Thursday, May 06, 2010

A Tea Honeymoon in Taiwan

This newly wed couple decided to spend its honeymoon in Taiwan for one particular reason: Tea! He is a long time reader of my blog, so we decided to meet on their first full day in Taiwan.

To celebrate their tea passion, I brought them to one of my favorite spots in the Wenshan area, just below the Nanshan temple. This time, it didn't rain. The weather was sunny with a nice breeze of fresh air.

We stopped a little bit lower to get local spring water for our tea directly from the mountain. I warmed this water in my tetsubin with charcoal fire. Since I am right-handed, I usually put my Nilu on my right hand side. The wind come from the right, though, and ashes would travel to the left each time I would blow on the charcoal. So, it made more sense to put the Nilu on the left in order to avoid ashes on the tea set.

We started with a few leaves of an April 5, 2006 Jiangsu Bi Luo Chun brewed in a silver teapot with just boiled water. The longer the leaves brewed, the better the tea was, still fresh and very much alive! An amazing tea! My friend was impressed by how the mountain water was such a good fit for that tea. Good mountain water tastes sweet, round and lively.
Our second tea is my March 27, 2010 Ali Shan Gao Shan Oolong, the best High Mountain Oolong in my selection (ever!). For this Cha Xi, I used Qinghua porcelain (calligraphy gaiwan and Shan Shui cups), the wonderful Cha Bu made by mother (we all love you, mum!) and a wood fired Al Gu Dae bowl by David Louveau. I use a small pewter jar to keep the freshness of the leaves, but allow them some refinement and contact with air. That way they loose their excessive freshness.

Dry, the tea has a high lavender fragrance. And the brew is so exquisitely soft, sweet and silky. It's amazing how pure and fresh, energetic and calming it is. The oxidation balances the flowery and the fruity notes perfectly. 'This is exactly what you love', said my friend smiling to his tender wife.
The aftertaste lingers with a taste of rock, similar to Yan Cha, but with Taiwanese Oolong sweetness!
It was close to noon, but the teas hadn't made us very hungry (which is another proof of their quality). So, this being such a unique opportunity to drink tea in such a perfect setting and company, I decided to share some of my most recent addition: an April 20, 2010 Gao Shan Hung Shui Oolong from Shan Lin Shi.

The dry leaves appear greener than those from Oolongs submitted at the Lugu Dong Ding competition. The roasting is done by charcoal, at a lower temperature and longer. The roasting degree is similar, but the result is very different. Here, the roast seems deep but soft, powerful but controlled. The leaves retain their freshness.

Despite the recent roast, I didn't even let it rest in the jar (it contains a 2007 light roast semi-wild Baozhong I also considered drinking that day). But I used a zhuni teapot that is good at handling roasted Oolong.

This tea has everything! Flowers, fruits and hazelnuts! It is clean and pure in the mouth and throat, sweet and yummy. And the aftertaste is so fine and long lasting. It melts like chocolate and leaves a fresh sensation in the mouth and warm sensation in the body. (This is the kind of tea I created this blog for: top quality, traditional and impossible to get without dedication and passion.)

We were happy to have found bliss, friendship and love on this tea mountain. "Now, our honeymoon has really begun!"

8 comments:

yunnan said...

Les Chanceux...

Francine said...

Je me remarierais bien pour avoir une si jolie honeymoon...

Steph said...

What a beautiful celebration. Best wishes to the couple!

Michel said...

the double happiness jar is very fitting!

Kim Christian said...

Stéphane indeed made our honeymoon
very special...

Thank a million again, my friend !!

raindropsonkittens said...

Wow, that's amazing!

Thomas said...

Did you really go for a silver teapot ? as to me it seems more like an iron tetsubin.

Stephane said...

Thomas,
The silver teapot isn't on the pictures, but we did use one for the first tea. We used the iron testubin to boil water for all teas.