Wednesday, January 13, 2016
Dong Ding, Farmer, and Tea
I have recently wanted to write about Dong Ding tea. I have forgotten if I have ever written about my experiences from visiting Dong Ding mountain. I like to write about my encounters with different farmers. In a way, I feel that if you drink a certain farmer's/tea person's tea and can read about that person's stories, it will bring you closer to the farm and help you gain a deeper appreciation for the tea.
Through a tea friend's introduction, I got my first taste of a very good traditional style Dong Ding Oolong in 2008. I fell in love with that tea. In 2009, I made my first trip to Dong Ding Mountain.
Before I went there, I was a bit nervous. The tea friend who introduced me to the tea and the farmer told me that he can be a difficult person, and that if he didn't think I had good "tastes" in tea, he wouldn't sell me tea. I was worried: what if he didn't want to sell me tea?!
In May 2009, I went to Dong Ding mountain with my mother and son. Farmer and his wife were waiting for us at their house. He heated up some water and brewed us some tea. I was very happy when I tasted his tea. Prior to that, I had visited my family for three days and there was no good tea at their house, so you can imagine how happy I was when I finally had a taste of a good tea!
After three infusions, Farmer suddenly said, "Let's go. I want to show you a place." I was enjoying the tea so much that it felt like I was woken up from a dream. I said, "Where are we going? We should finish this tea. I know your tea can last for at least 8 infusions!" He looked at me very intensely and said, "8 infusions? It should be 30." I said, " Great! Let's do it!" He said, "No, we can drink tea later. I want to show you around." "No! I don't like sightseeing. In fact, I don't have any hobbies besides tea drinking (I made this up. I LOVE traveling)." He stood up, opened his water kettle with all the hot water in it, dumped the brewed tea leaves from his gaiwan, and said, "Here you go. You like to drink tea? You will have plenty to drink. Let's go!"
This is the beginning of a long series of stories and adventures about my time with Farmer on Dong Ding mountain. I'll talk more about this in upcoming posts.