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

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Taiwan Trip: Wistaria and Zhou Zu

The Floating Leaves Tea tour group has safely arrived in Taiwan! Today, we went to visit Mr. Zhou Yu and his wife Sophie at the famous Wisteria teahouse. I love having tea at Wisteria, it's a beautiful place. After walking in the heat and the busy energy of Taipei streets, sitting there brought some calm and quietness to us.

Mr. Zhou Yu did a special tea talk for us. When I discussed timing with him, he originally said the talk would be around 30 minutes and then we'd have an open questions session. After he talked for about 10 minutes, I knew he'd have much more to talk about. He really got into it and we had a special opportunity to hear a tea expert give us a thorough education! You know the feeling when you sit down, have tea, and start some conversations. You know when you are going to have a good time and then time no longer controls the agenda; the subject flows freely.

Mr. Zhou Yu touched on the subject of tea and culture, how he does gongfu cha, organic tea and more. I will share with you some of what he said when I have more time. At the end, a participant asked what tea he drinks every day, and he said either an aged Dong Ding or an aged Puer. He said when he drinks a tea, he is not looking for a particular flavor. He is looking for how he feels after he drinks a tea. He said a good aged puer can make him feel calm. Then the participant continued by asking why a good aged puer is so expensive. We really can't afford to drink such a tea on a daily basis. Zhou Yu smiled and took out a canister of a loose puer that he had purchased in Hong Kong in 1994. We all felt very grateful that he shared that with us. The tea was very clean and soft and it made me perspire after three cups. He told us we don't need to buy super expensive aged puer right now. Start to buy some good quality raw puer and age it. Then we will have good and inexpensive aged puer to drink later!

I thanked him and his wife for spending so much time with the group. They said that since we had come all the way from the states, that's what a host should do. That's one of the things I like most about Taiwan, the people's sincerity and generosity....

Tomorrow, we head out to Alishan to visit with some farmers up there and to see how this season's Alishan high mountain oolong has turned out. I'll be out of contact for a few days, but expect more updates and some pictures soon! Don't forget that I'll be out of the teashop for this month, but Floating Leaves is still open on the weekends. We will continue to fill and ship your online and phone orders once a week as well.


Cindy Wambeam said...

I was very happy to spy an update from your trip -- have been thinking about all of you on the tea tour. I'm really looking forward to seeing photos (and I'll be ready to order some new tea once it gets back to the states).

P.S. Send Jan a big hello from me!

cwbrynan said...

Great to hear from you in Taiwan. Mr. Zhou Yu's aged Dong Ding, how many years old is considered aged?
And with the loose puer, was it originally pressed in a tong?Cake?

One more request while your tea hopping, in one of your descriptions of Tiequanyin tea you mention authentic tea brushes. What do they look like and what is the process.
Good luck!

Shiuwen said...

Hi Cindy,

So nice to hear from you!
I did tell Jen you said hi.

I am looking forward to seeing you in Seattle for a cup of tea!

Shiuwen said...

Hi Charles,

Thank you for the questions.
I will answer them when I am back to Seattle.

Eric G. said...

The aged puer was from the 1950's and if I remember correctly he said it was never compressed in a bing/cake. If it was it would have looked quite different, not like the loose leaves it was. In fact it was my first aged puer, I've only ever had ripe or fresh raw puer. I bought a small amount. It was quite expensive, over 1 USD per gram! Of course I don't know the aged puer market so it could have been very cheep.