Monday, February 09, 2015

Taipei Story House event with Teaparker and tea friends

For this special event marking the end of K. C. Chen's era at the head of the Taipei Story House, Teaparker received this picture of himself performing Chaozhou gongfu cha. It was taken at the Taipei Story House in 2010 when a TV crew shot the documentary Global Drinks, tea (for France 5 TV).

Nearby, you can also see pictures from over 50 tea events organized by Teaparker with the Taipei Story House over the years. I have many memories of teas and friends there...

The Taipei Story House was built in 1913 for Chen ZhaoJun, a Taipei tea merchant, as a place to rest and entertain his guests. On Sunday, Teaparker invited us to a trip back in time and gave us 5 teas from the 1920s to brew! 
 Evon started with a Fanzhuang Oolong, meaning it's an Oolong that was sold by a foreign tea merchant in Taipei. While the leaves were provided by Teaparker, all the equipment is her own. She's using a wonderful black obi (kimono belt) as chabu and a cultural revolution big bamboo teapot. Most beautiful are her replica of Yuan dynasty qinghua cups with elevated Chatuo!
 Next, Ms. Wu brews old Wuyi Yancha in her small Yixing zhuni teapot. Wuyi Yancha is the place of origin of Oolong and also one of the most difficult to master. 
 Beauty on a Chaxi can look so simple and easy, but it requires practice and a creative mind. 
 This event with 5 Chaxi is also an opportunity to see that we're not alone in preparing tea with style. Every day we are using similar setups to enjoy our tea.
 Here, Ms. Jian is going to brew a 1920s KeyiXing puerh. The brew's color was amazingly transparent and shiny!
 Then came my turn with the Chaxi I had parcticed of a day earlier.
I brewed a 1920s Sun Yishun Liu-An GuaPian. The leaves are tiny and it's a tea that used to be exported to South Asia. This Yellow Mountain tea (Anhui Province) used to be slightly oxidized. Its scent in the pewter tea caddy is splendid and powerful. It's intoxicating like old liquor or top grade incense! Teaparker recommended I only use few leaves, a slow pour and long brew. The result was surprisingly thick, clean and sweet. The aftertaste of a small cup lasted a very long time, with waves of warmth in the body.

I was particularly glad that I could share this special moment with Emily, a Penn State alumna and reader Miguel with his family!

Old tea and wares are passed from one generation to the next. It's nice to see how tea brings the family together and how a simple moment of happiness can be shared and passed to the next generation.
Above and on the left, Ms. Chen prepared a Baozhong that was sold by Chen ZhaoJun's company in the 1920s! It was interesting to see that Baozhong tea used to be rather flat and small back then.

She also made a beautiful purple color Chabu matching the colors of her early RoC Yixing teapot for this occasion.

All these tea still felt alive and brought lots of joy and astonishment to all the participants. It showed just how resilient top quality teas can be. It's not a quest for the oldest tea, but for exceptional flavors. And this Sunday, we were blown away! It was the highest concentration of great teas and Chaxis I have seen on a single afternoon.
May the Taipei Story House continue to connect tea lovers with Taiwan's rich tea culture!