Friday, May 23, 2008

On the Way to Li Shan

Of the roads to tea there are many. Though, I am not a fan of suspension bridges. Especially one that spans a river so far below.

Posted by PicasaSome of the roads are more easily traveled than others.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Gong Fu Tea by Master Luo

My Question: "How should I prepare Mu Za Iron Goddess?"
Master Luo's  response: "Mu Za Iron Goddess should be prepared similarly to a high mountain oolong. First heat you tea pot, then fill the pot 1/4 full with loose leaf tea. There is no need to rinse the leaves. For the first infusion, use boiling water and infuse for 10 seconds. This first infusion will be very light, but it will prepare the pallet and the senses for what is to come. Also, if there is any residual scent or flavor left on your pallet, this first infusion will wash that away. For each consecutive infusion, do the same... boil the water and infuse for 10 seconds. This way of brewing the tea will yield about ten infusions and each will be extremely aromatic and full of flavor."

This is one way to make tea that I have been playing with. I have been enjoying the results, but find that one of the most important considerations is to make sure that the water is hot hot hot, right off the boil.

Back from Taiwan

It is great to be back in the Tea shop. I am here, but I left my cell phone in Taiwan. If you need to call, please call 503-922-1555. The tea is on the way and should be here within two weeks. What do you have to look forward to? Here is the list of new tea that is on the way:
These are the green oolongs
Spring Harvest 2008 Four Seasons oolong
Spring Harvest 2008 Jin Xuan
Spring Harvest 2008 Bamboo Mountain Oolong
Spring Harvest 2008 Zhang Shu Hu Oolong
Spring Harvest 2008 Shan Lin Xi Superior High Mountain Oolong
For eastern beauty I found
Summer Harvest 2007 Formosa Oolong
I have some great Iron Goddess on the way
Winter Harvest 2007 Mu Za Iron Goddess Honorable Mention
Winter Harvest 2008 Mu Za Iron Goddess First Tier
Some cooked puer is coming this way and I also have about six different big tree puer cakes to share. The leaves are green and the tea is strong, but the prices are more reasonable than ever.
There are many other teas as well. The new web site is almost here. Prices will be reduced when buying in 1/4 pound and greater quantities. I hope that people will take advantage of the savings and buy in 1/4 pound sizes and greater, so that the wonderful world of tea can be enjoyed every day by more and more tea fans.

I learned so much on this trip and met so many fascinating people. Now it is time to get to work so that I can share all of the information that I absorbed.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Harvest Time April 28th 2008

This group of women laugh and joke the time away as the pick the freshly grown leaves on Dong Ding mountain's western slope.
Posted by Picasa

Tai Chi Tea

This is an interesting poster series, and in the middle of Dong Ding mountain.
Posted by Picasa

A new tea set

I bought this tea set in Lugu because when using this teapot heavily baked oolongs such as Dong Ding oolong and Iron Goddess oolong will taste even better than they usually do. The pot's clay is very pourous and it will aid in creating an overall softer sensation to the highly baked oolongs. I look forward to using this set to make tea for guests in the shop for years to come.
Posted by Picasa

Lugu "Deer Valley"

Posted by Picasa

Tea! Love at first sight.

April 28th

Today I as I enter the village of Ming Jian I immediately see tea fields of tea on both sides of the road. This is very exciting! The scent of tea fills the air and I practically launch out of the car window as we encounter some of the first tea fields on this trip. As we steadily gain elevation, I begin to salivate anticipation of the wonderful teas to come.
Posted by Picasa

Giant Teapot

Wouldn't it be great to have this outside the teahouse on Friendly Street. That sure would get peoples attention. This was taken in Lugu. Shan Lin Xi mountains are in the background. Welcome to the land of "High Mountain Tea"!
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Spring Tea Shopping

April 26th 2008

I arrived at Tao Yuan International airport and got my luggage. One of my bags was called out for inspection, and as you would have guessed if you knew me well, it was the bag full of tea. Why bring a suitcase full of tea to Taiwan you might ask and rightly so. I am bringing the tea back to Taiwan so that I can bake it. This will revitalize the tea. It will bring back a fresh flavor and give it a liveliness that is so wonderful in oolongs. The customs officer let me know that there is a limit to the amount of oolong tea that one can bring into Taiwan. The limit is one kilo and I had about twenty kilos of tea. I explained that this was all tea that I brought from Taiwan and luckily he let me bring the tea in, but explained that I would have to bring proof that this tea was exported from Taiwan if I was planning to do this again. I thanked him and headed for the bus that would take me to the high speed rail.
My train left at 8:20 pm and I arrived in Jia Yi (Chiayi) one hour later. Wow that was fast. My teacher met me at the Jia Yi train station and after stopping for a snack we immediately went to a tea farmer’s house. I asked him to show me the teas that are recent harvests. He gladly obliged by picking out three teas, but he wanted to give me a test. He weighed five grams of each and steeped them for three minutes each in separate professional tasting sets. Our mission was to tell him how the teas should be ranked according to taste from most expensive to least. Price is used as a measure because where taste is subjective, price is not. The higher the price usually means the higher the elevation at which the tea was grown.
I didn’t want to be influenced by the others tasting, so I knew I had to be fast. After smelling the leaves I cast my vote. Without even tasting the tea I had made my decision, and then I went onto to taste just to make sure. My teacher agreed with me, so I felt confident, but the other taster disagreed. As luck would have it, I was right.
I placed my order and within two hours of being in Taiwan I was in possession of 115 pounds of tea. You’ve got to love Taiwan!