Friday, August 31, 2018


A trip to Lishan only takes 3 and a half hours by car from Taipei! A full tank (40 USD) is all it cost to bring my family to these splendid mountains! Why then spend thousands of dollars to fly overseas when there's this perfect temperature (22 degrees Celcius) and these lush landscapes graced with tea plantations so close to my home?!

And there are even monkeys living freely in these mountains! Nobody has trained them to pick tea, though! They are much more interested by the many fruits growing around! Probably that's why the farmers protect the fruits with white paper bags during their growth, so that they are protected against pests and thieves!
The Lishan region is where you find the highest tea plantations. The slopes of some plantations are very steep as you can see. I woke up at 5 AM so that I could take these vivid pictures of Lishan and give you a better idea of what these plantations look like when they are active (from May to October). When you're alone on these roads at such an early time of the day, it gives you the eerie feeling that you are master all of this beauty since there's no other soul around to claim ownership over it! That's especially the case when you are located on the top of mountain and look down around you! I guess that's the kind of feeling that motivates mountain climbers!
The fresh Oolong drinkers also experience a similar desire to drink from the highest tea plantations! There's something irresistible that pushes us to reach for the highest peaks. Lishan offers this opportunity for greatness, elevations surpassing 2000 meters with all that it entails: pure and rarefied air, big pine trees, clouds so close that they turn into fog...
From my blog, you can see that I fit the profile of those people who want to experience the very best teas one can find. That's why, when I visited the Wuling farm (20 km north of Lishan) I brewed my spring 2018 Lishan qingxin Oolong among the tea fields there! The elevation of this place is about 1800 meters. On top of the plantation, a pavilion commands this view on the mountains and the Oolongs trees. This was the perfect spot for my Chaxi!
Dr. Erler, my father
To enjoy this moment, let me take several steps back in time. Washington's biography made me curious about my own lineage: it turns out, the first Erler who came to France from Germany was my great-great-grand-father. He settled in Saverne (Alsace) to become a beer brewer! In those times, you had to store beer in cold caves so that it could be sold fresh in the summer. (Likes good drinks). Unfortunately, he caught a pneumonia in this environment and died at the age of 36.
My great-grand-father, grew up poor, without a father, but found a job in the high tech of his time: the railways! (Innovator who helps others travel long distances).
My grand-father studied pharmacy and opened one in Lembach, one of the smallest and forlorn village in Alsace. (Sold stuff to make people healthy).
My father is a family doctor who has relentlessly continued to learn new techniques to cure his patients. Among others, he learned acupuncture and acupressure with Asian doctors and has now developed his own technique. At 71, he's in a great shape and is still working. (Combined Western and Eastern medicine and made it his own for the benefit of his patients).
In Taiwan, most families have a shrine to worship their ancestors and a deity of their liking. It looks as if I have every reason to be thankful for this meaningful lineage! Everyone seems to have blended in my life: the passion for a delicious beverage, the use of high tech (blog, Internet strore...), providing healthy products and bringing a Chinese culture closer to my Western audience! The apple doesn't fall far from the tree, after all! Studying a business degree and leaving Alsace for Taiwan was meant as doing things differently, but it turns out I am fulfilling the destiny of my Erler forefathers!

These deep thoughts came during this trip at high altitude. It's not just the landscape that your mind contemplates from a high ground. The spirit detaches from petty stuff and looks at the big picture. You wonder about the meaning not of life, but your own life. In such a moment of grace it became self-evident that I was enjoying this Lishan Oolong beyond the mere description of its sweet/fresh flavors and its soothing effect on my body. I was really meant to select, enjoy and share such delicious teas! 
Find the sun and much more in your cup of Lishan Oolong!
View from Lishan

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