Thursday, December 2, 2010

Taiwan Day 5 Finish Hands On Tea Making

After processing tea all night, we arrived at our hotel around 2:30 a.m. I knew we were staying around the Sun Moon Lake area, but since we had checked it so late, I had no idea we were right on the lake.  Here is the peaceful view I woke up to the next morning.  It was almost magical looking as the fog was lifting off the lake and the sun was just peaking over the mountains.  Although I could have enjoyed many cups of tea while watching the sun come up, I still had tea of my own to finish processing.

After a quick breakfast at the hotel, our group was back to TRES to finish our tea. Although I was tired, I was anxious to finish my hands-on experience in making oolong.  When we got there, a worker was already busy finishing the next step of the processing.  Each one in the group got a chance to "bag" the tea.  Below are some of my highlights.  After the tea comes out of the steamer, it is wrapped in a canvas bag.  The fragrant aroma of the freshly steamed tea leaves was lovely. 

It was fascinating to see how the tea was tied up in the canvas into a ball. You can see me tightening the tea ball above on a machine that twist the canvas bag into a tight ball. Then the canvas wrapped tea was placed on a rolling machine and allowed to roll around which is seen below. This process of steaming, bagging, and rolling happens repeatedly.

I have to admit that we cheated just a bit in our hands on tea making experience.  For sake of time, our group left the rest of the rolling and the final baking up to Tea Master Steve and his team of workers.  However, the opportunity to get to be a part of making tea with all of the steps and to work with Tea Master Steve Huang, was UNFORGETABLE. 

We bid farewell to our new friend Steve and headed out to our next learning adventures.  We were treated to a wonderful film at Lugu Farmers Association and Visitors Center.  There they also had a museum that we toured.  Inside the museum they had a typical tea farmers house.  Our host/guide Thomas Shu told us that he grew up in a house very similar to the replica at the museum. 

After a wonderful taste of their teas, we were off to the Ling Ji Tea Garden.  It was there we were introduced to this interesting way of brewing their tea through ice.  The ice is at the top and it drips down into the tea leaves which is in the second chamber.  It then is collected at the bottom and put into containers to drink.  I have never seen this before and wonder if it is done here in the US at all????

The owner of this tea shop had set up a cupping for us on the most exquisite table.  Her unique approach to tea was based on a 1-10 baking of oolongs.  The flavors were wonderful and I was enticed to buy her #8 which I thought was floral and delicious!
After a lovely dinner, we headed to a new hotel for some much needed rest.  The next day was going to be a treat as we headed to the Shan-Lin-Si Tea District and the AliShan Tea District.  The views and the tea fields were breathtaking.  I was literally "in the clouds" on top of a mountain. 

I hope you are enjoying my trip to Taiwan virtually!  Does anyone want to go to Taiwan now?  How about trying your hand at making your own tea?

Happy Sipping, Lisa


  1. Dearest Lisa,

    That was a most interesting 'hands on' experience! One happily accepts the long, sometimes grueling hours for just having the opportunity to BE there. You were there with heart and soul, that speaks through your writing and now even the reader feels like having BEEN there.
    Thanks again for sharing your cup of tea with us!

    Have a great weekend,

    Mariette's Back to Basics