The theme of this year's Nantou Global Tea Expo is rooted in the ancient Chinese custom of sharing refreshments and co-creating poetry and song while sitting beside a stream. This tradition dates back to the Jin Dynasty in the 4th Century.
Eco-Cha's Andy Kincart is attending daily, acting as the English interpreter for the event which runs from October 3-11. His tea mentor Lisa Lin sits streamside in the above photo, looking strikingly like you'd imagine those mural figures in the background being in real life. Testing the waters before the public tea sessions begin, Lisa is served tea by her co-hosts of the event. With the backdrop of a classic mural and the eloquent presentation by the hosts, something gets recreated. The photo below is the setting since the tea began brewing, flowing, and floating the morning of the first day.
In addition to the theme of tea floating on the stream, traditional Dong Ding Oolong, Japanese, Korean, Aboriginal, and modern Mainland Chinese tea sessions are held continuously throughout the event. Beyond these reservation only tea sessions, there is a sprawling market outside comprised of well over a hundred tea vendors from all over Taiwan, along with locally grown coffee, and a variety of fruits, vegetables, vinegars, preserves, honey, oils, candy, essential oils, soaps, and various other hand-crafted, locally-produced goods. Feature event activities to share in the days to come!
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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.