Taiwan's Nantou Global Tea Expo 2016
Nantou County's seventh annual Global Tea Expo happened last week, with TV news reporting that the event drew around 400,000 visitors over its 9 days of various performances, presentations, demonstrations, and contests to complement the 300 vendors who set up shop to sell their produce. It is by far the largest and most representative event in Taiwan promoting its specialty tea and thriving tea culture.
Above is the 1000 People Tea Party which has been a main attraction at the Expo since the first year. We see this as representing the lifestyle orientation that Taiwan's tea culture embodies. The cultural significance of tea and the way it enriches our lives is well understood here in Taiwan, and people really appreciate the community spirit on which this event is based. Eco-Cha's sourcing director Andy has brewed tea at this gathering every year since the Expo began.
The 1000 People Rolling Tea is the second most popular attraction, where folks both young and old can sign up for a DIY experience of rolling fresh tea leaves — an essential step in the making of Black Tea.
We are always eager to attend the event below to taste Taiwan's highest quality teas as determined by the regional competitions. Professional tea judges guide their guests through a tasting of 12 Champion Prize winning teas, with an introduction to each tea type and the competition they entered. Some of these prize winning teas sell for as much as US$10,000/600g!
Below is a snapshot of our friend and source of traditional Dong Ding Oolong Tea hosting an interactive demonstration of the premodern method of curing tea. He, and all of our older generation tea farmer friends grew up with this activity.
Another fun and rejuvenating activity at the Expo is the tea leaf facial treatment. Brewed tea leaves are placed over the eyes and the tea is absorbed by a facial mask to cleanse and condition the skin. This is something we've enjoyed doing at home for decades now, and know how refreshing the effect can be. If you try it, be sure to let the tea leaves cool down enough before facial application!
And finally, we want to share a snapshot of the core group of producers and facilitators who make this event run smoothly and successfully year after year. Andy took this shot in the very last moments of the staff packing up to leave the venue on the last day. The energy of the group was full of positivity, and we admire our mentor Tony Lin all-the-more for being the man behind the scenes who facilitates it all.
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Batch 65 of the Eco-Cha Tea Club was initially sourced by our friend for entry into the largest Oolong Tea Competition in the world. The standard of this competition is a medium/heavy roast, so it requires a significant level of oxidation in processing the tea leaves for optimal results. This is where this batch of tea varies most significantly from the market standard of Taiwan's High Mountain Tea. High Mountain Tea is minimally oxidized and unroasted — offering a fresh green character with a floral bouquet. This batch was not only more oxidized, but also delicately roasted to offer a more balanced, sweeter character with fruity and pastry components to compliment the floral notes.