Then Mr 吳福老 from ChuanChou opened a tea factory called 源隆號, and began manufacturing 包種茶Pouchong Tea. This tea is also known as 清茶Clear Tea, not to be confused with 青茶Green Tea (identical pronunciation in Mandarin Chinese). Both Pouchong and Oolong are semi-fermented; the latter is in a more advanced stage and each leave tends to curl up into a little ball. Pouchong was exported mostly to China and SE Asia.
As a result, in Tamsui and northern Taiwan, tea became the crop of choice for farmers. Tea leaf picking was done almost always by young ladies. In the photo above, the arms of the girl [probably a movie starlet] in the foreground are exposed to sunlight, different from the well-shielded norm seen especially in Central and Southern Taiwan. Tea-making/processing on the other hand was a closely guarded secret, done indoors in the middle of the night by strong men.
An exporter: Mourilyan, Heimann & Co was a British trading company based in Yokohama, with a branch office in Kobe. The Tamsui affiliation might have been through the Tea Department of Jardine, Matheson & Co.
|Sears, an American importer of Oolong|
|Sears Building in Holyoke, MA, today|
After the war, the tea cultivation area actually increased to 880 hectares. And in addition to the three major types of tea, Green Tea was also produced [together with Jasmine Tea]. In the 1970s, there were more than 700 tea farms in Tamsui alone, together producing 3 million kg of tea leaves and up to 862.400 kg of raw tea per year.
The early 1980s, however, saw a decline in the demand for locally produced tea that came to an abrupt end in 1989. Now only 1.1 hectares of tea fields still linger yielding a paltry 0.77-0.88 tons of tea leaves a year.
What happened in the 80s was that in addition to the labor shortage, the whole tea enterprise of Tamsui was debased by the dumping of cheap tea from China. Ironically, too, it was the profit-seeking Taiwanese merchants who first brought the secret tea-making technology to Hokkien, that had, in conjunction with the available labor force there, enabled large-scale production of imitation Taiwanese tea, even Oolong.
Source of photos: Taipics.com/tea.php
Historical source： 淡水鎮志 Sec 5，Ch 1, p 178, ed 黃繁光教授