December 7, 2011

My Recent Taiwan Tea Field Trip (Part 1: Nov. 11 2011: the tea lodge)

Just as I expected: once we settled with luggages, Mr. Lin, the lodge owner treated us with oolong tea produced from his tea fields.

The wood lodge's living room is warmly decorated with calligraphy, painting, bonsai and orchids.  Both tea table and serving tray were carved from single blocks of hard wood. 

Next: evening tea dinner

December 6, 2011

My Taiwan Tea Field Trip (part 2: Nov. 11 evening tea dinner feast)

most unforgettable among a tableful of yummy dishes:  

beautiful crispy flower petals on top of fried crunchy oolong tea leaves,

stir-fried tender celery stalks picked in the afternoon with taro strips,

the most flavorful chicken wings I have tasted ever-- braised with oolong tea in a clay pot.

December 5, 2011

My Taiwan Tea Field Trip (part 3: Nov. 11 midnight till 2 am: participation in tea production)

We stayed in the area known for the classic "Tung-Ting" oolong tea.  Thanks to Mr. Lin, the lodge host who treated us with tea dinner feast, I got to observe and participate in tea production at one of his relatives' farm house.  We arrived around 8pm when he had already laid out the leaves for partial drying and was ready to stir the leaves for enzymatic oxidation. 

With his artisan tea experience, he added the optional process of rotating the leaves in the bamboo cradle for further oxidation.  One needs to be patient and observant in order for all the batches to go through similar degree of
transformation.  Then the highlight of the evening (and well worth to give up sleep until 2am): the pleasant aroma released from tea roasting to stop its further oxidation.

December 4, 2011

My Taiwan Tea Field Trip (part 4: Nov 12: morning stroll near the lodge)

I was awakened by bird chirps and soft sunlight around 7 o'clock.  The garden greeted me with colorful pots of flowers.  Few steps from the backyard, I was among rows of tea shrubs on the slope of Tung-ting mountain!

Looking out across from the tea path, Chi-Ling Lake is refreshingly beautiful. 

After breakfast on the lodge patio, we were guided to vist a local farmer's cafe and its unique surroundings.

December 3, 2011

Beauty of late autumn season

This year the fall season lasts longer with warm temperature even into early December.  I finally have to pile up the fallen leaves, saying goodbye to the variance of yellows, oranges and reds along the sweeps.

Some of the leaves are perfect with brilliant color and shape that I can't help but give thanks to our creator God for nature's beautiful blessings.  I shall preserve them in my book marks for this treasured moment.