We are often asked questions such as "How did you get into tea? What is it about tea that impressed you enough to make it your career focus?" Well, it's a long story that began 25 years ago, when we first started living in Taiwan and being exposed to the ubiquitous tea culture here. But rather than going into detail about how our passion for tea has led us to where we are now, we've decided to encapsulate that story into sharing the reasons we are committed to representing tea culture and sharing our love of tea.
We are in a life-long love affair with tea and tea culture. Our appreciation of living in Taiwan centers around our involvement with the tea culture. We've gradually realized that tea has become the most meaningful and fulfilling focus of interest in our lives. It has offered us an element of tradition that is lacking in our modern world, as well as an ever-deepening appreciation for agriculture and artisan craftsmanship. Not to mention that it has definitely improved our overall quality of life and health, and this alone is enough to love it.
Tea is good for us in ways that address current pandemic health issues. Tea has been shown to be helpful in preventing cancer, cardio-vascular disease, and diabetes - perhaps the three most common health problems in modern society. What more useful and enjoyable contribution could we dream of sharing? Tea is a gift from nature that has been cultivated into a craft and an art over centuries. We ourselves have experienced the physical and mental benefits of enjoying and ingesting this modest yet powerful, naturally medicinal leaf.
It offers immediate comfort in the form of simultaneous relaxation and alertness. It is a daily ritual and accompaniment that fortifies our well being. It not only makes us feel better, but also offers a social context that simply embodies a traditional wisdom with deep implications involving leisure time and community gathering and sharing. It has a story that is imbibed with a living culture and history that can be explored with every type of tea we encounter.
In our experience, the naturally developed interest in tea that literally "grew on us" rather than us "deciding" to learn about it, has put us in a unique position and perspective. We have learned about Taiwanese tea because we loved being in mountainous territory and exploring the source of something we were immediately captivated by 25 years ago. And our interest and learning has continued to grow and mature. Now, it is the central focus of what we do. We visit farmers, ask questions, observe, lend a hand, and make friends. And we share this experience.
Since we first started sharing tea 20 years ago, we have observed the worldwide interest in tea explode. In this time, people have educated themselves based on appreciation and intrigue. Now, quality tea is in demand from all over the planet. So, we feel inspired by the genuine demand for specialty tea and knowledge of its culture. We are compelled by this demand to share what we have learned to be so valuable — in its simple, daily presence.
It is for these basic reasons that we have arrived where we are today—in the role of sharing the life-giving gift of tea and its culture as it is embodied in Taiwan. In a word, we feel blessed to have entered into this culture, somewhat inadvertently at first! And we have continued to feel welcomed and appreciated in the evolving capacity of representing what we have come to know and love so well. So there is our response to the question "What is it about tea...?". Now we are eager to hear yours! What kind of meaning does tea hold for you, and what does it offer in your experience?
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This month's batch of tea being shared with the Eco-Cha Tea Club was made by Mr. Su — an 80 year-old artisan of traditional Dong Ding Oolong Tea. He planted a plot of the Tie Guan Yin strain in his backyard several years ago, and this is the second time we've sourced this tea type from him. Mr. Su is our favorite representative of traditionally made tea in Taiwan, and it brings us a special kind of joy to be able to share his tea with our tea club members.
This batch has a particularly sweet character, with slightly tangy, fruity notes and a pleasantly clean lingering aftertaste. It has just enough of that cured, almost fermented character that makes it reminiscent of a traditionally made Tie Guan Yin Oolong. But given that it was only roasted once, it maintains a mild flavor profile similar to a Hong Shui Oolong.