Tuesday, May 10, 2011

2010 TOST - Opening Ceremony

This is the 3rd year of our Taiwan Oolongs Study Tour program.
10/17/2010 evening, we gathered all of our members and walked over to TTMA's office. Not only the Board Directors there to greet us, also the World's most famous tea cultivars - are potted and displayed to say hi to all of our members. This is where we start our study.
Besides the photos, I got a few video clips to record our members' expectation about this trip. I will then have more video clips to reflect their thoughts after the program.

2010 TOST - Wenshan Tea Farm on 10/18/2010

This is our first stop of the TOST 2010 -
Wenshan Tea Farm is a jewel of Taiwan tea's history. We were having our hands on Pouchong making in 2009 at TRES/Wenshan Branch. This year, I feel like to lead our members to see this s place that established in 1937 as Taiwan's Pouchong Tea Research and experiment Center, which later moved to the current facility in 1987. Apparently, not much R&D is done here any more, yet the tea gardens and all facilities still remain well, becomes a new attraction for tea lovers' DIY experience and also a beautiful natural garden for tourists. Farmers in the area, still send in their Pouchong for the refinery here.
I enjoy visiting this place not any less than the current TRES / Wenshan Branch, because the view, the historical traces... Walk along the roads and check among those experiment tea gardens...you might happen to encounter with some treasure and historical marks. We are lucky that we got Mr. Yen to explain to our members during our visit.

Monday, May 9, 2011

2010 TOST - Tse-Xin Organic Farm in Wenshan

We were told about the story of 淨源茶, and Josephine and I both agreed to include this farm in our TOST 2010 schedule after our visit to Wenshan Pouchong Tea Farm.
淨源 means to make sure the water reservoir not to be poluted. This is the mission of this Tse-Xin group to work on. Tea is the main agriculture product in Wenshan area, and they were taking one farmer at a time to join their co-op to have organic practice.
Our group members are greeted and treated like true VIP on 10/18/2010 visit. My college classmate, Glendy Lee is a long time volunteer in Tse-Xin, and with her arrangement...a great vegetarian buffet lunch is served. After the presentation and tea tasting, we are in tour to see their new tea plant. Good to learn that more and more tea farmers are willing to adopt the program and to have Organic tea not only to meet and quench tea lovers' thirsty...also to help make sure the residents of Taipei City can enjoy good water resource. City by city, one tea district at a time, this truly a beautiful story. I hope we can work with this group closely.

2010 TOST - Visit Jia Tien Organic Tea Garden

On 10/19/2010, we took bus and left Taipei in the early morning for a three day south-bound field trip. In the bus, most members are excited and busy chatting, though some are still having their jet lag...
Before we heading to TRES/Yuchih Branch, we made a stop to visit Jia Tien Organic Tea Garden located in Minjian, Nantou County. The owner is Mr. Chen, who got NOP Organic Certified for his tea plantation. Our members got to check out his tea garden and listen to his presentation right at the tea field.

2010 TOST - Hands On @TRES - Yuchih Branch

The fresh tea leaves were delivered to Yuchih before we arrive. Steve Huang, our instructor greets all of our members and a series of hands on tea making experiences in a long day just started. There were facilities tours inside the branch, plus many sessions of classes, discussions and cuppings during each break between outdoor withering and indoor withering, and the waiting time of each fluffing...till midnight. Finally, the leaf is ready for panning, rolling and drying...
We come back to finish up the canvas wrapped rolling process the second morning...
The photos here can only have very little explanation...luckily, we got Steve to get on the white board to review each step by step...Jackson, Norman, even William get their time to share with our members. What an experience in Yuchih!

2010 TOST - Stop by Lugu Farmers' Association

After we checked out TRES / Yuchih branch, we led our group to stop by the place that lighted up the fire of Tung-Ting Oolong Booming back 1n 1976. With this Farmers' Association to begin the Tea Contest then, year by year... Tung Ting Oolong became the most popular and hot demanded tea in Taiwan and got famous in the World of tea lovers. There's a museum here and several rooms for farmers' educational activities. Our members seem to have good time there!