astringent and bitter taste.

Brewing Method 15
While waiting for brewing, discard the first brew from each tea cup.

While waiting for brewing, discard the first brew from each tea cup.

Brewing Method 16
Pour tea from the right end which is supposed to be served for the guest. The one on the left is for the host.

Pour tea from the right end which is supposed to be served for the guest. The one on the left is for the host.

Brewing Method 17
The last cup of tea (on the left) contains the small piece of tea leaves. This is for the host.

The last cup of tea (on the left) contains the small piece of tea leaves. This is for the host.

If you think that the above method is too difficult or not suitable, always develop your own method.


Enjoy a nice cup of tea as long as you follow the key points:

1) Use boiling water; 2) Do not cool down the water temperature.


For example, you can use a glass cup. When preparing the tea, after pouring boiling water into the glass cup, cover it tightly. It is also one of the ways. It is very interesting to learn about traditional methods as we can also enjoy the culture through the preparation of tea. However this is not a must. Under the circumstances, sometimes it is necessary to change the method.

Storage of tea leaves

Keep tea away from moisture

Once a bag of tea is opened, please finish it within 3 months if you wish to enjoy its freshness. From the medical point of view, it is safe to consume the tea even if it is kept for a few years. However the freshness disappears if it is kept for too long. Tea must be tightly sealed before it is kept. Tea should be kept in ambient and dry conditions such as in the living room, but it must be completely away from humidity. Tea should not be kept in the kitchen as the environment is very humid. Avoid enclosed area such as inside the cupboard or drawer as these places are damp. Also avoid opening the bag of tea in humid atmosphere. It is recommended to open the bag during a sunny day or under air-conditioned atmosphere. Once tea leaves absorb moisture, deterioration of tea will be triggered within a few days. Tea will then give an astringent taste, sometime it tastes sour. The fresh aroma also becomes weaker.

Beware of keeping the tea in the fridge

The quality of tea lasts longer if it is kept in the fridge. However we strongly recommend you not to keep tea in the fridge. When tea is withdrawn from the fridge, there is usually condensation. Once tea is exposed to moisture during condensation, the quality will deteriorate within a few days. The higher moisture content in the tea leaves will trigger oxidation and it will completely destroy the quality of tea.

Here’s one frequently asked question: what happens if bag is sealed using tape or tea is packed in zipper bag and kept inside the fridge?

For your information, these simple sealing methods are not sufficient. When the bag is withdrawn from the fridge, it is cold inside the bag and therefore causes negative pressure. Air will be drawn from outside and condensation will occur. In addition, if the bag is taken in and out from the fridge very often, this will cause heat stress to the tea leaves as temperature is increased and decreased very frequently. If tea is kept in the fridge, when it is withdrawn from the fridge, it is necessary to leave it in ambient atmosphere for more than 24 hours in order to warm up the tea leaves. Based on our experience, 12 hours is not long enough. We may think tea is warmed up, but inside the bag, the tea leaves are still cold due to insulation effect.

 

Safety as a Part of HOJO's Quality

 

Payment

Solution Graphics

We accept various kinds of credit card through Paypal.

Only if customer prefer other option of payment, we suggest "Bank Transfer".

 

Shipping

Various choice of shipping method

EMS, SAL, Small Packet, Small Packet (SAL) Yamato Express and Surface

For shipping tea, we usually suggest small air parcel, the estimated shipping cost of tea in 100g (with wrapping material ) is

Small Parcel

USA JPY 600, EU JPY600 and Asia JPY470

Small Packet (SAL)

USA JPY380, EU JPY380 and Asia JPY320

The shipping fee to oversea by small air parcel happens to be even cheaper than domestic shipping fee in Japan.

 

Custom Fee

For your information, some countries, EU in particular imposes custom duty. We need buyer to bare the duty. We are sorry, but we cannot change the amount on the invoice, and we do not mark any packages as gifts. We will strictly follow the custom regulation.

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