Floating Leaves Tea Home ---Shiuwen's Blog!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

2015 Yunnan Tour Itinerary

Here is our exciting, tentative itinerary for the April Yunnan Tea Tour!*

April 12th: Kunming. We will meet at the hotel at 10 in the morning. Awoono and I will take you to tour the city and have lunch. After lunch, we will hang out in a very cool local tea house (or two) to taste some special puers. It will be good to relax in a nice tea house after a long flight. We will learn about puer and talk more about the places we will visit during our trip.

April 13th: We will travel to Mo-Jiang, to my co-tour leader's hometown to visit her uncle, who is a tea farmer. At his farm, we will pick tea leaves and learn the basics of tea firing.

April 14th: We will visit another tea farmer in the Mo-Jiang area. This farmer is doing environmentally-responsible farming practices; he doesn't use chemical fertilizer or pesticides. I was lucky to taste his tea last year and it was very good. Besides visiting his farm, we will try to learn how to press puer cakes from him. We will also take you to a great restaurant to eat locally grown organic vegetables and meat.

old style tea farming

local vegetables

April 15th: We will leave early today and travel south to the Xishuangbanna area. We will be visiting one of the most well preserved tea forests, where there are around three thousand tea trees ranging from 200 years to 1000+ years old. It will feel magical to hike through an old tea tree forest.

a huge old Puer tree

April 16th: We will travel to Nannuo Mountain, one of the most famous puer tea mountains, known for its high quality puer maocha. We know some local tea producers and experts that will teach us more about this special tea and how to taste them.

Puer mao cha from Nannuo Mountain

April 17th: Today, we will be joining one of the biggest festivals in Xishuangbanna. This celebration is observed throughout Southeast Asia. This festival is celebrated by the Dai tribe, for "getting rid of the old and welcoming in the new." We will also be exploring some Dai cuisine while we are here.

April 18th: We are going to visit some local pottery places. We hope to be able to show you how the local pottery is made. If we don't catch any production in action, we will at least have a chance to get some unique jars to store your precious puer.

April 19th: We are going to travel to Lijiang today. After we check into our hotel, we will be touring the old town of LiJiang, which is an Unesco Heritage Site. This city is around 800 years old and has a well preserved old city structure that is breathtaking. The Naxi tribe is the biggest group of people who live here. We will explore their culture and cuisine, too.

April 20th: We are planning to visit a Tea Horse Old Route museum in LiJiang. LiJiang is also one of the ancient Silk Road's trade stops. This museum will offer us a glimpse into the city's history and also some puer tea knowledge. We plan to have some time in the afternoon for you to do some souvenir shopping!

April 21st: We will travel back to Kunming. Time to pick up your luggage and fly home. 

*This is a tentative itinerary. It's subject to change, hopefully for the better in case unique opportunities arise!

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

2015 April Yunnan Tour Logistics

Happy 2015! I am looking forward to having a good year and I hope you are too.

I am super excited with this upcoming Yunnan tea tour. I hope you can join me and we can explore this wonderful and fascinating tea region together.

Here are the logistics for this April tour:

Time April 12th to 21st ( 10 days in Yunnan).

Cost: $2900 includes lodgings, three meals a day, transportation in Yunnan, tickets and fees for activities and classes, and two tour leaders. $400 extra for single occupancy.

Deposit: $500 deposit by Feb. 15. After that, it will be non-refundable.

Highlights of this trip: Please see this blog post. The trip itinerary is coming up in my next post.

Benefits of this trip: I am planning to take 4 to 6 people. It will be a small group for those of you who prefer that. The original cost of this tour is $3500, but since it's my first tour to Yunnan, it's $2900 for this trip. It's around 15% off!

If you are interested or have any questions, please contact me at tea@floatingleaves.com

Friday, December 26, 2014

Christmas Eve in Taiwan, Part I

Greetings from Taiwan!

Today (day two in Taiwan) I woke up and still had jet lag. While I had tea with my friend, she told me she didn't have to work today and asked me what I wanted to do. My mind was thinking about all of the work I should be doing today, but I looked out and it was sunny and beautiful. I looked at her and thought, "What the heck. I should enjoy today off with her!" I told her we should go to PingLin to enjoy the view and sunshine. 

The moment we set out from her house, we were already filled with joy. The breeze and sunshine brought smiles to our faces (70F, awesome!!!).

Before we headed out, I called a tea friend to let him know that I had already arrived in Taiwan. He told me he was planning to be in PingLin to pick up some tea for me. What a nice coincidence!

We met in Farmer Chen's shop and had some tea. It was great to see Mrs. Chen. She greeted us with a big smile. She said Farmer Chen was out picking tea today. The weather conditions were good to make Dong Pian, the second winter harvest tea.

Mrs. Chen heated up the water and treated us to a pot of the most freshly made Dong Pian Baozhong. It was very fragrant. She said Dong Pian Baozhong is from JinXuan, Cui Yu, and SiJiChun varietals. She said Chin Xin varietal doesn't grow very quickly after the first winter harvest. The tea we were drinking was made from Cui Yu, so it’s no wonder the bouquet was very bold.

After tea, we went to have lunch. Ah food, so good! While we were eating, Mr. Tsai's wife told us about some special dishes from her hometown, and invited us to go there to eat! I told her that only Taiwanese people will talk about other food while they are already eating a lot of food. I always find these moments to be adorable and I truly savor them.

After lunch, we went to look for Farmer Chen. I went to one of his tea fields and didn't find him. On the way there, we saw lots of beautiful tea flowers. Mr. Tsai said that they are getting popular in Taiwan, so lots of people are growing them.

It was beautiful in PingLin today. I took in as much as I could and feel very lucky to be here with my dear friends. A view, a smell, the sound of birds and insects, and friends remind me how much I love this special island.

We didn't end up finding Farmer Chen, but it's alright. I can imagine his smile and I keep it in my heart while we continue our trip in PingLin.

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Yunnan Tea Tour - April 2015

My tea friend, Awoono (born and raised in Yunnan), offered me the opportunity to lead a Yunnan tea tour with her. I have been wanting to go there for a long time!

We have been working on the itinerary. The more I work on it, the more excited I am about the trip. I am looking forward to exploring Yunnan with you!

The trip will be scheduled as a 10 day tour. We are planning for the tour to take place from April 12th through the 21st.

The highlights of this trip will include:

The city of MoJiang (Awoono's hometown) to visit Awoono's uncle who is tea farmer. We are hoping to pick tea with him and learn how to fire tea as well. We will also be visiting a Puer tea farm where the farmer has been practicing ecological/traditional ways of farming (no pesticides or chemical fertilizers). Awoono is making arrangements with him to show us how to press Puer cakes.

Then we will travel south to the Menghai region and visit a well-preserved tea forest. Awoono told me this is one of the best-preserved old tea trees areas. The tea trees there are from 200 to 1000 years old. I can't wait to hike through the tea forest! Then we will go to NanNuo Mountain to talk to some farmers and hunt for some more delicious Puer teas.

We will then return to Menghai city, just in time for one of the biggest festivals there. This celebration is observed throughout Southeast Asia, in such countries as Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar. In Yunnan, it's celebrated by the Dai tribe. Locals sprinkle water on each other, hoping to wash away the "old and bad" and to welcome in the new.

We are also planning to take participants to visit some locally-made pottery workshops. Clay pottery is a great way to store the precious tea cakes that you will be able to find during our trip. At the end of our tour, we plan to visit the beautiful old city of LiJiang.

There will be more details to come. Meanwhile, if you are interested in the tour, please contact me at tea@floatingleaves.com so that I can make sure you get the latest news and updates about the this very special trip. Let's go to Yunnan together!

*photos provided by Awoono.

Monday, November 17, 2014

December Online Tea Class: Puer

Here is the date for December's online tea class:

December 14th (Sunday) at 10am Pacific Time

In this Puer tea class, I have two goals: one is to help the participants learn to taste Sheng Puer from young tea trees vs Sheng Puer from older tea tress. The second goal is to show participants how Shou Puer and Sheng Puer can be aged.

The teas that we are going to taste in this class are: a mini Shou Tuocha; a Shou Puer Cake from Jin Bo Da Shan (around 10 years old); a 2014 Sheng Puer from MengKu; a 2014 Sheng Puer Cake from Xia Jia Zai, and a Yin Hao Tuocha from the 80's.

For information on the materials you will need for this class and how to sign up for it, please refer to our previous Online Tea Class Post.

I look forward to sharing some tea with you soon!