The tea culture has for a long time been part of Hakka life. Love songs sung between male and female pickers have been one of the characteristics of Hakka tea culture. In recent years, pestled tea has become a synonym of Hakka tea.
Pestled tea, also named San Sheng Tang, was a plague-ridding remedy in San Guo period. It is made by putting tea leaves, peanuts, and sesame in a mortar. Pestle the three and add boiling water. Add black rice then it is ready to drink. It can be drunk to quench thirst or hunger and is good for health. Traditional pestled tea is mostly salted. Since salted pestled tea is not popular, it has been changed to sweet flavor to cater to modern people’s taste.
In Taoyuan, Hsinchu, and Miaoli, green tea was used in the old days. Most of them ran a small tea farm and baked their own tea. In Beipu and Emei of Hsinchu, Pengfeng tea was famous during the Japanese occupation. It was exported to the UK and Japan, earning large sums of foreign exchange. The tea is still produced in large quantities. In recent years, Hakka tea is produced in Beipu and Emei, along Provincial Road Nr 3. The tea foods and snacks developed due to growing tourism have been introduced to match Hakka tea to form new Hakka food culture. Peanut candy, moonlight cake, and the tea foods developed in Luyi, Taidong are very popular. People are beginning to know what tea foods are. They include cold Eastern Beauty, chrysanthemum tea of Tongluo, ice and meals made of pestled tea, and newly-developed chrysanthemum cake, chrysanthemum glutinous rice tamale, chrysanthemum wine, and chrysanthemum ice.
It is foreseeable new flavors are to be developed in the future depending on demand.