After my Dong Ding trip, my head was still thinking about Farmer Lin. I couldn't stop thinking about what he said to me, "When you drink a tea, can you tell if it is a good tea?" I was confused with what exactly I was looking for in the tea learning.
My friend, Mr. Tsai, met me and Konghai outside of the subway in Hsin Dien. Today he was going to take us to Pinglin. Before we went to see Farmer Chen, he told me that we were going to meet his friend, Mr. Den, and Den was going to take us to see the farmer who made our Shui Xian Oolong. We met Den at the Shui Xian farmer's farm. My heart got lighter because there was so much greenness in that area. Den was taking pictures when we arrived. He told us that the farmer was not at home at this moment. We would go to his house later to see if he was back. That was so Taiwanese-style. Friends or neighbors just show up at your door without an appointment. I sometimes miss that way of living.
Den told me that those tea plants in front of me were Shui Xian varietals and the farmer used organic farming methods to take care of the plants. They had really large size leaves compared to the more popular Taiwanese varietals.
Den told us we should go to another farmer's place to say hi (I didn't think he made any appointments with that farmer either). We showed up in front of a typical three-story apartment-type building. The farmer, his wife, three young babies, and the farmer's parents lived there together. When we showed up, they were all very friendly. Den told him that we would like to try some of his teas. He immediately put water on the stove. In no time, his mother came out with a huge plate of really juicy looking watermelon.
After the first pot of Jin Xuan varietal Baozhong, he asked me what I liked to drink. I told him if he had any Baozhong with a nice round mouth feel and yet heavy body. He left and came back with some different looking leaves. He told me that it was made from Da Yeh(Big Leaf) varietal. The tea liquid did have a heavier feel to it. Sometimes when I said I wanted something heavier, people would think I wanted it to be brewed heavier, too. I asked the farmer if Baozhong was like this 15 years ago. He smiled and said:"Oh no, tea at that time was even heavier than this." I asked him why he stopped making tea like that. He smiled again and told me that nobody wanted tea like that. I said, "that's not true. I am interested in that." In my brain, I was asking myself if tea at that time really tasted better. We said thank you and went on to see Farmer Chen.