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台灣茶葉發展史 The History of the Development of Taiwanese Tea

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台灣茶葉發展史
The History of the Development of Taiwanese Tea


台灣雖在茶園面積及產量上在世界各地所占比例,微乎其微,唯在半醱酵茶葉中獨樹風格,從古今到中外,都不能或缺,在世界茶史上占有一席重要地位。

根據《諸羅縣誌》(西元1717年)記載:「水沙連內山,茶甚夥,......」等,發現台灣先民早在清初就已利用野生茶焙製茶葉。不過,現今的台茶是栽培型而非野生,清嘉慶年間(西元1796~1820年),有柯朝自福建武夷山引入茶種,種植於(魚桀)魚坑(今台北縣瑞芳地區),相傳為台灣北部植茶之始,迄今近二百年,也寫下一頁風光的台茶史。清末民初,台灣三大外銷產業,南糖北茶及樟腦,其中茶葉不僅居首,更是其它產業總和,大稻埕取代艋舺成為經貿重鎮,大小精製茶廠紛紛在大稻埕設置,一時之間,成為加工茶葉出口區,每天光是在附近亭仔腳揀茶枝的人口,就高達一萬人以上,台茶發展到達了最顛峰。

日據時期,工業日本、農業台灣的政策,讓台茶繼續有一段輝煌風光的歷史。光復後持續到民國六十二年(西元1973年)全台粗製茶生產量達二萬八千餘公噸,外銷達二萬三千餘公噸,其中綠茶佔百分之七十八,創台灣有史以來產銷最高記錄。

但民國六十三年開始,世界發生石油危機,加上台幣升值,勞力缺乏,工資高漲,而大陸、印度等茶區迎頭趕上,台茶逐漸喪失外銷競爭力,西元1986年外銷量降為一萬公噸,不足總產量的百分之四十二。

不過,失之東隅,收之桑榆,台灣茶葉已由以往的外銷為主,逐漸轉為內銷為重,國內有識之士登高一呼要國人多喝茶,一時之間推廣功夫茶、小壺泡的聲音此起彼落,不僅讓現代化茶藝館及古色古香的茶樓如雨後春筍般林立,也將茶帶入每個家庭,更逐漸形成台灣特有茶藝文化,與日本的茶道相互媲美。精緻農業,也讓台灣半醱酵茶,名滿天下,連同茶藝文化的輸出,台茶在新的世紀中,正揚帆而起。

In terms of the size of the tea plantation and its yield, Taiwan plays but a minor role in the world tea industry. However, the uniqueness of its semi-fermented tea has put it in a class of its own – with a prominent presence then and now, it holds an important position in the world history of tea.

According to the “State Diary of Zhu Luo” (1717 A.D), the forefathers of Taiwan have begun roasting wild tea leaves for brewing since the early Qing Dynasty. However, Taiwanese tea today is of the cultivated instead of wild variety. During the reign of Emperor Jia Qing in the Qing Dynasty (1796 – 1820 A.D), Ke Zhao brought tea cultivar from the Wuyi Mountain of the Fujian Province back to Taiwan. He planted it in Yu Keng (Now Rui Fang, Taipei), and this was said to be the origin of tea plantation in Northern Taiwan. Dating to nearly two hundred years ago, it marked the beginning of Taiwan’s tea history. In the late Qing and Early Min Dynasties, Taiwan’s three largest export industries were summarized as ‘Southern sugar, Northern tea and Camphor’. Tea topped the list, not to mention that its output was the sum total of all other industries. Tea shops of different sizes multiplied in Da Dao Cheng, which was replacing Meng Jia as a major trading hub. Da Dao Cheng became a tea processing and export area almost overnight. There were more than 10,000 people picking and discarding unwanted twigs among the harvest tealeaves every day when the Taiwanese tea development reached its peak.

During the Japanese Occupation, the golden age of Taiwanese Tea continued with the policy of developing Japan’s Industries and Taiwan’s agriculture. In 1973, Taiwan’s raw tea production recorded a capacity of 28,000 tonnes, among which more than 23,000 tonnes were exported. 78% was green tea. This set the highest record in the history of tea production in Taiwan. Then the export took a sharp downturn.

In 1974, the global oil crisis broke out. The exchange rates of New Taiwan Dollars went up. At the same time, wages rocketed and there was a scarcity of labour. Outside of the country, tea plantations of China and India were fast catching up. Taiwanese tea started to lose its competitive edge internationally. In 1986, exports were reduced to 10,000 tonnes, equivalent to less than 42% of the gross production. This may well be a blessing in disguise -- what the country has lost in its export revenue was made up by domestic consumption. Some people with foresight began to encourage fellow countrymen to consume more tea. Promotion of ‘kung fu” tea and ‘small pot’ tea drinking went in full force, accompanied by the mushrooming of modern tea art centres and classic tea houses.

Meanwhile, tea became a household beverage. Over time, this has developed into Taiwan’s unique tea culture, which is as widely recognised as the tea ceremony of Japan. Quality Taiwanese semi-fermented tea has won wide acclaim the world over. With this fine offering and the thriving tea art and tea culture, Taiwanese tea is poised to soar higher in this new century.



Oolong Tea Taiwan Oolong Tea Talk 乌龙茶 台湾乌龙

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