Eco-Cha was contacted by Penn State Tea Club on their visit to Taiwan over the New Year. The group of Tea Club travelers expressed their interest in visiting tea country in Central Taiwan. So we met at the Lugu Farmers' Association, where Lisa Lin and Andy hosted the new interactive "Lyrical Flowing Water, Dancing Cups of Tea" exhibit.
But before having tea with Lisa, Tony Lin led us through the newly remodeled tea museum that he designed at the Farmers' Association. Tony and Andy cooperated in providing the English content for the museum.
While Tony's English was more than sufficient as a guide, Andy filled in on the extended chats that rambled through all things tea with our guests.
Along the way, we learned that they all really wanted to take a walk through a tea garden. So, we just walked up the road from the Farmers' Association to a hilltop grove of Qing Xin Oolong that offered a view of Lugu valley. Unfortunately, in this respect, the fog had already begun to climb from the valley floor, but this in itself offered an authentic Dong Ding Oolong country atmosphere. Here are Ryan, Teddy, Emily and Samuel soaking up the "tea chi".
And Andy flipped his lens for a selfie of Andres and he leading the way through the pathless tea grove that was thick with mature growth Qing Xin Oolong tea trees.
Recent rain made the descent down the other side a slippery challenge. Andy shouted an apology to two older women working a distance away for trudging through their farm. They said no worries, and directed us to the best way down. Andy had to say goodbye upon bringing our guests to his favorite restaurant in Lugu, where Oolong Chicken is on the menu along with a delicious selection of local vegetables, including ferns and bamboo shoots. As difficult as it was to leave as they sat down to order, Andy left feeling happy to have met these new tea friends and learn about their impressive Tea Institute At Penn State.
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We recently visited Mr. Liu when we hosted a visitor from Italy who was keen on experiencing the local tea culture. Our guest was truly elated to be served tea by a true artisan of the trade. Mr. Liu served us three different teas that were all locally harvested this past spring. They varied only in their degree oxidation and roasting. And the one that was sufficiently oxidized, but only lightly roasted, immediately impressed us.