Thursday, November 19, 2015

Tea with Paris couple on November 14

Just a couple of hours after learning about the Paris attacks, I had tea with Sophie and her husband on their first day in Taiwan. Since it wasn't raining, we headed to a spot in nature in the nearby mountains of Tucheng. This environment is very similar to that of Wenshan Baozhong plantations, which is why we started tasting a Baozhong classic: my spring 2014 'subtropical forest'. It tasted mild, mellow, but still fresh.
Then, I let Sophie brew my spring 2015 top Jinxuan Oolong from Dong Ding. This tea had more punch and power. What really impressed my guests was the size of the Jinxuan leaves. Even though they don't qualify as high mountain, because the Dong Ding plantations are all below 1000 meters, these tightly rolled leaves are most impressive in how big they unfold.
The crescendo continued with this spring 2015 Tsui Feng Oolong (1900 m). This time I used a zhuni teapot, which allowed my to use fewer leaves. This time, Sophie felt this brew was beyond tea and much more similar to buttery perfume! (I think that's also when she told me that she works for a famous Parisian maison de parfum!)
I was most pleased at hearing this reaction to my Tsui Feng Mountain Oolong. It's indeed a very fine example of light oxidation, high mountain and spring fragrances. That's why, I proceeded to change our set up for two more teas. 
The spring 2014 Hung Shui Oolong from Yong Lung (Dong Ding) was a radical change with the previous 3 fresh Oolongs. This one has much deeper taste and aftertaste. Nutty, sweet, ripe fruits. It felt like going from white wine to a dry, tannic red wine.
My spring 2013 Concubine Oolong concludes our overview of Taiwan's Oolong.
The Chaxi has now much warmer colors. The cups are ivory white now. It's a very nice fit for this tea.
The dry leaves are simply stored in this ancient qinghua jar. The high oxidation brings a lot more sweetness to the tea. Sophie sips this warm nectar.
Her smiling eyes tell me she felt happy drinking this tea in the mountains of Tucheng.
By the time a few rain drops told us to finish, we had found happiness, warmth and calm again.
We even made a late afternoon visit to Banciao's Lin Gardens. The city has started a 2 years renovation and only half of the buildings can be accessed now. But even if you can only see half, it's still fully worth a go!

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