MAN CHA TEAS

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

Beipu and my liason with Taiwan’s Oriental Beauty

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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.


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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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