The story of Jhentea and this family of tea masters spans over many generations and begins with Hon Chen in 1850. Hon Chen was a tea master in Fujian, China who had shared his knowledge with his family, eventually expanding into Taiwan. The fertile soil and weather conditions in Taiwan were perfect for cultivating tea. Hon Chen's son, Li Chen was able to establish a tea garden on the Taipei mountain thanks to the family's hard work and passion. Dong Li Chen, wife of Li Chen's son, Jeder Chen, became one of the first female tea masters. Her cultivation of Oolong tea had become world-renowned and her perseverance had earned her the respect of fellow tea masters. Today the tea making is led by Dong Li's daughter Fu Chen, and her daughter Ai Fang, the second and third female tea masters of the family.
Taiwan was first recorded as Ilha Formosa, or "Beautiful Island" by Portuguese traders as they passed the island in 1542. As new settlers from around the world came to the area, new tea bushes and seeds were introduced to the region due to the flourishing wild tea and opportunity for cultivation. During the 1860s tea production expanded as a British merchant, John Dodd invested in the local people to establish farms. Infrastructure to cultivation improved and teas were exported throughout the world. Taiwan's Tea Research and Extension Station (TRES) was created to research and develop many cultivars. Today, most of the tea farmers produce for the local market rather than for the purposes of export.
Jhentea Family History
Jane Pettigrew's World of Tea by Jane Pettigrew