In concurrence with the Nantou Global Tea Expo, the National Craft Research And Development Institute hosted activities and exhibits related to Taiwan's tea culture. One of these was an amazing exhibit of modern bamboo structures designed for traditional tea parties.
Another was a hands-on seminar in bamboo tea scoop making. A master of the craft was on site, sharing his skills, and guiding participants on how to design and make their own elegant yet practical tea scoop.
As shown in the photo above, a variety of designs were on display for students to refer to in choosing a shape and size they preferred. The instructor would then cut out the template according to the student's request, and show them how to shape the cutout by hand to achieve the desired result.
The workshop on tea scoop making was a singular event as part of the Nantou Global Tea Expo production, along with others such as an Oolong Tea making demonstration by prize-winning tea artisans from all over Taiwan. The bamboo teahouse exhibit will on display until April 2016. This is just one more primary example of how much Taiwan has to offer the world in its living embodiment of tea culture in the 21st century.
These leaves were harvested by hand from the residential farm that is our ongoing source of Dong Ding Oolong Tea. They were also de-stemmed by hand and roasted extensively to meet the competition standard. The brewed tea has a bold roasted character that is balanced out by a rich, smooth textured and complex flavor profile. It is reminiscent of fire-roasted yams and butternut squash.
This month's edition of the Eco-Cha Tea Club is from the same day's harvest of spring tea that our source received the Top 2% Award out of 750 odd participants in the spring 2019 competition. This month's batch of tea was prepared the same way as the award winning tea — removing the stems by hand and undergoing repeated roastings to meet the standard of quality set by this local competition. Only residents of this small community of traditional tea makers are eligible to enter this competition. But this is the heart of Dong Ding Oolong Country, and this community boasts the densest population of traditional Oolong Tea artisans in Taiwan, and probably in the world!
The complex aroma of the brewed tea leaves has subtle hints of a bug bitten character, but not very obvious. The sufficient oxidation offers a fresh scone scent, with a touch of honey, making us think that there is some influence from the Green Leafhopper. It is very likely that this note is subtle due to the fact that it had rained very near harvest time, which is said to dilute or dissipate the chemical compounds that are responsible for this character of flavor. The texture is smooth and balanced, with delicate complexity.