Eco-Cha Visits Radio Taiwan International
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 medium oxidized leaves have undergone extensive, repeated roastings that have resulted in a very balanced, integrated character. The initial steepings offer a freshly cut wood aroma with a toasted nutty flavor. This proceeds to open up into a sweeter, more complex profile that is strikingly reminiscent of roasted winter vegetables, including parsnip, caramelized onion and butternut squash.
Mr. Zhang's father cultivated tea on their homesteaded land in Xiaobantian, on the southside of Lugu Township, where he grew up in the midst of traditional tea making. At 20 something, he decided to embody his local tradition by clearing land to cultivate his own plot of tea. For the last 20 years, he has managed his own humble, privately owned plot of tea. Throughout this period, he also acquired seasonal work in tea factories in Lugu, Shanlinxi, Alishan, Fanzaitian, and Lishan. In a word, he learned the ropes of tea making in a comprehensive way, like most tea farmers of his generation. Lugu hosts the highest concentration of tea makers in Taiwan, and is a hub of specialty tea making culture.