First Day in Taiwan.
Today was an instant immersion into Taiwan tea and all its intricacies and quirks. By intricacies I mean such things as the many Oolong varieties, the rich history in using cultivars (cultivated variations) rather than seed planting to develop better teas and the dependency of one type of tea on the chemical reaction caused by the saliva of a small insect called a Green Tea Leafhopper. The many quirks include a different names for the same tea due to a very mixed language heritage, a different system for weight (the 'chin' = 600g) and the fact Pouching is pronounced 'boa-jong'. Confusing.
The tea has been exquisite, with the choice of which teas to pick to develop our range getting harder by the hour (and it's only day 1 of 6). Lovely Oolongs such as the light grassy Jade, flowery Amber, and sugary Brandy have all put into sharp contrast what a fantastic tea nation Taiwan is. I still have the mountain tea of the south to taste as well...
The day finished with some Aged Oolong served to me in traditional style. It was great to experience the art of the service of Taiwanese tea first hand and to confirm that rather than a rigid ceremony it relies upon the personal methods of the person serving. This is unlike previous ceremonies in Japan and China which have had fairly structured routines. The only 'rules' according to my tea server are that the teaware must not have a voice (be banged together) and eye contact is vital. Both of which I can accept!
Off towards the mountains tomorrow, from where connection allowing I will be able to post my next update.
Till then....happy tea time