Last week, I traveled to Taipei to be Shirley Lin's guest on her show at Radio Taiwan International http://www.rti.org.tw/ .
It was a pleasure to meet Shirley in person after doing a phone interview with her several years ago about my involvement in Taiwan tea culture. So we caught up on what's new in this respect - the prominent topic of course being the development of Eco-Cha. We chatted freely throughout the interview, both on and off camera, about all kinds of things related to living in Taiwan and the world of tea.
Stepping out of the cab and into this well-maintained, older, distinguished establishment really piqued my curiosity about the organization. It actually is one of the world's oldest radio stations in operation today - initially established in Nanjing in 1928. It has been in operation in Taiwan since the 1950's. A quote from their website sums it up: "For the next 60 years, the Central Broadcasting System persevered, continuing to broadcast on behalf of the nation, sharing information about Taiwan with the rest of the world."
An added bonus in my journey to Taipei was when I emerged from the Yuanshan 圓山 MRT station, I spotted a quaint temple in serene surroundings just a few stops away from the Main Station in downtown Taipei.
Such are the hidden gifts that one is granted in a random journey on this unique island hosting a modern society that is rich in culture and tradition.
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The most commonly referred to trait in Leafhopper Tea is a honey-essence note in the fragrance as well as the flavor profile. This hint of honey varies greatly from batch to batch of "bug bitten tea", as it is also referred to locally. But the most general characteristic of this tea type is its bold complexity of aroma and flavor. It simply has a substance that clearly distinguishes it from a standard High Mountain Tea.
Above we see a local tea picker turning in freshly picked leaves to be weighed and recorded for commission. These new-growth, tender leaves were harvested on a beautiful sunny day at about 1500 meters elevation in the Shan Lin Xi tea growing region in southern Nantou County, central Taiwan.
Our expressed intention in sharing this batch of tea is to offer Eco-Cha Tea Club members a chance to experience the original unroasted flavor profile of a tea type that, in the local Taiwanese dialect, is simply called "Leafhopper Tea".