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

Friday, December 26, 2014

Christmas Eve in Taiwan, Part I

Greetings from Taiwan!

Today (day two in Taiwan) I woke up and still had jet lag. While I had tea with my friend, she told me she didn't have to work today and asked me what I wanted to do. My mind was thinking about all of the work I should be doing today, but I looked out and it was sunny and beautiful. I looked at her and thought, "What the heck. I should enjoy today off with her!" I told her we should go to PingLin to enjoy the view and sunshine. 

The moment we set out from her house, we were already filled with joy. The breeze and sunshine brought smiles to our faces (70F, awesome!!!).

Before we headed out, I called a tea friend to let him know that I had already arrived in Taiwan. He told me he was planning to be in PingLin to pick up some tea for me. What a nice coincidence!

We met in Farmer Chen's shop and had some tea. It was great to see Mrs. Chen. She greeted us with a big smile. She said Farmer Chen was out picking tea today. The weather conditions were good to make Dong Pian, the second winter harvest tea.

Mrs. Chen heated up the water and treated us to a pot of the most freshly made Dong Pian Baozhong. It was very fragrant. She said Dong Pian Baozhong is from JinXuan, Cui Yu, and SiJiChun varietals. She said Chin Xin varietal doesn't grow very quickly after the first winter harvest. The tea we were drinking was made from Cui Yu, so it’s no wonder the bouquet was very bold.

After tea, we went to have lunch. Ah food, so good! While we were eating, Mr. Tsai's wife told us about some special dishes from her hometown, and invited us to go there to eat! I told her that only Taiwanese people will talk about other food while they are already eating a lot of food. I always find these moments to be adorable and I truly savor them.

After lunch, we went to look for Farmer Chen. I went to one of his tea fields and didn't find him. On the way there, we saw lots of beautiful tea flowers. Mr. Tsai said that they are getting popular in Taiwan, so lots of people are growing them.

It was beautiful in PingLin today. I took in as much as I could and feel very lucky to be here with my dear friends. A view, a smell, the sound of birds and insects, and friends remind me how much I love this special island.

We didn't end up finding Farmer Chen, but it's alright. I can imagine his smile and I keep it in my heart while we continue our trip in PingLin.

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Yunnan Tea Tour - April 2015

My tea friend, Awoono (born and raised in Yunnan), offered me the opportunity to lead a Yunnan tea tour with her. I have been wanting to go there for a long time!

We have been working on the itinerary. The more I work on it, the more excited I am about the trip. I am looking forward to exploring Yunnan with you!

The trip will be scheduled as a 10 day tour. We are planning for the tour to take place from April 12th through the 21st.

The highlights of this trip will include:

The city of MoJiang (Awoono's hometown) to visit Awoono's uncle who is tea farmer. We are hoping to pick tea with him and learn how to fire tea as well. We will also be visiting a Puer tea farm where the farmer has been practicing ecological/traditional ways of farming (no pesticides or chemical fertilizers). Awoono is making arrangements with him to show us how to press Puer cakes.

Then we will travel south to the Menghai region and visit a well-preserved tea forest. Awoono told me this is one of the best-preserved old tea trees areas. The tea trees there are from 200 to 1000 years old. I can't wait to hike through the tea forest! Then we will go to NanNuo Mountain to talk to some farmers and hunt for some more delicious Puer teas.

We will then return to Menghai city, just in time for one of the biggest festivals there. This celebration is observed throughout Southeast Asia, in such countries as Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar. In Yunnan, it's celebrated by the Dai tribe. Locals sprinkle water on each other, hoping to wash away the "old and bad" and to welcome in the new.

We are also planning to take participants to visit some locally-made pottery workshops. Clay pottery is a great way to store the precious tea cakes that you will be able to find during our trip. At the end of our tour, we plan to visit the beautiful old city of LiJiang.

There will be more details to come. Meanwhile, if you are interested in the tour, please contact me at tea@floatingleaves.com so that I can make sure you get the latest news and updates about the this very special trip. Let's go to Yunnan together!

*photos provided by Awoono.