MAN CHA TEAS

Purveyor of Premium Chinese Tea and education provider to children in need.


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In Taipei, Out Taipei

I arrived in Taipei and without any mobile communication I managed to NOT meet my friends at the arranged meeting point. Great start! So here I was in Taiwan on my own and wandering around Taipei main station frantically looking for my friends. For those who have been to this station you appreciate its vastness…its massively massive. Obvious that!!  Since it is Taipei’s main station. Anyway after an hour search we finally met and the start of the tea sourcing began.

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Straight on the MRT to the north and Tamsui to meet a friend’s sister, who so happened to sell tea in Taiwan. To the shop we ventured, however we were slightly side-tracked by some Taiwanese street snacks.

Arriving at the shop I was so excited and I didn’t know  what to expect of Taiwan’s tea shops. This one looked no different from the tea shops in China. Once inside we smelt the familiar smell of aged Puer, yum it was delicious!

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We sampled numerous teas and were giving a detailed history of each tea by Mr and Mrs Tsim.  A bit strange to get Chinese Puer all the way from Taiwan! As a payment and courteous gesture for all the tea we tried I bought a few samples to try. Lovely couple were Mr and Mrs Tsim. Go and find them if you are ever in Tamsui and fancy an honest cup of tea.

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Obviously our mouths were not dry, but our bellies were empty. How better to end the day with local teppanyaki from a surgeon / chef! Happy days.

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Tea in the Walled City

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This is the entrance to the Kowloon Walled City. I have heard and read briefly about this place. I heard that during the 1950’s it was neither governed by the Chinese nor the British and so became a lawless haven for triads, brothels and opium dens. Armed with only a bottle of water, I was ready for action.

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Thankfully since the 1990’s much has changed, so there was no need to defend myself with spraying my assailants with tepid water. Infact with huge government backing, residents were re-housed and a serene garden modelled on the Jiangnan gardens of the early Qing Dynasty was built.

Actually, the real reason I came to the park was to sample some of the tea served in the park. For the next 2 months there will be 4 tea stations situated around the park every saturday. All the tea served is either funded by tea enthusiasts or tea shops and the water supplied by the district council. I was told that sometimes very old and exceptional tea was donated. Anyone is allowed to sit on one of the stools and sample as much tea as they want…free of charge!

What a great example of tea giving back to the community. Excellent!

IMG_20130523_172921Here a lady is making some red tea. It was the 4-5th brew and so the best flavour had already been extracted. Still it was interesting to see her brewing technique and chat to some Australian tourists.

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Next it was some green tea, Longjing or Dragon’s Well. Again we arrived too late and all the flavour of this delicate tea had been drunk already. Shame but again its so nice to witness respect amongst strangers. Everytime anyone new who came to the pagoda people shifted around or offered their seat. Its just lovely to see people enjoying and sharing their tea experience courteously.

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Next it was Taiwanese Wu-long (Oolong) tea. This was the best tasting so far, but I might be biased as its one of my favourites. I love the hint of grass and velvety taste. Plus the smell is amazingly divine.

The way this lady made the tea was so elegant and fluid. Not one drop was spilt and the steeping was timed to perfection. I have much to learn in the elegance of making tea.

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Finally it was the Puer tea station supervised by secondary students. I feel that I’m a student to tea appreciation but these are real students who are learning to appreciate tea. They were so polite and respectful. Great to see and imagine how refined their judgement of the will be by the time they get to my ripe age! Its encouraging to see tea and education merging positively.

All in all a fantastic tea day, a real eye opener and its great to be able to appreciate tea in such serene settings. A must visit for any tea enthusiast.

Mr.Man