Thursday, December 03, 2009

Gossip: One of the most photographed tea plantation in Taiwan

I took these pictures on November 29, 2009, 11AM.
Place is Shan Lin Shi, Ba Gua Cha Yuan (八卦茶園), which translates loosely as the 'gossip tea plantation'! There are many plantations along the way, but this must be the one with most visitors in Shan Lin Shi. Small buses and cars with visitors arrive to make nice shots of the plantation, especially during the harvests. Unfortunately, we are too late in the season. Despite the sunny weather, the tea bushes have started to hibernate at this high altitude. This is why the colors are a little dull (especially compared to those linked above!)

This fame is an opportunity for the farmer: so many tourists stop to try his tea, that he can sell everything by himself. However, I also found out that this meant making his Oolong appealing to the masses: oxidation was particularly light. The tea was fragrant and fresh, but not the kind to drink on an empty stomach... This is a classic case of fame ruining quality. As the farmer or plantation becomes more famous than the tea itself, demand increases and leads to lower quality. (This is a reason why I now more reluctantly publish pictures of my farmers.)

4 comments:

Marlena - Tea For Today said...

Even beginning to hibernate, it is beautiful. Personally I often find the quiet time between Autumn and Winter refreshing. You can see so many details of the land you can't see in full leaf or deep snow. A reflective time. Thank you for you oictures and your excellent blog.

Stephane said...

Thanks Marlena. Glad you like these pictures. And speaking of snow, there are years where this plantation receives some.

Isabella Chan said...

Hi Stephane,

Do you think "bagua" here refers to the traditional 8-sided Taoist/Fengshui symbol, instead of the commonplace use of "bagua" to refer to nosy, busybodies?

Cheers,
Izzy

Stephane said...

Isabella,
Yes, I think that the farmer had this symbol in mind when calling his plantation this name. The reason being the hill on the right in my pictures where the tea bushes are forming circles.
However, I found that in reality his success is more due to gossip than to Fengshui, or maybe it's both?