雨滌老欉堅不撓.山中漫綠愈溢芳——多元族群.傍山親土
六龜區位於平原與丘陵交會處,區內荖濃溪為流域,氣候溫和。居民組成多元,客家、閩南、外省與原住民文化在此交錯,多以農林為業,民風純樸刻苦。
約40年前,六龜區新發里製茶業興起,於此地形成茶業聚落。起初以烏龍與金萱為主,卻因臺灣人飲用這兩款茶時更偏好高山種,轉而開發更具在地風味的「臺灣原生山茶」。

根深柢固.沐水新生——八八風災後
2009年的夏天,八八風災帶來的土石流,在六龜人心上重重劃出一道傷痕。
以製茶聞名的新發里正是當年的重災區之一,橋斷路毀之外,土石流更淹沒整個村莊;山茶園自然也無法倖免,新發里的茶業亦隨著此次重創而沒落。2016年,當年災區的土地過數年的養息,透過六龜區農會輔導以及在地農民的奔走,成立了「無毒生態山茶專班」,整合六龜區內理念相同、堅持友善農法的茶農,結合觀光行銷,在不改變在地生態的情況下重新發展茶業。
如今,這群尊重自然、愛惜土地的茶農,正開始逐步收穫來自各方的肯定。

與山共榮.適性而治――六龜製茶精神
說到茶,腦中首先浮現的可能是電視廣告裡在山坡上整齊排列、階梯式的茶園。或許大多數人不清楚,長期施重肥、矮化茶樹,相當不利於水土保持;近年氣候變遷較為劇烈,可能造成的危險不言而喻。
六龜山茶茶農的基本精神,便是「敬重土地」,以周遭生態環境為主體,不改變環境、不灑藥、不施肥、不矮化,採「自然農法」,以野放、有機的方式養育茶樹,茶園裡甚至能看到山豬、山羌的痕跡,在不改變環境的前提下,六龜山茶茶農只能以艱險的方式,收穫一葉一芽。
步入六龜山茶園,你會看到和印象完全不一樣的情景:交錯於樹林中、高大且深根的茶樹,茶農徒手除草、除蟲、摘芽,以最低限度的干涉取得茶葉。在人為介入極少的情況下,六龜山茶得以完整保留在地風土的影響――於是,你飲的不再只是茶,而是整座山的生命力,是「臺灣味」。

深隱於野.百土百香――六龜山茶特色
你可能會疑惑:這樣「無為而治」的茶,適口性會不會比較差?
如何在適口性和人為干涉中取得平衡,正是六龜製茶師過去幾年致力鑽研的課題。臺灣山茶原產於海拔1500公尺的高山,屬於深根型喬木,且受到南部氣候、土壤和溫度的影響,如果用和灌木茶相同的製茶流程,口感會略顯苦澀。在數年的研究及改善下,六龜製茶師透過控制焙茶的溫度、時間與發酵程度,減少破壞茶葉中的微量元素,並以不同手法從中萃出蔗香及蜜香,大幅提升了山茶的適口性。
採用天然野放的方式對待茶樹,保留整個茶樹生態區的完整度,六龜山茶才能夠呈現最純淨、不造作的茶香,每一絲茶煙中都展現獨特的「一山一味」,醞出一盞細細描繪臺灣山區生態的茶湯。​​​​​​​

Of Mountain and Earth, of People from All Directions - An Introduction of Liouguei District
Liouguei District is situated between plain and hills with gentle weather brought by the Laonong River. The district is composed of multiple races which are Hakka, Minnan, Chinese immigrants, and aboriginals. Most of the residents are living on the agriculture and forestry industry. The people here are recognized as simple and hard working.
Liouguei District began to develop tea industry 40 years ago and the tea village was formed since then. The business was started with Oolong and Ginseng but since Taiwanese prefer high-mountain tea of these two breeds, the trend had turned to the development of "Taiwanese original mountain tea" with local flavor.
A New Life Was Born. After Morakot Typhoon
In the summer of 2009, the mudflow caused by Morakot Typhoon had stroke hard on Liouguei District.
Shinfa Village, which is famous for tea production is one of the severely affected areas. Bridges and roads were all destroyed, while the mudflow had swallowed up the whole village. Of course, tea farms were no exception. The tea industry of Shinfa Village began to go downhill after this damage. In 2016, after a few years of recovering, with the support of Liouguei District Farmers Association and the hard work of local people, "non-toxic ecology mountain tea training course" was established. The target of the course is to gather tea farmers with the same concept of eco-friendly farming and combine the business with tourism marketing to rebuild the tea industry without affecting local ecology.
Nowadays, these tea farmers who are respecting nature and land have received recognition from all aspects. In 2018, Huaxing Tea Factory first participated iTQi in Belgium with their Taiwanese original mountain tea and was honored by Superior Taste Award. In 2019, except winning the Superior Taste Award again, the mountain tea also was awarded to silver and special medal from AVPA Tea Contest in France. Also, in the International Famous Tea Appraisal Announcement, their Oolong and black tea had won gold and sliver medal. The international recognition had even attracted Japanese tea masters. These had brought the undesirable Taiwanese original mountain tea to the world's level.
Live with the Mountain-The Liouguei Tea Producing Spirit
When talking about tea, people might first come up with the image of tidy and terraced tea farms on hills. However, people might not have the idea about how much damage those tea farms might cause water and soil conservation by keep applying heavy fertilizer and shortening tea trees. And since climate change is getting more and more severe these years, those actions might lead to great danger.
The spirit of tea farmers in Liouguei District is "respecting the land". They adopt "natural agriculture" to protect the environment. "Natural agriculture" does not modify the land, use pesticide, use fertilizer, or shorten tea trees. Tea farmers breed the tea trees wildly and organically. Boars and Muntjaks could even be seen in the farmland. However, with this premise, tea farmers in Liouguei District could only harvest the single leaves difficultly.
You will see something very different from what you expect for a tea farm when you step into the tea farm in Liouguei District. A forest of tea trees is rooted deep into the ground. Farmers weeding, defaunating, and harvesting all by their hands to get hold of tea leaves with as less interference to the environment as possible. With the minimum interference of human beings, Liouguei District gets to preserve its natural environment. From this point, you are no longer drinking tea, but the spirit of the mountain which can also be known as Taiwanese flavor.
Flavors from the Earth-Specialties of Liouguei Mountain Tea
You might feel confused about if this tea is harvested in such a natural way will it taste good?
The balance between good taste and eco-friendly is always a topic for tea farmers in Liouguei District. Taiwanese mountain tea is planted in the mountain with an altitude of 1,500 meters. The tea tree is categorized as deep-rooted arbor and since it is affected by the southern weather, soil, and temperature, normal production process of shrub tea will make the tea tastes bitter and astringent. After years of research and improvement, tea masters of Liouguei District had successfully increased the flavor of the tea by controlling temperature, time, and fermentation level of tea firing to decrease damages toward trace elements in tea leaves. Moreover, they even came up with methods to extract flavors of sugarcane and honey from the leaves. These distributions had rapidly raised the tastiness of the mountain tea.
The natural treatment toward tea trees enables the completeness of the ecology that leads to the pureness and simplicity of Liouguei mountain tea. Every taste of the tea brings out the unique character of its original mountain and shows you every corner of Taiwanese ecology.
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