Friday, November 17, 2017

Another year, mission accomplished!

During the TOST trip, we always have tea-sense in our minds, agree or disagree over a cup of tea... from different point of view... that is "group learning" all about!

Even at the last moment before our Closing Ceremony, Johnny has driven from his Lishan factory to join us since very early morning., Norman 許正清 has rushed himself from Hsinchu to share with our members two ways of his cupping practices... Mr. 林耀精 called to send regards; Master Steve Huang and Hung-Chen Wang... rushed to have the Alishan Milk Oolong that #TOST2017 hands on making to make sure our members will head home with them... 

Love and Passions about Taiwan Tea filled up the spirit for TOST program, and we just can't thank enough. Most importantly, our TOST friends: you are the reason we have this program. Another year, mission accomplished!

These are 4 links that CNA has interviewed Josephine and me right before my departure from Taoyuan Airport back to Los Angeles on 10/30/2017. (*First two are in English, and the last two are in Hanji version.)

As Paul Richards has said it well, we now will have more Ambassadors out there to get ready to celebrate our "Formosa Oolong 150 (1869-2019)" in year 2019!


Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Testimonials about "TOST" Programs

From 2016 TOST:

COWAN, Wesley
CROW, Diana
GOO, Byron
HAMMOND, Suzette
LO, Shih-Hung
Mr. Lin (Lin Wang Tea)
Johnny Tu (HGT)
Norman Shu (SKT)
Josephine Pan 
Thomas Shu
From the Group of 2014 TOST 

Susan Kilian
Eric Bidault
Lisa Baughman
Tania Stacey
Jeni Dodd
Lynn Benson
Victoria Boyert
Patti Harrison
Bob Krul
Sonny Manzo
Jerry Liu
Aya Lin
Shih-Hung Lo

From the Group of 2013 TOST 
Chris Anderson  
Robert Comins
Wendy Ho  
Susan Kilian
Nancy Lisicki 

Thomas Lisicki 
Julia Matson 
Terry Morrison 
Jeanne Sielaff 
Tania Stacey 
William Wertheim 
Robert Williford

From the Group of 2012 TOST

Chris Anderson
Robin Baker   (IMS, Ltd.)
Robert Boewe   (The Spice Merchant)
Jeni Dodd  (Jeni's Tea)
Jeffrey Lorien   (Zhi Tea Gallery)
Michele Savage  (IMS, Ltd.)

From the group of 2010 TOST ----

Bill Waddington   (Tea Source)           
Bob Krul  (CTC Brewt Corporation)
Daniela Cubelic   (Silk Road Tea)  
Elise Scott  (Pearl Fine Teas)               
Judith Krall-Russo   (Judith Krall Russo, LLC)
Hoda Paripoush   (Sloane Tea Company)
Karen Hartwick   (Tea Leaves Tea Tasting Bar)
Ken Rudee   (Rudee Enterprises, Inc.)
Linda Villano   (SerendipiTea)
Lisa Boalt Richardson   (Lisa Knows Tea)
Lynayn Mielke   (Lighten Up Teas with Lynayn Mielke)
Melissa Wawrzonek  (Clipper Ship Tea Company)
Michelle Rose  (Cloudwater Farm)
Newman Johnston  (Teas Etc, Inc.)
Robert Boewe   (The Spice Merchant) 

Thursday, November 3, 2016

2016 TOST - Opening Ceremony (20161027)

2016 TOST, our 9th year and we expect to be another good trip.  This one, we will highlight the first time, Hands on making Taitung Oolong.  We also will visit Pei-Cheng for the study on Foodservice design and practice. We will have plenty tea shops and tea bars to stop by and observe.  We will have many cupping and tasting wherever we go... and of course, we will visit TRES in Wenshan and Taitung.  I am obliged to many tea farmers, factories, tea stores owners, tea companies CEO... they are so generous and willing to open their facilities to greet our visits.  Sincerely, we treasure each TOST's group learning experience, and we believe this one will be another hit!  Go TOST 2016!

2016 TOST - Visit TRES / Wenshan Branch (20161028)

TRES, Taiwan Tea Research and Extension Station, established back in 1903 by Japanese for the thorough R&D about the soil, weather, cultivar, plantation management, processing technique and equipment renovation, and training for farmers to get updated.  There are total 3 branches (Wenshan, Yuchih, Taitung) and sub-branch in Tung-Ting, plus the HQ in Yangmei.  Geographically, these 5 stations are focusing 5 major tea districts in Taiwan.  I always share my respect and appreciation to TRES for their great contribution to Taiwan Tea Industry in many of my tea presentations.  It is about the Team Efforts, and TRES plays its important role.  Without TRES, TOST program will looks less meaningful.

2016 TOST - Visit Shang Lin Tea Factory (20161028)

Farmers in Wenshan district, team up to have Co-Op ISO tea factory.  This is indeed helping the whole district to upgrade with food safety issue.  We are grateful to the hospitality of Mr. and Mrs. Ueng to guide us to tour their tea factory...and not only to enjoy the Pouchong they made, also we are having Formosa Bonita: Ruby 18 at the factory.  It is a good adjustment that TRES / Wenshan Branch has helped the local farmers to do Spring, Autumn and Winter Crops with lightly oxidized Pouchong, and have the Summer crop leaf for Formosa Bonita.  I have found that more cultivars are planted in Wenshan tea district besides traditional Chinsing Oolong cultivar, now they have many Jin Suang, Ruby 18, also BeeYu, Ying Hsiang...that TRES develops.  A few farmers have worked with us to do Buddha's Palm and Hsui Hsien cultivars for our Amber Oolong projects.  Wenshan Tea District plays such an important role in Taiwan tea history. 

2016 TOST - Visit Hsiang Tai Tea in Pinling for Pouchong Study (20161028)

At Hsiang Tai Tea House, the young tea master, Aka Feng helps us to do blind cupping on Wenshan Pouchong.  We have more than 3 generations working relationship with Hsiang Tai.  I am so glad that Aka and his younger brother are willing to carry on the family business.  They have different ideas and they will work out their own way of bringing Wenshan Pouchong to another dimension: With skillful baking technique to get vintage Pouchong.  We learn about fresh and green Pouchong, we also will enjoy Vintage Pouchong.  As we often said, tea is to encounter not to pursue.  Mother nature might challenge tea pro with their wisdom not complaint.  Go Wenshan Pouchong!

2016 TOST - Arriving Lin Wang Tea for our hands on making Taitung Oolong experience (Day 1) (20161028)

Our domestic flight arrives Taitung late...and right after we put down our back packs...Phone call from Mr. Lin to ask our members over to the Lin Wang Tea Factory, where we are going to hands on study Taitung Oolong.  Mr. Lin wants us to check the tea in the process of oxidation... Our schedule is really tight and we need to start our course from the late evening... That is exactly what we want...
TOST 2016 hands on making Taitung Oolong!

2016 TOST - Hands on making Taitung Oolong (Day 2) (20161029)

 Continue the second day at Lin Wang Tea to hands on making Taitung Oolong.  During the breaks, we always have classes, cuppings, discussions...  This is exactly what TOST about...