Taiwan Trip with a Focus on Friendship and Tea
Our visit to Taiwan was made with a desire to learn more about oolong tea and build our tea source relationships. In both respects, the trip had much success and was an experience of a lifetime. Our hosts, also our tea source for many of our oolongs, are multi generational tea farm owners. We were fortunate to visit their local tea house, which their youngest niece, Jade, owned and managed. It was there that we witnessed how the whole family was involved in the tea operation.
The first night with our hosts in Taiwan, we had a Japanese style dinner and were introduced to the lazy daisy style of Taiwanese meals. This means food is served family style, with a turning platter in the middle where all the dishes of food sit. Food, and all of it was delicious, was served this way in all the restaurants we went to.
Then we were off to a mountain tea resort run by an acquaintance of the family. Made of steel and fragrant cedar, the resort was nestled between tea plants and sat above a high river gorge. It was a much needed, restful sleep for everyone, except for our friend Christine, who couldn’t sleep with the cacophony of snoring from her brothers and Jake ; )
We stayed at the family tea farm for a day. It was the off season, and we were the only ones at the bunkhouse and kitchen. The farm is nestled high up in the mountains at the end of the steepest road I’ve ever been on in my entire life. From there, you could see other tea farms dotting the distant mountains. The farm was quiet and beautiful in all directions. After dinner, we sang karaoke for hours, before finding our sleep pads and crashing in the bunk house.
Christine took us to a tea farm at a lower elevation that was manufacturing tea that day. It was there that we saw the full oolong process, from the picked leaf, wilted, then manipulated over and over again for hours to maximize the full flavor of the leaf.
What we walked away from our trip to Taiwan is that tea is a family affair. From seedling to shipping the tea out the door, everyone is involved. You know you are getting the best quality, because everyone is invested in the outcome.
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