Sunday, October 11, 2009
2009 TOST - Oriental Beauty - plucking the leaves (6/26/2009)
June 26, 2009. We left Dong Wu Hotel at 8 am sharp, all of our members are excited to meet the legendary "Oriental Beauty"!
Jackson told us that we will pick up Sensei Hsu (Master Y.S. Hsu) on the way to Lungtan tea district. Master Hsu is senior advisor of TTMA, he works with Jackson together for over 7 years conducting Taiwan Oolongs Study Program for Japanese tea pros. At the tea plant, TTMA also invites two masters to show their different skills in processing. JP reminds every one to get enough chips for their cameras...this is indeed one of the most important sessions in our program. Back on TOST 2008, we came in Taiwan late in October, so we did not have chance to observe how this unique Taiwan Oolong is making. For TOST 2009, we are actually making it...how thoughtful we are treated by TTMA.
From the slideshow, you can see that we must change to 4 wheel drive truck to get in tea fields and that is some experience for our members. The ladies were there plucking the leaves for us to hands on making our Oriental Beauty. We were lucky to hear the beautiful Hakka Tea Mountain Love Song right there...Bob was extremely happy and tried to sing back and forth with the ladies... How hard is to pluck the tea leaves for making Oriental Beauty? Well, you just have to believe: these ladies start plucking tea leaves from their very early age...they don't watch the leaves and pick...they almost rely on their fingers' feeling...just follow the feeling to pluck those "one sprout and two tender leaves that got bidden by green leaf hoppers". How many can they get if they have to wear the glasses to check and pick the leaves? In a way, they deserve to get higher pay for their excellent works. Good tea begins with right leaf. Nothing is easy... those ladies are proud of their Gong-Fu in the tea fields!
One bag of tea leaves traveled back with our bus on a ride to Mr. Shen's tea factory.