大愛電視 / Big Love Television Films Eco-Cha
We spent several days over the last couple weeks filming in tea country (Lugu) and in Taichung City with the Buddhist-based Da Ai Television station. Eco-Cha will be featured in a full-length program that focuses on innovative expats living in Taiwan. It's been a personally meaningful and fulfilling experience working with such proficient, yet easy-going professionals as Vivien and CC from Da Ai. It will be months before the program is aired, but for now we can share some behind the scene shots. Here we are at Tony and Lisa Lin's tea table playing with tea design ideas.
On Lin Qing-dan's organic tea farm checking out the newly planted tea trees that are overgrown with natural plant growth.
Filming the harvest of a very small crop of naturally cultivated "bug-bitten tea" or "ye-nah-day" in Taiwanese. These young leaves, stunted in growth and partially oxidized while still on the plant as a result of the Green Leaf Hopper, will be made into Concubine Oolong Tea. The combination of these tea trees being pruned back after spring harvest and the minimal yield that results from new growth being "bug bitten" produced a batch of only 20 kg of tea. In the background is the renowned landmark of Phoenix Mountain.
Nick and Vivien ride back with some of the harvest to the home factory less than a kilometer away.
Andy and his tea farmer friend Young share stories and laughs while the leaves are withered in the sun.
Nick helps grandfather and grandson of the household spread the leaves on bamboo trays for indoor oxidation.
After midnight, brewing and tasting the fresh leaves that were harvested that morning. Vivien and CC from Da Ai put in an 18 hour day of filming, directing, and interviewing that day!
This is the tea tasting that Eco-Cha hosted in Taichung. We served three types of Qing Xin Oolong: Shan Lin Xi High Mountain (unroasted), High Mountain Concubine (light roast), and Dong Ding Oolong (heavy roast). Here we have the teas cold brewed to welcome our guests, followed by individual brewings in standard tea tasting wares.
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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.