While Sun Moon Lake in Nantou County is renowned for its Assam black tea #18, this year’s tea harvest has declined due to heavy rain in June, according to Yuchi Township Agriculture Director-General Wang Wei-wen (王威文).
The total tea production in the region is expected to fall by half this year. Wang noted, however, that the price and quality of the tea will not see any significant fluctuations.
The #18 tea accounts for about 400 hectares of tea cultivation in the area, with another 100 hectares dedicated to other varieties. Wang said that most farmers do not use pesticides or chemical fertilizers to ensure the quality of the tea, but the organic cultivation methods also make the harvest more prone to environmental factors.
Sun Moon Lake Tea Culture Promotion Association (日月潭茶文化推廣協會理) Chairman Lin Hui-mei (林惠美) supported Wang’s claim, saying that with the technological advancements and the maturation of the industry over the last two years, there should be little impact on the price or quality of the tea this year.
The Assam black tea was introduced to the Sun Moon Lake region almost a hundred years ago as Japan imported tea bushes from Assam, India, with the intention of developing a tea export industry in Taiwan. In 1999, the region developed its signature #18 tea variety.
The price of the Assam tea #18 this year is expected to be NT$100,000 (US$3,296) per jin (1.32 lbs). The #21 tea will cost at least NT$3,000 per jin.