MAN CHA TEAS

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


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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!

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Pinglin Tea Museum, Taipei

To optimize my time in Taipei and to get as much tea influence as I can, I decided to go to Pinglin to the Tea Museum. I did some vague research the night before and plotted my route. Through my research there seemed to be two ways. I decided on the most direct and simplest from my location. After my initial mishap on the first day, anything was possible.

So all I had to do was go to Xindian station by the efficient MRT and then catch a bus there. Simple enough! When I got there, there was the option of 2 buses that could take me there. Yikes, which one do I take? The dilemma was solved by the tourist info lady and she politely told me that the next bus was in 20 minutes.

Jumping on the bus I had no idea how long it would take. The bus bumped and wind its way through the mountain. Around 30 minutes later I arrived.

Giant teapot

Still not sure where to go I followed my un-directional nose. It led me to a statue, so I went nearer. With closer inspection I discovered she was a tea picker and the blue railing had individual teapots at each intersection.

statue.pinglin

If I were to design railings I would definitely use this same teapot effect. Every teapot was different!

Teapot rail.pinglin

Even the streetlights were in the shape of teapots! I love these surprising details in Taiwan. Always a pleasure to discover.

lamp post

My eyes strayed across the river and there the tea museum was! Many hundreds of people must have gone through the same process of jumping off the bus, seeing the statue and teapots and then finding the tea museum. I felt the tea gods were smiling on me and although well trodden I felt enchanted with my discovery!

Museum.front.pinglin

The tea museum itself was impressive.  The first floor showed the different types of tea in Taiwan and how it was produced. Then downstairs the museum talked more of the history of tea. It took a good hour and half to see it all before I got to the gardens.

Here was where I arrived at the disappointment. Not so much with the garden itself but the neglect. In its heyday the place must have been heaving with people. I could imagine lots of families wandering around. With parents sitting at tables under the trees keeping an eye out as kids run around the many paths. Now the grass and vegetation is a little overgrown, the statues withered and a little sad. I get unhappy when I sense a place in decline and not up kept well.

It made me think about whether this represented the stature of tea and culture as a whole in Taiwan and in the world. Was tea the once trendy thing for everyone to do and now like the museum the young don’t have time or care for. Do they mostly prefer an express cup of coffee with the press of a button, over a soothing cup of tea.

Time to change that! It’s my duty to bring tea back!