A deep and abiding love of Oriental Beauty

A deep and abiding love of Oriental Beauty

Sanne Tea's Oriental Beauty offerings from 2014 and 2015 and they come with a story to tell!

Some of the prettiest leaves I have seen thus far come from this 2014 Oriental Beauty

Today I was the beneficiary of two Oriental Beauty teas from Sanne Tea. My love for Oriental Beauty grows and it seems everyone who knows me even a little knows this tea is what I care for most!
I love what the farmer calls a 'soft fire'. I love the way he and his family work, the irregular hours, the care, the instinctual intensity. I am brewing both of these teas today with no hesitation. I am ready for a new Oriental Beauty experience!

Lulu, the passionate owner of Sanne Tea tells me the following.
"These Oriental Beauty offerings are from Mr. Chen Shi Yi. He is an Organic farmer. Organic agriculture is still developing in Taiwan. He is currently one of only 22 organic tea farmers in the Pinglin area, New Taipei City. To become a qualified farmer, he has to put incredible efforts into making sure that his teas have zero pesticide residue.
The Taiwanese organic certification is typically not recognized by many Westerns, but the Taiwanese organic standard is, in fact, amended from similar regulations in the USA and Europe. Some standards may even be stricter than the US’s, like the fact that 5% pesticide residue is allowable in the USDA certification, but zero residue is allowable in the Taiwanese organic standard. Some farmers are eager to push the government to broaden the zero residue standards to include an allowable amount of pesticide residue, but, right now, most Taiwanese still believe that any organic product should have zero residue.
I would love to share more about Mr. Chen Shi Yi and his family. 10 years ago, he found his neighbor, another tea farmer, had fainted on his tea farm from breathing in too much pesticide. This accident made him rethink the danger of pesticide. He intended to gather his neighbors and get everyone to practice the new cultivation methods together. Unfortunately, his neighbors declined. They worried that the profits would not be enough to support their families. He had once told me “I am lucky that my only son has a secure job, so I only need to take care of my wife and myself. My wife and I agreed that we should put our health first, and make only the teas we love for the rest of our lives”.
Mr. Chen has a soft heart and strong will, as do his teas. His teas are very elegant, smooth, and capable of many brews. When brewing, his teas have a clean smell that lingers long after drinking, which is achieved from a time-consuming process method. He believes that a soft fire makes sweet malt. When making his teas, he takes extra effort to make sure that every process is fully completed before going on to the next. There are no regular working hours. He, Mrs. Chen and his daughter-in-law have to take turns working through the night to make sure everything is done at the correct times and nothing is processed too long or too quickly. When I drink his teas, I feel they are always sweeter than other teas."

The 2014 is brewing up to be one of the prettiest looking teas I've ever seen. I know I am a newbie and haven't seen hundreds of teas and perhaps only a half dozen Oriental Beauty teas but this one is just as pretty as my favorites. The smell in the warmed gaiwan was the sweetest I've come across, like roses! Just amazing. Woke up the leaves with a rinse, first steep was so light I had to consider it a second rinse, and realized these babies want to open up slowly, unfurl and be tasted in their own time. I lowered my temp to 180 and let the leaves 'do their thing' for 5 steeps. Wonderful, floral and so soft and loving! I almost hate to burn these sweet leaves with the water, so I am taking it down to 175. Yes, I am in a maternal state of mind with a new puppy and a pre-teen daughter in hormonal throes, but this tea is not undeserving of my compassion either. 
The 2015 will have to wait for another day, I am spending the day with Sanne Tea's 2014 Oriental Beauty with much gratitude towards all those who made it possible. I am reminded of the following and I quote;
This cup of tea in my two hands, mindfulness held perfectly.
My mind and body dwell in the here and now. Tea is a gift of the earth, the sky, 
numerous living beings and much hard work. We shall drink with mindfulness 
and gratitude so as to be worthy to receive it.