I went to Dong Ding mountain with my friend Jennifer Sauer, a professional photographer. The farmer was waiting for us as we arrived and showed us where we were going to stay for the night. After we all settled in, he gave us some Dong Ding teas to try. He told me to make the tea. He said I should make the teas the way I am used to so that I could choose the teas to buy based on the usual way that I taste and serve tea. I thought that was fair and proceeded to brew the teas.
After sampling six teas, I had an idea of which two I liked. The farmer's wife came out from the kitchen at that time and told me she saved two special teas (out of the 6) that she thought I might like. I pointed at two cups and she said "exactly." I smiled at her and thanked her. I like the way we communicate. No need to say very much because we have a good mutual understanding.
We had an early dinner and then the farmer took us out to see fireflies. I sometimes feel like the farmer is living in the past. It shows up in such things as his taste in music. Every time he starts his car, music from the 1930's to 70's would start playing. When we got to see the fireflies, it was dark and it was magical to see those floating lights in the trees. Suddenly, I started to crack up a bit as I heard the music from the farmer's car. It was surreal. That was so Taiwan, where anything is possible.
The next day, the farmer took us to see some tea being processed and we visited his friends and relatives for tea. The landscape is one of the most beautiful I have ever seen. When I looked at the mountains and tried to see beyond them, there was a beauty that was so touching that I couldn't help but cry. I always look forward to being in Taiwan, but it's hard for me too because I will eventually have to say goodbye to the land and to the nice people I meet.
I thought this season's Dong Ding Traditional tea is not as robust as the one from the previous season, but it has a softer mouth feel. Two days ago, I had a great Dong Ding tea session with a tea friend. It was yummy! Jennifer also shot some videos of the tea making process. It will take a while to edit, but we promise to share them when they're ready.