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Goldfish Tea Is All the Rage in Taiwan

What is goldfish tea?

Charm Villa's goldfish tea.
Charm Villa's goldfish tea.
Charm Villa

The ultimate tea lover gift for the drinker who has it all? Charm Villa's feverishly popularand priceygoldfish tea. Though Charm Villa, a creative agency based in Taipei, launched the limited production teabags two years ago, they're still as desired as ever (the company often sells out, so supply has been an ongoing issue) and they're now for sale in the U.S. Well, not officially, but via third party stores on Amazon, one can purchase a box of 12 teabags for $80 (as compared to $35 in Taiwan).

Fashioned from Japanese fabric and infused with Taiwanese tea leaves, the bags were designed by 28 university students from St. Johns University in Taipei. "There are 16 steps that go into making the teabag. Nine of those require manual, handicraft skill," a Charm Villa rep said via email. "As for the details of the production, those are trade secrets."

Since launch, the bags have racked up two prestigious design awards: the iF Design Award 2015 for Discipline Packaging and the Red Dot Communication Design Award a year earlier.

Photo by Clarissa Wei

Photo by Clarissa Wei.

"The goldfish in Asian culture represents wealth and good fortune," the rep explained.

The bag swells up when it hits the water and a thread is attached to the mouth of the teabag so that when pulled, it looks like the fish is swimming.

As for the Taiwanese farm-sourced tea, four flavors are in circulation: rose oolong tea, ruby black, jin xuan oolong and oriental beauty. All of them have an interesting backstory. The rose oolong is sourced from organic rose petals from Nantoua city in central Taiwan famous for their tea farms surrounded by bamboo forests. The ruby black is blended with black tea from Myamar and wild tea from Taiwan. The jin xuan oolong comes from Alishana mountain famous for its high-elevation oolong; and oriental beauty is a white-tipped oolong and picked entirely by hand.

Supplies are extremely limited. In other news, the company has plans to hold upcoming goldfish tea exhibitions in Kyoto, Milan, Paris and New York.

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