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.
We took this photo last spring when we slept out at this spot in order to catch the early morning harvest. It gives you a sense of the environment and the extent of farm development in this area of the Alishan High Mountain Tea producing region. It is one of the reasons we've chosen this farm as our source. This area was already developed as a rural farming community before the onset of modern tea production in Taiwan. The family farms were simply repurposed to grow tea when High Mountain Tea became popular. So, the development of tea production in this area has had less environmental impact than most other High Mountain Tea producing regions in Taiwan.
We are very happy to finally be able to offer the pre-modern version of Dong Ding Oolong Tea! We've waited for years to source this local traditional specialty from our friend who simply has more demand than supply from his family plot of tea in Phoenix Village in Lugu Township, Taiwan.
Batch 60 of the Eco-Cha Tea Club brings us to a full five years of offering monthly editions of specialty Taiwanese teas! This month's edition was cultivated and crafted by one of our most respected sources of naturally farmed tea. He not only employs the most radical natural farming methods we know of, he also is continually refining processing methods to bring his produce to its fullest potential, based on the growing conditions of each season. Mr. Xie also produces our GABA Oolong Tea, which, like this month's batch, is one of his signature products.