MAN CHA TEAS

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

Beipu and my liason with Taiwan’s Oriental Beauty

2 Comments

Next on the agenda was to taste Oriental Beauty Tea and visit Beipu. Beipu is northwest of Taipei and takes about an hour and half on the train and then forty minutes by bus. Luckily Scott was with me and even if I wanted to get lost there was no chance of it 🙂

Beipu Shop

Scott stayed in Beipu for a while so he was very familiar with it and knew many of the locals. We visited the tea shop first and was greeted by the future of oriental Beauty, the owner’s son!

Beipu son

I was shown the actual tea Scott helped to make in 2011. It stands proudly on the shelf and I am not certain money could even buy the tea or the memories.

OB tin

The land on which the tea shop and restaurant sits, takes up one small quarter of the largest residence in Beipu. I am not certain, so correct me if I am wrong, but as far as I know the landowners who now reside elsewhere lent this land to the shop owner on the terms that he would refurbish and take care of it.

Beipu Men

In fact the shop owner did more than that. With some backing from the town council he has made Beipu into a popular tourist destination bringing in a lot of commerce and has elevated Beipu as a centre of Oriental Beauty production. In my eyes he is a hero of the region, but modestly he tells us it is what any one born in Beipu would have done.

Beipu shop 2

The shop owner has also renovated a guest house in which he let us stay at. Scott says he doesn’t let anybody stay there. So I was honoured to be giving the opportunity, otherwise I would have been stumped as there were no other obvious places to stay. People usually visit Beipu just for the day and leave after dinner.

At night I made my first acquaintance with this prestigious Oriental Beauty. Wow! In my eyes Mrs. Man is my only “Oriental Beauty,” but I now understand why other people have named this tea Oriental Beauty.

OB

It smelt flowery with the depth of black tea. The leaves were brittle and long unlike the rolled dong dings and Wulongs we had been drinking. The taste was sweet, honey like and had layers of depth. My vocabulary for tea tastes needs to improve but my words cannot justify the impression it made.

The production of this tea is very special too. It gets it honey taste from the Jaccids biting the tea leaf. The plant defends itself by secreting a specific hormone. The sweet hormone is then released by the oxidation during production. Generally Jaccids come during summer and only the bitten leaves are picked, so harvest is limited. The tea is totally free of pesticides otherwise the insects would not bite the leaves.

To end, another Oriental Beauty has further enriched my passion for tea.

Advertisements


1 Comment

Tea drunk..post again because WordPress is drunk?

The next day I had arranged to meet Scott, whom I met briefly in Hong Kong. Little did I know an Australian would lead me around Taipei to witness the most amazing tea discoveries and prove that there is still life in the old (TEA) lady! In fact she is healthy and still breathing life into the young people of Taiwan.

Scott was a wonderful host. I admire his deep knowledge not just of tea and Taiwan but everything! He jokingly said he was close to genius! I can’t deny that claim for he knows a hell of a lot about a lot and it was a delight to hear his idioms of knowledge.

Scott led me through back streets, nooks and crannies to show me all these tea gems. We met several people from his tea academy talked and drank tea. Went into numerous other tea shops talked and drank more and more tea.

tea drunk

At this point I need to apologize that we drank so much tea that it all became a blur. I had heard of being tea drunk and this was the first time I had experienced it! Burrp!

What I do remember through photo evidence was that young people were still into tea and tea ware. In one shop I admired the tea plate the shop owner had. It is common in Taiwan for people to have these plates to look, smell and admire the tea before they sweep it into their teapot.

Tea Palate

I later found out that the young man sitting next to us was actually the craftsman who made it! I was so happy to see his passion for tea ware and hopefully more people like him can keep these traditions going. It’s like a family recipe of your favourite dish. If the knowledge is not passed on then it will sadly be forever lost.

tea designer

Long live tea and tea culture!

ps MASSIVE thanks to my pal Scott too!