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

Friday, April 24, 2009

Good Tea!


Yesterday, I had a pot of Dong Ding with Todd. We looked at each other and agreed that this tea is excellent! It suddenly reminded me of the tea poem that describes the poet's experience when he drank a tea that was sent by a friend.

I've never had the experience that I was flying to the immortals when I drank tea (One farmer did share a pot of tea with me in Taiwan and he told me that was the taste of heaven). However, what it reminded me of the poem was that I started to sweat a little bit and I felt VERY GOOD and HAPPY. A tea friend once told me that he had a tea that was so good that he cried. Yesterday, I think I had that experience for the first time.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

World Tea News Interview

Robert Nordstrom, one of the writers for World Tea News, came to Floating Leaves Tea with his wife. We had a good time drinking tea and talked.

Here is the article he wrote about his experience here:

Check it out.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Tea Stories

Lately, I have been having problems writing. I don't know what to write! However, if you ever come to drink tea with me, you probably will notice that I won't stop talking about tea. So in the past weeks, I made the effort to keep track of what I've been saying. Aside from talking about how to identify good tea and how to taste it, I often talked about my tea experience. Here I am in Seattle, excited about going back to Taiwan to learn tea in May. I'd like to write down my past tea experiences to connect with the future tea learning.

When I was a child in Taiwan, I often saw people drinking tea. Back in my hometown, I saw LaoZuenCha(老人茶,Old Man's Tea) tea making(aka Gongfu tea) in my cousin's house for the first time. My cousin and I are the same age. Her father had a huge metal tea tray set on a table and that was where he made his tea. The tea tray and lots of his teapots had a lot of tea stains due to the frequent tea making. When I went to visit my cousin, he would always ask me if I wanted a cup. In a lot of places of Taiwan, people don't mind that children drink some tea. Those were my first tea experiences. My own family didn't drink tea. As a kid, I never really pondered why some people drink tea and why some don't.

When I was a teenager, I drank a lot of bubble tea and focused on going to the best universities.

I went to National Taiwan University in Taipei for college. Taipei is very different from where I grew up. It's much busier. A lot of my high school friends also went to Taipei and we would hang out once in a while on the weekends. Our favorite thing to do was to escape from Taipei for a day. We would ride our scooters to places with more greenery and had a good time walking around and eating (Food is very important for Taiwanese people and we are constantly eating). My friends told me about a tea house on the hills outside of Taipei. So one weekend, we decided to visit. I met the owner, Mr. Tsai who currently makes our Taiwan Wuyi Oolong. My fond memories of tea started here. If you ever ask me what I remember about tea, I will tell you about this memory of my friends hanging out in that teahouse, drinking tea, chatting, playing games, eating snacks, and having a good time. I remember tea is actually really fun!

I was learning English in university so I tried very hard to save money to be able to come to the states to practice my English. One summer, a family in Florida told my friend that they would host me. So I went to stay with the family for two months.

I believed that tea represents my culture. Besides some art objects, I brought the family a gongfu tea set as a present. One evening, we all sat down and I was supposed to show them how to make tea in a tiny clay teapot. I proceeded with the Gongfu tea and wow, that tea tasted terrible! I always watched people making tea in Taiwan, but I never really sat down to make a pot of tea. Nobody commented on the tea. I think they tried to be polite.

Back in Taiwan, I continued hanging out with friends in different tea houses and totally forgot that I in fact couldn't brew a good pot of tea.

To be continued....

Saturday, April 18, 2009

2009 Spring Taiwanese Oolong

I called a couple of tea friends in Taiwan to inquire about the weather condition for spring tea. They said the quantity will be lower due to the lack of rain.

There are different opinions on this current spring tea's quality (as always). I heard good things about the Dong Ding region. Some said they might have the best quality Dong Ding for these past couple of years. Some said that High Mountain Oolong will not be as good. Anyway, we have to try it and decide.

The exciting thing is that very possibly, I will be in Taiwan to select teas later this spring. Just the idea of being in Taiwan again makes me happy. I can't wait to be in the tea fields again, and to learn more about Taiwanese Oolongs.

I will keep you posted as soon as I have the plane tickets.