In Taiwan, between Taoyuan, Hsinchu and Miaoli, there is a special orange that locals call “Hu Tou Gan”, which translates to “Tiger Head Orange. This orange is usually a lot bigger than the regular one, even bigger than an grapefruit. It has extremely thick peel and is very sour, eating it is like eating lemon, so other than being big and pretty, it has very little value. The major ethnic group in the areas where these oranges grow are the Hakka and it is their legacy to not waste anything. With this spirit in their heart, Sour Orange Tea was born.
Making this tea is a very tedious process. After harvest, these oranges are scrubbed clean and then dried. A hole is cut on top of the orange so all the pulp can be taken out and mixed with tea. The pulp and tea mixture is then stuffed back into the orange and the process of drying will begin. Tea stuffed oranges are first steamed, then pressed with big heavy stones and the dried in the sun. This whole process is repeated nine times, hence it is often referred to as the nine steam and nine sun dry method. Making tea this way is very time consuming and it takes three months to make it, but without such hard work mold could start developing, wasting both fruits and tea. Making Sour Orange Tea have started over one hundred years ago, a legacy that continues until today because it is a tea that is believed to relieve coughs and colds. This is also the only hard pressed tea made in Taiwan. You can find some very vintage example of this tea, also one we offer will age gracefully.
Tea used in making those is Bai Hao Oolong, some farmers add licorice, mint leaves etc, but we have requested only tea to be used.
We have added video showing how to prepare tea for brewing, you can find it here
We are offering tea made both in 2022 and 2023, you can choose whole fruit by weight or 30g sample for each.