The focus of this blog is Chinese tea, its successful brewing, appreciation and all the tea culture that tea has inspired.
Today, though, I just want to post a few recent pictures of those brave, strong, happy Taiwanese women who pick our leaves when the sun is high in the sky. Without them, still willing to do a tough manual work, picking leaves one by one, we would have to satisfy ourselves with machine cut leaves. So, if your hand harvested tea is particularly sweet, it's in small part thanks to them.
Most important to them is a good protection against the strong sun.
A well deserved pause after the first round of harvesting. Here comes there second breakfast at 9AM: congee (overcooked rice). This will give them strength to continue the harvest while being easy to digest. And they love it!
Like everywhere else on the planet, most young people don't stay to work in the countryside. Besides, tea picking is very seasonal. So, the farmers are relying mostly on 55+ year old women to harvest their plantations. Most are family related to the farmer or (old) friends with the farmer's wife.
There were some who were shy and didn't want to have their picture taken. But most were happy and proud to show a foreigner what they do and how they look like in their outfits.
Below is the only young harvesting woman I saw in this group. She's a Vietnamese and married a local Taiwanese farmer.
Thanks to all of you and bon appétit!
See also this beautiful picture of a picker in Ali Shan.