Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Taiwan tea house

When there's good weather, I often take my visitors to a wonderful spot in the mountains of Tucheng, half an hour drive from my place in Banciao. Last Saturday, the weather was dark and cloudy, so I opted for this old style tea house located a 10 minutes' walk near my house. (Taiwan is most convenient when it comes to tea!) I brought my own teas and tea ware, except the kettle.
This meeting with 2 tea friends from the Czech Republic turned into a High Mountain Oolong tea class. We started brewing the top Shan Lin Xi spring 2017 Qingxin Oolong. I showed how it helps to open up the lid with the finger, at the end of the pour, to get the last drop out of the teapot. Because if there's liquid that remains in the teapot between 2 brews, it will over brew and it's like adding a few drops of bitter tea to your next cups.
It's not easy to hold the teapot with 1 hand and open the lid with the index while pouring without dripping any tea next to the cups. Because it can happen, I taught my guests that it's better to wait until the cups are filled with tea before placing them on the Cha Tuo (saucer). This way, there won't be any tea spilled on the Cha Tuo.
The second High mountain Oolong we tasted is this winter zhuo yan Oolong from Ali Shan.
It has a slightly higher oxidation due to the jassid bites. Being from a different season and mountain, it also felt different from the first. But these differences are not enormous and are less caused by quality than by character. That's when personal preferences play an important role in determining which tea you like best. My guests were split between the two teas. The biggest fan of Japanese green teas liked the lighter oxidized Shan Lin Xi the most, which made very much sense.
Shan Lin Xi High Mountain Oolong
It was a dark afternoon, but the fresh Oolongs lifted our moods!

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