I wanted to take the tour group to Taiwan's black tea producing region on this trip, but I was really worried that there would be too many tourists at the popular Sun Moon Lake area.
I was fortunate to find a B&B in the SheShui area (10 minutes away from Sun Moon Lake). I contacted the owner and he sounded like a very nice person. He told me that they also have tea farms and he would be happy to show us around.
It turned out to be a wonderful choice. His B&B is located in a small community built after the big earthquake. It's very quiet there. Outside of the building, they have replanted some tea trees that he said were from the original Japanese occupation area.
We decided to join them for their afternoon tea service. It was fun. Black tea with quiche and chocolate cake, very different from all the Oolongs we have been drinking on the tour.
After the afternoon tea, the owner, Mr Chen, took us for a hike to visit their tea fields. He told us this region produces a lot of black tea. Mr. Chen said that a lot of farmers here are dedicated to organic farming. They love the land here and want it to go on for generations. I was very touched to hear that and it was wonderful to be in the middle of it the fields.
We saw a lot of older tea trees. Some are the Assam varietal, some are Ruby 18 varietal, and some are cross-breeds of local tea plants with Assam. We hiked to the top of the hill and saw that the whole field is full of tea plants from the Japanese occupation era. We tasted the tea and it's softer and gentler than the black tea made from Ruby 18 varietal. What a great day!