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

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Dong Ding Trip, Day One

Before I went up to Dong Ding mountain, I was very excited and nervous. I heard that the farmer I was going to meet was very "different".
I talked to him a couple of times to arrange the meeting time and meeting place. He sounded very nice.

He met my mother, Konghai, and me at a bus stop. He held Konghai and my backpack and told us to walk to his car. In the car, he listened to Chinese and Taiwanese music that are from 40 to 60 years ago. He told us that was "real" music; when one listens to it, one feels good. The rest of the music is trash and it will pollute our souls.
On the way to Dong Ding, I saw some tea farms. They felt a little neglected and it felt there was not much life in the area.

His wife greeted us and she already had lunch ready for us. After lunch, Farmer Lin took out a tea tray. That was the moment I was waiting for: to drink tea. He made a 2009 spring Dong Ding. I took a sip and said, "This is your tea. This is a flavor that only your tea can produce." He said nobody can make a tea flavor like this. Then he went on talking about people, society and life. I was very content to savor the tea and tried to grab a chance to ask him about tea.
After the fourth infusion, he told us it was time to go see scenery. It was only the fourth infusion! I couldn't leave! I told him that he didn't need to trouble himself. My only interest was to drink tea. But he didn't listen so we went into his car. He took us to see a waterfall. It was very beautiful there. He was very nice to bring us some homegrown peaches and plums. Afterwards, we climbed some stairs and reached to a very narrow point. I saw a rope and remembered that my friend told me that the farmer made him climb the rope to see a different view. He asked us to climb up there. My mother said no. Oh, by the way, my high school friend was there, too. She didn't want to climb up there either. I thought if I didn't climb, he would be so disappointed, so I went. I saw another waterfall up there and it was quite a view. After I got off the rope, I was still a little bit shaky.
In the evening, his wife brewed me five different Dong Ding teas. He told me to savor and feel each tea so that I can decide what I like. He went on talking about how humans only care about money and the evil that's happening in the whole world. I listened to him and at the same time tried to focus on the tea and remembered how they were different from each other.

I was happy to have that much Dong Ding and was grateful that they were so generous. I went to bed with a mission that I had to talk to him about tea the next day.


Brett said...

Wonderful story Shiuwen! Thanks for sharing. I hope to come visit you soon.

Shiuwen said...

Hi Brett,

I am glad that you like the story. Come have tea soon!

Anonymous said...

This farmer's words make sense. Fast-paced, money-driven lifestyle stressful is consumptive and unhealthy pattern of living that cannot be sustained for long.

Do you not take time to carefully prepare and enjoy your tea? Well-made tea is made with respect, and deserves respect in it's brewing and thoughtful drinking.

Living at a deliberately slow pace is not the same as living in the past.

Your farmer, in asking you if you know your tea, is really asking you this: how can you know if these new cultivars are any better in taste than the kind we have been growing for many years here?

He has a point. When new tea types are first planted, the resulting growth of younger bushes will not have stable, reproducible chemistry that identifies with this new environment for perhaps as long as a decade or two, as the plants adapt to soil, climate, pest and culture variations.

How can you know if it is a good tea, if the character is still adapting?

Smart farmer, but also a smart farm wife, for she knows that an informed decision is a sound one.