The short answer is locally in Taiwan because almost all the production is consumed locally, especially the very best. There are two reasons for this.
First, most of the Taiwanese tea production was for export until the beginning of the 80’s. To reduce the dependency on export, government redirected tea production to domestic market. Through educational programs, like museums, tea contests, and festivals, the redirection project has been very successful. Not just freeing the Taiwanese tea industry from growing competition in the international tea export market, it has developed a strong local tea culture.
Today, tea growers take great care of their gardens. They thoughtfully choose and care for their tea trees and experiment and perfect the processing technique in order to produce the best possible quality to win in the twice-yearly competition. To win in the competition will bring fame and prestige to the grower and the winning tea patch will go to the tea connoisseurs from around the world with the highest bid.
Taiwanese tea enthusiasts will travel the country to find their preferred tea growers. Some would even ask for custom processed tea from their preferred tea growers to satisfy their personal taste.
Second, apart from a thriving and well developed domestic tea market, it is the size of the Taiwanese tea gardens. Unlike India, China or Sri Lanka, the main tea producing countries in the world, where tea gardens spread over several thousand acres, the Taiwanese tea industry is fragmented among more than 30,000 growers, mostly small ones. For most of the growers, due to the economic size, it is not in their interest to export their specialist artisan tea.
To share Taiwan’s top quality artisan Oolong tea, I started DrinkMoreTea to bring premium Oolong tea directly from Taiwanese tea growers to Europe.