Thursday, November 3, 2016
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!
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.
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.
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!
TRES / Taitung Branch has a few good research tea plantations here to study the Tropical tea growing condition. Also to help tea farmers in Taitung / Hualien and Pintung, Kaohsiung areas with updated technology and cultivars. Taitung Oolong is the great R&D product from this branch. Thanks to Director Wu, also Master Fan and Mr. Huang for taking their own weekend time to guide us touring the gardens and facility there, Our members have enjoyed a blind cupping contest on Taitung Oolong and Byron wins the prize.
This is the 3rd day of our Taitung trip... tired but feeling the achievement. Finished our "Hand on making Taitung Oolong" @ Lin Wang Tea.
The reason TOST picks Dong Wu Hotel as our official site since 2008, not only it is a very cozy hotel but also the location. We want a place that we can feel the Tea, with old tea factories, tea warehouses, tea stores, tea baking rooms, tea merchants association... all within walking distance. Our members can take their own paths after the TOST program to do their continuous study or tea adventure.
Here in Dadaocheng, Taipei's old business district, tea trade plays such an important role. Many entrepreneurs in Textile, Electronics industry actually originated from tea trade. We decide to bring our members to visit Taipei City Tea Merchants Association. They have kept so many historical documentation, old tea labels, old tea packages... A good place to dig for Taiwan's tea history.
Cha Hsiang Zhi Zhai.
Wang Der Chuan, a well branded Taiwan Tea Company. We have met Ms. Lynn Wang at the 2016 World Tea Expo through Steve Huang's introduction. I have made a scouting in August and decided to add this wonderful stop for our members to learn WDC's Branding strategy and also to study its unique store design and tea display with full information to help shoppers. Thanks to Lynn for her open-minded to receive our visit and an excellent presentation before we tour her tea shop at Chung Shan N. Road. An impressive visit !
A few of our members are willing to visit more tea shops after dinner. I suggest to walk over to Eslite Spectrum in Taipei's new Culture Creative Center. There are a few tea shops in the big book store.
We are glad to have HGT be our good partner for our TOST program.
TongLuo Tea Factory in Miaoli.
In Taiwan, tea farmers used to hand down their experience and skill...but sometimes, they cannot satisfy the younger generation with 'Tea-Science' and proper training courses. Asia-Pacific is filling the puzzle.
TaoChuMiao tea district, so many to see and so little time we can spare...
We are in Oolong business, but how to make Oolong serving with efficiency at foodservice sites, Hotels and Resorts, yet remain good aroma, taste, plus the ambient we want... Pei-Chen seems to have the solution for us.
Just see the photos to find our members really have good time at Pei-Chen Corp.
Josephine and I have decided to ask TTC, Taiwan Tea Corporation, for a favor to open their facility to TOST members to visit. TTC, used to be Mitsui Norin during Japanese colonized Taiwan. They have several large tea plants in each tea district, and they also invested modern refinery factory in Sanhsia, New Taipei City.
We promised the manager, NO PICTURE, just to have a guided tour in the facility. Our members are very impressed with their modern baking units for high quality Oolong baking, and of course, a large scale sifting process line with a few huge blending mixers for the commercial blends.
Thanks to TTC's support and we are glad that 2016 TOST did make it to visit Sanhsia Refinery Factory.
Every year, we know that our members will like to stop by some tea houses to shop for a few tea ware for gifts or for the business. We like to bring TOST friends to visit Yinge, Taiwan's ceramic town in TaoChuMiao tea district. This town is very close to Taipei City, so our members can always find their own time to visit here again.
Everyone has different interests... just see how serious when they shop for tea ware at Sanshe.
Please enjoy some photos taken there... Zhi-Ru-Yuan
It is a great ending for TOST trip. For Tea industry, we do have a good example to learn from as for the food safety concern.
Please enjoy the photos on our VISIT IMEI.
More photos to be reviewed on our Closing Ceremony.