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

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

2014 Taiwan Tea Tour

I have been working out the details for what we will be doing for this December's tea tour and I am super excited for the trip!

We are of course going to taste delicious teas at Wistaria Teahouse on day one, a great place to relax after a long flight, as we take our time to take in all of the new and exciting things that Taipei has to offer.

For tea processing, we will be visiting farmer Chen in PingLin to learn about outdoor oxidation (weather permitted). In Alishan, I hope we will get to see the second Winter harvest and watch indoor oxidation and oolong rolling.

We will be spending some time with a tea friend of mine who has been in the tea business for the past 25 years. He will teach us more about his oolong roasting tricks and techniques.

In Muzha, we will be spending time with Farmer Zhang to taste his Tieguanyin and to learn how to experience "tea energy." To further deepen our tea knowledge, we will be visiting a well-regarded tea person who is passionate about growing and sourcing traditional style Taiwanese Oolongs, and learn from him the different production methods and how to taste different types of teas.

And of course, we will visit several night markets, eating lots of food, and having many other unexpectedly wonderful adventures.

For logistics, please visit our tea tour page. There are still two spots open for this trip. If you are interested, please contact me at tea@floatingleaves.com

*photos provided by Matthew Kraus.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Spring High Mountain Oolong

One of Floating Leaves Tea's tea buyers, Rob Bageant, went out to source our Spring High Mountain Oolongs last week. He was able to find us some High Mountain Oolongs with a smooth broth and clear HuiGan 回甘 (sweetness that returns to the throat area after you swallow the tea broth).

Tasting Spring Oolongs in Taiwan

He said that due to the unstable weather conditions, the bouquet of these High Mountain Oolongs might not be as strong (for example, lack of sunshine or too much rain), but with the highly-skilled tea farmers and producers, all of the tea he found us is smooth with wonderful HuiGan. I can't wait to taste them!

The first batch of High Mountain teas was sent over from Taiwan. I will be hosting some tastings soon.  Please check our blog and website for tasting times and dates.

sorting tea

*photos provided by Rob Bageant

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Muzha Tieguanyin Farmer Talking About Tea - Part II

As Farmer Chen brewed the third tea for us, he said, "To roast a tea this heavily takes courage. I have failed with thousands of jin 斤 (a weigh measurement of 600 grams) in order to learn. The temperatures goes up to 130 celcius. Normally people stop at 120." He said he wanted his tea to climb mountains, go to the peak, come back down to the valley, and then go back to the top. He said that when his tea arrives on the top of the mountain, it says thank you, and the mountain peak would talk back and say thank you as well. How beautiful! I savored the tea while busily translating.

He then talked about the Chinese character for "tea 茶." He said the tea character has three parts: grass, human, and tree (tea plant). The human does the work for the grass and the tea plant. While I was translating, everything made sense. Now I can't quite remember what he really meant! Well, I will ask him when I see him next time.

We drank more tea and his wife came out with some tea plums and crackers for us.

The farmer continued,"the third time when he shakes the green, he knows what the tea will be." He used Do-Re-Mi as an analogy. He said a good tea keeps going up from one infusion to the next. He said, "when making tea, I pull it in, let it go a little, pull in, let it go a little. I don't let my tea shine right away. My tea is more for the long haul. It keeps turning, and changing. I want my tea to be an endurance tea. I control when it peaks and how long it lasts by how I make it."

His smile and pride shone through his face. I felt so honored to share his knowledge with this incredible group of people, so open and so eager to take everything in. With my son's laughter in the background and delicious tea in front of me, I have to say, I am very lucky, and it was indeed a very good day!

*Thank you, Stephanie Wilson, for sharing the notes!
*photos provided by Matthew Kraus.

Thursday, May 08, 2014

An Update on this Spring's Oolong - Spring 2014

A view in PingLin. Photo provided by Matthew Kraus.

A couple of days ago, I was talking with one of Floating Leaves Tea buyers, Mr. Tsai, about our Baozhong. So far, he thinks this season's Baozhong is better than last season's. I am excited! He will go out to Farmer Chen's place and get us some Farmer's Choice Baozhong. He is hoping to send it out this Wednesday or Thursday. Our Spring Baozhong might arrive by the middle of May!

Our Dong Ding Traditional will be return to our tea lineup. It is scheduled to arrive around mid-May as well. I can't wait to taste this tea. A traditional Dong Ding is one of my favorite Oolongs from Taiwan.

Our other tea buyer, Rob, will be out next week to look for some good High Mountain Oolongs. Stay tuned. I will have more Spring Oolong updates soon!

Monday, May 05, 2014

2014 Taiwan Tea Tour

I am very excited to announce that I will be leading a tea tour to Taiwan this December! I have not been back there during the winter time for the past 12 years. I can't wait!

On this tea tour, we will focus more on tea processing and how to taste tea. For tea processing, the goal is for the participants to learn the basic concepts about outdoor oxidation and tea roasting. We will be tasting teas with farmers from 4 different farms and will learn from them what they look for in a tea that they specialize in producing. The tea farms that we will visit will be PingLin, Muzha, Alishan and Dong Ding.

The trip is scheduled to be from December 23rd to 31st. I will be updating the logistics on Floating Leaves Tea Website soon.

The following photos are from our May 2013 trip. They're so much fun to look at and bring back really nice memories.

Farmer Chen showed us outdoor oxidation at PingLin

Tea field on Dong Ding mountain

Tea picking in Muzha. Photo provided by Matthew Kraus

Indoor Oxidation on Alishan. Photo provided by Matthew Kraus