Last Sunday was the annual gathering of tea lovers from all over Taiwan to partake in the largest tea party on the island, and perhaps in the world. Roughly 2500 people of all ages sat down on a field to simply enjoy tea together. Each designated host brought their own style of tea brewing to the event to share with their guests. Here is our friend Penny, the national champion in the Elementary School Tea Brewing Competition representing her local culture from Lugu, Taiwan.
This is the first year since the event began 6 years ago that I did not brew tea, but instead was part of the working staff. This afforded me the opportunity to walk around and see the seemingly endless variety of tea brewing styles that each host designed and performed for their guests. It was really an amazing spectacle to behold. And it represented in living form the pervasive tea culture that is alive and thriving in Taiwan.
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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.