We celebrated the conclusion of the Nantou County Global Tea Expo quietly, as the organizer Tony Lin and his wife Lisa were quite relieved to finally relax in their home after the three-week-long event. After staying the night in their home, I visited a few friends in Lu Gu - the home of Dong Ding Oolong Tea, to see how the winter harvest was going. A cold spell early in the growing season slowed the winter flush which has resulted in a repeat of last year's record low winter yield.
The first farmer I dropped in on had already completed his harvest and was roasting his first batch of tea in preparation for the Lu Gu Farmers' Association winter competition. It was a pleasure to taste the first brew of freshly harvested winter leaves that were still in the process of being roasted. The award winning tea maker deemed that they were just about done and had less than an hour left of their long slow roasting process. Mr. Chen is Tony’s cousin and was the first tea farmer I met 20 years ago.
Mr. Chen making New Year's offering in his "Tea Brewing Park" in Xi Tou, Lu Gu Township.
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We recently visited Mr. Liu when we hosted a visitor from Italy who was keen on experiencing the local tea culture. Our guest was truly elated to be served tea by a true artisan of the trade. Mr. Liu served us three different teas that were all locally harvested this past spring. They varied only in their degree oxidation and roasting. And the one that was sufficiently oxidized, but only lightly roasted, immediately impressed us.