For the longest time, I’ve been using the names “Taiwan Beauty” and “Royal Courtesan” interchangeably, believing that they were the same type of tea. However, they’re NOT.
They are pretty similar, though:
– Both are Taiwanese oolongs with high oxidation level.
– Both are produced by letting a type of insect partly consume the tea leaves to initiate the oxidation process, which gives the tea a distinguished sweetness.
– Both are harvested in the summer.
– When steeped, both yield a fragrant sweetness.
– Appearance: Taiwan Beauty (TB) is twisted, dark golden grown, whereas Royal Courtesan (RC) is rolled with a slight greenish hue.
– Smell before steeping: one of them is smokier than the other, but Darius and I disagree on which one is smokier
– Smell after steeping: TB yields a rooty, spicy, rich fragrance of ganzou, whereas RC smells fruity sweet with a floral hint. Teance compares TB with “molasses, wild clover and orange blossom” and RC with “hyacinth“.
– Taste: similar differences as the smell.
– Origin: TB is from Shinjhu, RC is from Tung Ting.
– Type of insect: TB was nibbled by a type of leaf-hopper cicada, RC was nibbled by a type of leaf hopper (distinguishable, I know. But even Teance’s website is not much help here, and the taste differences come from more than just the bugs anyway…)