Nantou County Global Tea Expo!
This Saturday, October 5th will be the opening of the 4th annual Nantou County Global Tea Expo. Having participated in the event over the last three years, we are anxious to experience what's new about this year's production. We know that this year it has been expanded to include all of Taiwan's specialty agriculture along with the produce that Nantou is most famous for - world class tea.
In addition to tea, we can expect locally produced exotic vinegars, preserved plums, fresh fruit and vegetables, herbs, dried fruits, honey, coffee, tisanes, even wines and liqueurs! Tea, of course will be the prominent commodity - both in open activities in and in the volume of vendors offering their current harvests.
Nantou is the largest tea producer of all counties in Taiwan and home to some of the most skilled tea artisans in the world. Last year's highlights in our experience were the Tea Cultural Exhibit along with the Champion Tea Tasting.
In the Cultural Exhibit Hall was a wonderfully winding maze of rooms - each artistically designed to express the flavor of tea culture being presented. There were trendy modern designs, formal traditional displays from various cultures, as well as more contemplative, natural decor and tea culture to partake in and be enjoyed. It was all a bit overwhelming to absorb in limited visits last year, so we plan to experience this exhibit over several days this year to sit and experience the living art of tea. We promise photos and stories in weeks to come...
The Champion Tea Tasting was a first in our experience. For a nominal fee, we partook in a cupping of 10 different Champion Prize winning teas from competitions all around Taiwan. The teas were served by professional tea judges who readily answered any questions we had. It was truly an educational experience to sample the premium selections of Taiwan's 10 most famous tea types.
There are many more activities and exhibits to enjoy, including the 1000 People Brew Tea event where we will be serving tea this Sunday afternoon, but mostly it is an unprecedented opportunity to immerse oneself in the world of Taiwan Tea. Meeting local farmers and government officials alike in the context of tea is both fun and meaningful. The Global Tea Expo will be held for a full three weeks this year, so we'll have plenty of time to enjoy to the fullest, and we'll be sure to share our experiences with you in the weeks to come.
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We can see in the photo of the dried leaves above that they were hand-plucked while still very young and tender. This is evident not only by the size of the leaves, but also in the protective fur that is still on the whitish colored leaf buds. It is this stage of leaf growth, along with the heirloom cultivar of tea tree that give Bi Luo Chun its distinctive character among Green Teas — especially when it is from the first flush of spring tea buds!