Sunday, January 27, 2013

2012 TOST - Early Departure

This year, we missed two members of 2012 TOST in our Closing Ceremony. It actually is the first time that we have our members' early departure.
Tai Tokugawa has to catch up her trade show in Philly, so she needs to leave for the Taoyuan Airport after our last stop of 10/26 schedule - visit I-Mei Foods Factory.  Tai receives her Certificate presented by Jackson Huang at I-Mei.

 Gina Palombi worries about the Super storm in East Coast might get her to be stuck in the LAX, and cannot be her family in time.  She has made an arrangement to leave on the early morning of 10/28.  Josephine has asked Gina to share with us her thoughts about this trip on the way back from Formosa Black Tea Company.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

2012 TOST - Visit Tze-Chi organic tea garden (10/27/2012)

We always visit ceramic capital of Taiwan, Yinge in New Taipei City., and 2012 TOST, we have added a new stop to visit Taiwan's wood sculptures town - Sanyi, Miaoli County.   We thought it will be nice to walk around the street there.  Plus, there is one organic tea garden belongs to Tze-Chi Foundation right at the end of the street. Well, there is a trail to walk up to the tea garden, and it is quite a walk.  You can tell from the following slideshow...   The tea garden seems not under good management compared from our last visit a few years ago.

2012 TOST - Visit Hsu Yao-Liang Tea Factory (10/27/2012)

Master Hsu Yao-Liang and his wife are frequent winners of Oriental Beauty contests in Taiwan.  We have the great honor to make appointment to come to visit them, also to have a tour of his factory. Jackson told us that Japanese TOST group has done several hands on tea making there.
October is not the right season for genuine Oriental Beauty.  Farmers must be very selective to have the leaf with green leaf hoppers' trace of visit...and the quantity is indeed very limited.  We are amazed to see those leaves spread on the bamboo tray for the withering...
Our members were wondering why we don't get to taste his best tea there? (Maybe those finest Oriental Beauty from the Summer crop 2012 were long gone...or probably these teas are extremely expensive and we might not be able to afford?) It is not kidding, for the first place winner, the tea could be around US$100,000 per 600 g at the Auction.
Let us sell more tea and then we can have ourselves able to sip a few cups of Oriental Beauty.
(I wish and do hope so.)

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

2012 TOST - Visit Sha Keng Tea Manufactory (10/27/2012)


Grand Cupping is always so impressive to our TOST friends.  On 10/27/2012, we visit Sha Keng Tea and to meet with Norman Shu (the President of TTMA). He has prepared 4 tables-full of teas: Table 1 is lined up with the status of Oxidation (from green tea, pouchong, jade, classic tungting and amber oolong)., Table 2 is baked oolongs with 3 machinery baked and 2 charcoal baked., Table 3 is Oriental Beauty with different grades., Table 4 is Brandy Oolong with different cultivars. Norman leads this cupping session, and really refresh our members with their learning during the week.   
My father is the most excited person that day. He has been waiting for our TOST friends every year at the factory, and he likes to greet everyone and make sure Josephine and I have done our jobs right. 

Mr. Ken Rudee, a good friend of ours and a 3 time TOST member, has bestowed upon me the task of carrying the "First Place Award" Plaque that he won with his Oriental Beauty, in Tea Contest at the WTE. He wants Norman Shu to present it to the farmer who makes that award winning tea.  Mr Chen came all the way from Miaoli to meet with us here.  Mr. Chen is extremely honored and grateful.

2012 TOST - Visit Formosa Black Tea Co. (10/27/2012)

We are visiting Formosa Black Tea Company in Kuanshi, Hsinchu.  This old tea factory used to manufacture tons of Taiwan Black Tea for export to more than 87 harbors in the World.  The owners, Lo's Family, has upgraded the old tea factory to install a modern steam-fired green tea production line here, and still manages to preserve many of old sites and converted to be a very nice tea culture gallery.  We like to bring our TOST members here to review the history of Taiwan tea industry, plus we also get to learn about the Micro Green Tea 300 that is currently processed here by FORTEACO with the ISO22000 approved facility. 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2012 TOST - Certification Ceremony (10/28/2012)

The 2012 TOST Certificate Ceremony is set on the conference room down on the basement of Dong Wu Hotel on 10/28/2012.  Tai has left on Friday evening to catch her company's trade show in Philly., and Gina left in the early morning to get home one day early to avoid holding up in Lax as the super storm alert in the east coast. (*Ends up that is a smart decision for Gina...she did arrive home with her family before the Super Storm hits NJ badly...)
Our good friend, Mr. Wen Sung has helped us to record every member's comments on this year's program.  We have saved those videos for the documentation.


2012 TOST - Walking around Taipei old tea district (10/28/2012)

After the closing ceremony and also our traditional Vegetarian Buffet, Jackson Huang leads our members to walk around the Taipei Old Tea District (Da-Dao-Cheng).  We start from Dong Wu Hotel and walk along Liang-Chou-Jieh, to Chung-Ching N. Road, to Min-Sheng W. Road, to Que-De-Jieh, to Nangking W. Road, and Di-Hua-Jieh...  Each building has its own story, each street cherishes with busy activities of tea trade, and several old sites still remain their original while many are covered and replaced with different new looks... It is a perfect ending with this walking tour for our 2012 TOST program.