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An interview with Eve Baker

Founder of the Oolong Tea Company

So Eve Why Oolong Tea?

I love tea, I used to drink it like this (shows me a tea bag) and then one day the tea bag spit and I noticed it was just dust. Around the same time, this was about 20 years ago, I was fortunate enough to be in Taiwan and my business colleagues were serving me a strange whole leaf tea like this.

I noticed it was sweet, had hints of honey and that it didn’t need sugar or milk. It was also different in that it wasn’t green tea or black tea but something else altogether.

Would you like to try some?

Why did you chose Oolong tea for your business?

Taiwan is reputed to produce the best tea in the world and, due to its strict environmental laws, the healthiest. It is called Oolong tea. The United Nations has suggested that some types of Oolong tea may have anti-cancer, anti-oxidant and anti-diabetes properties. I think it’s important to remember that some countries use masses of pesticides and herbicides in order to produce massive crops of tea.

The problem and the solution is that Taiwan only produces 0.05% of the worlds tea. They have a scientific tea institute called TRES, that, in conjunction with the government pushes for high quality organic and environmentally friendly teas. As most plantations are simply a couple of small fields on the mountainside, the producers are small holders that share the same small factory for production.

Most of this high-end Oolong tea is sold to local Taiwanese and Japanese connosieurs.

So, I thought why not meet the farmers and see if I could buy some from them. Initially this was just for my family. But soon friends and neighbours started to ask for some.

I sell just 8 types of tea through the Oolong tea club, so I can guarantee quality.

If for any reason a member doesn’t like it I give them their money back.

What is oolong tea?

Its important to emphasise that there is authentic Taiwanese Oolong tea, that has a fresh, crisp and sweet taste- without the tannic aftertaste of black tea or the grassiness of green tea - and then there is oolong tea that is mass produced in other countries. The later will often have a mustiness and is sometimes artificially flavoured. Taiwanese Oolong tea, like all tea comes from the camellia sinensis or tea plant. This tea is then left to oxidise or ferment in the air during a carefully controlled process. This is overseen by a tea master and there art as well as the quality of the leaf helps to shape what is an incredible product.

How do you market your business?

I am obsessed with Oolong tea– and so I have a blog. I also make short films about Taiwan, its people, its culture and its environment. The main thing though is the oolong tea club as this allows people to try authentic Taiwanese high mountain oolong Tea.

I also plan to run some tea hunting trips to the island next year.

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