Monday, December 28, 2009

Tea Mountain Love Song (Hakka Tea Song)

Back on September/2005, I was invited to Big Island, Hawaii for the Mealani Tea Conference. There were so many tea enthusiasts meeting there to learn with passion to develop their new tea business in Big Island's west coast at Hilo side, while at the east coast of the island has enjoyed a great success of Kona Coffee. On my way back to Los Angeles, looked out from the plane just took off from Hilo airport to Honululu...I made a wish to hope in a few years, there will be successfully planted and very beautiful tea gardens there...and I humming this song happily....
It is a "Tea Mountain Love Song" originally from Guizhou, China. I use Hakka Taiwanese to change the lyrics and dedicate this song to my friends in Big Island, Hawaii.


I thought about it and I whisper to myself:
Hawaii will soon to have the beautiful tea gardens...
There will be many beautiful young girls plucking the tea leaves in the tea gardens...
Maybe there will be many great love stories on going...

茶山情歌 (用 中國貴州「 茶山情歌」)

捱惦惦介想啊 輕輕介問

Hawaii 有啊冇 恁樣介茶園
茶園肚 有啊冇 採茶介細妹
細妹肚 有啊冇 捱中意介人

(獻給 Hawaii Tea Society)

Gaoshancha in Taiwan (Mandarin Tea Song)

Incredibly, there are more than 150 mountains over 3000 meters high in Taiwan!
I remember at our Taiwan's Geography class in elementary school, our teacher told us with a little bit sadness, 1/3 of Taiwan is covered with high mountains, and 1/3 is hills and terrrace, so it limits our agriculture industry...who will imagine, after a few decades, we will tell our kids that Taiwan is so lucky to have so many remarkable high mountains and the huge Central Mountain Range is truly a big jewel of Taiwan.
Used to be "Tung Ting Oolong" signs posted every where in Taiwan's retails districts...but thing changed...There are many new tea estates have been developed in higher mountains over 1000 meters high since early 80's. These teas earn their fans, especially from the domestic market. Gaoshan Cha are jokingly set prices by the height of the tea garden located. Naturally, the leaf plucked from the Gaoshan tea gardens can be made into all sorts of teas...however, due to the market driven, almost all Goashan Cha in Taiwan are Jade Oolongs and the most popular cultivars are Chinsin, Ginsuan, Tsui-Yu, and Evergreen. Farmers invest all sorts of advanced equipments to handle the solar/indoor withering and oxidation to overcome the disadvantage of shorter sunshine, changing weather and limited flat land on the high altitude.

I have selected this popular aboriginal old song in Mardarin Taiwanese, to praise for Gaoshan Cha, with a sincere wish, which might be shared anong many Gaoshan tea lovers --
Please keep our mountains green and rivers clean,
while we can continue to enjoy wonderful, wonderful Taiwan Gaoshan Oolongs.
Taiwan Gaoshan Cha
Taiwan is indeed a paradise!
There are so many remarkable high mountains and big rivers…

Alishan’s Tsui-Yu Oolong is rolled like green pearl,
and Shan-Lin-Si’s Evergreen Oolong is just super.
There are plenty Ginsuan Oolong grown in Meishan,
and Chinsin Oolong tops the Lishan mountain.

We sincerely hope our farmers can preserve these great cultivars
and also make sure to keep our mountains green and river clean!
Salute! Taiwan Gaoshan Oolongs.
You are truly green gold!

高山茶頌 (用 台灣邵族「高山青」)

高山青 澗水藍
阿里山的翠玉 圓又圓 啊
杉林溪的四季春 沒得比 哟

啊 ---啊 --- 啊--- --- 啊---
啊 ---啊 --- 啊--- --- 啊---

梅山的金萱 梨山的青心
台灣的高山 高又多.....

品種要保存 水土要維護
高山的烏龍茶 寶----中----寶

Monday, December 21, 2009

Classic Tung Ting Oolong (Holo Tea Song)

Hence Mr. Feng-Chi Lin brought the Chinsin Oolong bushes to be planted on the Tungting Mountain in Lugu back in 1855, we are so lucky to be able to enjoy TungTing Oolong.
In 1976, the first Tea Contest organized by Lugu Farmers’ Association did enrich the craftsmanship of TungTing tea’s growing and manufacturing.
The solar wither, indoor wither and oxidation control is typically Pouchong technique, however, the skillful canvas wrapped rolling and lightly baking to stabilize its aroma and taste, makes Tung Ting Oolong so outstanding.
Sip by sip, cup after cup, fine Tung Ting seems never enough for the market.

凍頂烏龍頌 Holo Taiwanese (台灣“農村曲”)

鹿谷凍頂山 青心烏龍湠
比賽眾人來 工夫磨真利
日頭晒啊晒 生葉走水香

急火炒 布球用力揉啊揉
凍頂烏龍茶 滋味”好特別”
一杯又一杯 好茶是 不 夠 賣

Great Gift for Business!

Kingbright USA is celebrating its 20th Anniversary, the owner Mr. Wen Sung asked us to come up an idea for the event to present to their customers and frineds.
This is what we have worked out for the idea...personal Cupping Set, with their logos and messages printed on the Aroma cup and Sipping Cup, and a carry bag for traveling.
The white porcelain cups set are made in Taiwan just to be shipped in time for their Christmas Party on 12/19/2009. We have written up an insert for the Cupping set.

When tea is ready to serve, pour tea into the tall aroma cup., then convert the tea from the aroma cup into the sipping cup. Once the aroma cup is empty, carefully (it can be hot depending on how hot you steep your tea) bring it close to your nose to enjoy the aroma of the tea. Technically, you will use both hands to roll the aroma cup to evoke the aroma that traced in the empty cup. After the aroma appreciation, then you will drink from the sipping cup. Sip the tea and appreciate the taste and the finish of the tea. When come to fine teas, especially Oolong, the aroma is very critical, and tea lovers will treasure aroma in tea as well as its taste.

The tall, narrow shape of the aroma cup provides a large amount of surface area for the aromatic tea compounds to adhere to, so the aroma of the tea liquor becomes much more apparent in an aroma cup. How long has Aroma cup been used in tea drinking might be an interesting story. Many tea pros admit that Aroma cups are indeed a depriving concept from wine tasting. For what it's worth, maybe this set can be used for wine tasting, too. Fine teas and great wines are equally enjoyable!

Applauses to Taiwan Tea Industry (Hakka tea song)

My deepest respect and appreciation to my fellow Specialist, Researchers, Tea Masters and Tea Farmers... in their meticulous and diligent devotion to Taiwan Tea.
I was born in a Taiwan tea family. I was brought up in a tea factory. Over the years, I have seen my father, my brothers and many many more Taiwan tea farmers, tea makers, tea merchants have been working so hard together to try to adapt themselves through different eras of historical changes. There is an important Association, TTMA, has guided all makers all along, and there are Tea merchants Association, Tea Exporters Association for helping out the Domestic sells and Export business. We are proud that there are so many researchers and engineers in TRES are helping the industry to move on. Everytime, when I have my Taiwan Oolong workshop, I remind myself, a million thanks to all these tea professionals in Taiwan for a wonderful cup of tea they have contributed. I dedicated this tea song (in Hakka Taiwanese) to my fellow Taiwan tea men. (*of ocourse, there is not gender limited...)
Applause to my fellow Taiwan tea men
Oh! Oolong Teas, my beloved Oolong Teas!
Taiwan produces several kinds of fine Oolong Teas.
Pouchong has such a pure and clean taste, yet with luscious aroma,
Gaoshan Oolong is extremely charming, just like morning mountain dew,
Oriental Beauty’s natural honey touch and fruity taste leaves no comparison.
With research and development of excellent cultivars for better plantation,
continuous improvement of the equipment and tea processing techniques,
my fellow Taiwan tea men’s efforts truly deserve a big applause.
Over the years, we have seen Taiwan Oolongs earn their fans from
around the World and I tip my hat off to these tea pros in Taiwan!

台灣茶人頌 (用Hakka 改編 黃令先「台灣介心靈日」)

烏龍茶 烏龍茶 台灣特色烏龍茶
包種清 高山醇 東方美人韻味佳
品種改良 作工出眾 茶人用心值得誇
世 界 茶葉舞台 台灣茶展風采

Friday, December 18, 2009

The classic Taiwan Tie-Guan-Yin

Tie-Guan-Yin has an interesting story, that shows how "market driven" has changed tea's production.
In Taiwan, you still find Tie-Guan-Yin with heavier oxidation and baking. The semi-ball shape appears to be larger in size. Not all Tie-Guan-Yin in Taiwan is made of the leaf that plucked from Tie-Guan-Yin cultivars. Usually, tea farmers will select certain tea cultivars, such as: Buddha Palms, Yinjeehonsin Oolong, Ginsuan...besides the genuine TieGuanYin bushes, as long as they are suitable for heavy-rolling and baking to enhance the flavor and taste. Tea pros will definitely avoid Chinsin Oolong or certain tea plants.
On the contrary, nowadays in the origin of Tie-Guan-Yin, Fujien Anxi in China, you often get Tie-Guan-Yin in tiny semi-ball with a lot more greenish finished, which is similar to average Taiwan Gaoshancha. During the last two decades, Taiwan's Jade Oolong has earned its popularity all over the World, including China. Many Chinese tea makers are adjusting to produce their own Jade Oolong as close as Taiwan's version to meet the strong demand. Many will grow the new tea bushes they got from Taiwan (we are not sure HOW?) but also many will use the tea leaves from their current Tie-Guan-Yin tea gardens. Well, not to be surprised that sometimes you get served with a cup of Green Tie-Guan-Yin, and you simply cannot swallow it... Nothing wrong with the tea, just an old wisdom: You can use any leaf to make any kind of tea. However, you have to study the right cultivar and its integrity, use the right leaf and follow the right procedure to make good tea. Tea making is actually a high disciplined practice.
I like to share with you how a classic Tie-Guan-Yin is processed in Taiwan.
I change the Lyrics of a popular Hakka Taiwanese riddle, with new lyrics to describe it:
Tie-Guan-Yin, what a unique name for a tea!
Iron Buddha of Mercy, Goddess Tea...with all sorts of legends.
In 1896, Mr. Chang Nai-Miao brought the first bush from Anxi, China to Muja, Taiwan., together with the craftsmanship from its hometown.
Since then, Taiwan lauched its own Tie-Guan-Yin production.
Just like other Oolong teas: solar withering, indoor withering...
but with heavier oxidation before rolling repeatedly wrapped in canvas cloth till the leaves are semi-ball shaped...
Place the leaves in a bamboo basket and skillfully bake with selected charcoals...
in pursuit of the amazing aroma and its lingering finish.
We are proud to present to you this classic Taiwan Tie-Guan-Yin, and share its legendary story.
鐵觀音 (用 謝宇威 改編 客家唸謠 「月光光」)

鐵觀音 盡傳神
佇台灣 生了根
布球包 揉成型
竹籠裝 炭火炡
焙出 陣陣 茶葉香
入喉 轉甘 韻味長

好茶 拿 來 請 人 飲

讚歎 台 灣 鐵 觀 音

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Bravo! Bunsan Pouchong (Holo Tea Song)

鄧雨賢 is one of the most famous Taiwan composers. I have picked one of his popular piece: 四季紅 to have the new lyrics to desccribe Bunsan Pouchong. This was done just in time for the Annual Meeting of TUF on 12/12/2009 at San Gabriel Hilton.

Bravo! Bunsan Pouchong

Oh! Pouchong Tea, your luscious fragrance enchants me.
Best Pouchong produced in Taiwan’s Bunsan,
and you are World famous!
Step by step, Pouchong is processed with unique craftsmanship.
Fluffing lightly with patience till the leaf is
properly withered and oxidized.
The whole village is filled with heavenly aroma
while Pouchong is fired.
Sip by sip, I am amazed with your pure and clean taste,
and then you leave a lingering sweet finish…
Oh! Bunsan Pouchong, you are simply the best!

(sing in Holo Taiwanese)
包種頌 (四季紅/作曲:鄧雨賢)

包種茶 正清香 乎人聞著會輕鬆
台灣文山e特產 名聲響啊真響
照起工 輕輕手來浪
葉邊紅 著花香
包種 氣味 真 迷 人

Click on this youtube film by TeaGuy at 2011 World Tea Expo

Monday, November 23, 2009

TAO Tea Workshop @UCI (11/19/2009)

TAO, Taiwanese American Organization, a new student organization in UC Irvine, with a bunch of dedicated members and great leadership, they are growing strong. When Amy Lee invited us to have a Tea Workshop in their campus... we immeddiately accept the honor and set for the date right after our trip back from Taiwan. On the evening of 11/19/2009, the workshop turned out really well... Amy and her team deserve a big hands.
Special thanks to the four volunteers that joined us hands on brewing:
(From the right to left)
David (with Aged Oolong),
Yuko (with Oriental Beauty),
Jonathan (with Jade Oolong)
Joyce (with Pouchong)

By the way, we appreciate several good frineds from the neighborhoods showed up to support this event.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Taiwan Oolongs Workshop in Budapest (9/19/2009)

This is my first tea workshop in Europe!
"Better Lucky than Good" - I think so. I am just so lucky to have all these good friends to help me out. Then I have the best partner to travel together. Josephine and I arrived Budapest on the 9/15 evening. We were treated like King and Queen since our landing, and "Here we are ! Budapest and the Danube River!"

We know we have plenty time to enjoy walking around the beautiful Budapest. Our mission to here is still the first priority. So we did check out the venue for our event the second day after our small city tour around the famous Vaci Street and both ends of Chain Bridge. We met our hosts and working team: Robert, Oliver, Carol and the restaurant's manager for certain details of set-up and agenda... Again, we are lucky to have these people here in town to work with. We were told that RSVP shows a great response and expecting a house-packed activity...I know my high school pal, Stanley, Taiwan's Rep in Hungary, the honorable Ambassador Kao, well enough to rest assured for all the details. Indeed, all I need, just show up there to present it.

Interesting enough, I was told that no much tea experience, especially Taiwan Oolong in Budapest. However, right on the morning of 9/19, we encountered two young ladies who were having their Tea Serving and display on the back yard of East Asia Museum...while Josephine and I visited that garden...they were serving: Taiwan's Tung-Ting Oolong....(please see the story on our posting: )

I took this surprising incident as a special message that I should be Very Humble to all my Hungarian audience...(which I should always on....)

All the guests are VIP to us, their participation is what this event for. Josephine and I both agreed that we got the honor to meet with first class audience on that evening. The slide show herewith will be great memory for two of us. It will be also great that you can tag your name for us when you see yourself in those photos.

We are grateful to the three organizations who are sponsoring together for this tea event:
Hungary-Taiwan Amity Association (HUTAA)
Hungarian Friendship Club of Taiwan’s ICDF
Taiwanese Chamber of Commerce in Hungary

In addition, I must specially thank the four volunteers who helped me to accomplish my workshop smoothly. Facing the audience, from left to right, they are:

Amb. Adam TERTÁk
Reprentative, Hungarian Trade Office in Taipei
(brewing: Aged Oolong)

Head of R&D Office, Hungarian Academy of Sciences,
Research Institute for Technical Physics and Materials Science
(brewing: Oriental Beauty)

Dr. Mihály SIPOS
Senior Counsellor, Department of Knowledge Based Economy, Ministry of National Development and Economy / Chairman, Hungarian Friendship Club of the Taiwan’s ICDF
(brewing: Alishan Oolong)

Mr. Nobert LABUNDY
Journalist, Diplomata Magazine
(brewing: Wenshan Pouchong)

Together, we've completed a journey of enjoying fine Taiwan Oolongs:
1. History of Taiwan Tea
2. Meet with the World’s most unique Oriental Beauty !
3. Formosa Pouchong: luscious aroma seized before its taste.
4. Why these tea gardens moved up to high mountains in Taiwan?
5. How smart Taiwan tea masters create new Aged Oolongs!
6. Hands on brewing and sipping fine Taiwan Oolongs

Again, this is my first experience in Europe. I love it!
Hoping we just don't get spoiled. Maybe some time, some other cities, soon.....!

(About this restaurant...)
After our trip back, our friend, Dr. Mihaly Sipos shares with me the following story about this restaurant:
...By the way: how did you enjoy the design of the restaurant Nimrod? I think it is very funny: a taiwanese food restaurant with hungarian pictures o the walls. The name of the restaurant is coming from he Hungarian mythology: Nimrod was a kind of god of hunters and in the same time one of forefathers of our nation. Because he was a great hunter even today we use his name for naming some hunters' associations or as a restaurant's name where game dish is served.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Visit Wang's Tea in Taipei (7/6/2009)

This is the last day of our stay in Taipei. Our members for "2009 Taiwan Oolongs Study Tour" have all returned to the States and Canad safely...Before we were leaving for Taoyuan Airport on 7/6/2009, we got time to do one more visit, I decided to take Josephine to walk in the famours Wang's Tea in the old tea district. Mr. and Mr.s Wang are very friendly and they are happy that their second generation enjoy taking care of this family tea business. While I was chatting with Mr. Wang, JP was accompanied by Mrs. Wang to tour around the tea shop, working room, exhibition room and the second floor, with conference facility and small stage for various culture activities...Josephine's first visit and she is very very impressed... I am glad that Mr. Wang did turn the old tea factory to become a new interesting site for many local and foreign visitors to learn aobut Taipei's tea history from their display and exhibition, and can comfortably sip fine Taiwan oolongs here... This is another successful experience of Culture Economy.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Visit U Zeleneho Cafe in Prague (9/21/2009)

9/21/2009 - Spending a day at the Castle District seems to be a good idea..... And we just cannot believe what's in front of our eyes......amazingly colorful.....No wonder people in Czech say Prague is the Golden City. Josephine stops at almost every souvenir shop along the street of Nerudova...can't really blame her. Every shop fits in different building with individual "theme" marked on the wall, and each of them features something special..."House of Three Violins", "House of Red Lobster", "House of Golden Key"....and the doors, the decors, the displays...keeps me very busy in looking around.

Then, the sign of U Zeleneho Cafe, "At the Green Tea" - pops into my eyes... The owner later tells us that this is one of the oldest and original Prague's tea room.

I order Matcha, JP has Earl Grey...we again, get the consent of the waitress to take photos of this tea room for our European tea adventure.

I warmly recommend this tea room/cafe to everyone who will be visiting Prague's Castle district.. I promise to post our photos on facebook. This young lady at the tea room also agrees visit this blog and gives us her comments.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Visit Dobra' Kajovna tea room in Prague (9/20/2009)

On a sunny Sunday afternoon, after more than 7 hours' train ride, we finally arrived Prague, Czech.
Here we are in Prague, How exciting!
Our hotel is truly good bargain that Josephine has digged from internet - Hotel Prague right up on the hill with great city view. From the pictures they display, we learn that we are staying a place that many celebrities and royal families used to stay during their visit to Prague.
We decided not to waste time and went right ahead to visit the Old Town of Prague.
Following the moving crowds (hard to imagine how many tourists are visiting Prague?) in Old Town Square, we walked around the city just like a moving stream. It is so different from what we had seen in Budapest...seems much more colorful...and the buildings here have more styles. Josephine's Nikon camera works very hard the whole time...

Just on the way we walked over to National Museum...we found a sign, and it leads us to walk in a small court yard...and, here we discovered this tea room totally out of our expectation. We asked for the permission to take photos, and those girls who are enjoying their afternoon teas are smiling at JP's camera. A few photos for your review.

There is an brief introduction about this tea room:
Dobra Cajovna is one of a number of tea houses throughout the Czech Republic run under the Good T Room franchise. Good T Room would like to spread its authentic tea culture, contained in the tastes and aromas of all manner of fine teas, beyond the frontiers of its homeland. This audacious idea is founded on experience tried and tested by years of work in a network of brand-name tea-rooms; to date there are already eighteen.
Dobra Cajovna in central Prague was one of the first popular tea houses...

Here is the web site for this franchise:

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

No Car Day in Budapest (9/19/2009)

We are so lucky to bump into two "No Car Day Celebrations" in Central Europe during our recent travel. On 9/19 in Budapest/Hungary and on 9/20 in Prague/Czech. We will like to share with you what we have eyewitnessed and enjoyed together with our Hungarian friends on that Sunny Saturday morning in September.
This is such a meaningful event for every family in the City to come outdoor to relax. Many creative Green ideas are on displays, many games are set for the children to play. We have seen so many smiling faces every where. It is truly informative, very educational and yet with a lot of fun.
Please review every photo might find out some ideas that we can learn from our European friends! Josephine and I have thought day there might be another Calfiornia City will have a different "Green Parade" that will compete with the "Rose Parade in Pasadena" with the whole community actually involving in making our environment Greener!

Encounter Taiwan Oolong in Budapest (9/19/2009)

During our recent trip to Budapest, Hungary, surprisingly, we encountered Taiwan Oolongs in the back yard of East Asia Museum. It was a sunny morning on 9/19/2009, Josephine and I were walking around the city of Budapest. We were attracted by all those beautiful buildings...All of a sudden, a beautiful Hungarian lady at the entrance of the East Asia Museum told us there's a tea display and free tea serving in the back we were very curious to find out...
Klaudia and her sister, two beautiful young ladies were using Guywan to make Taiwan Tung-Ting Oolong... where is the tea from? Can you imagine the tea we just sipped might travel a long journey before it was transported from Moscow to Budapest? I sipped the tea and thought how amazing..."Josephine and I will have our first Taiwan Tea Workshop this evening in town, and now we are here meeting some tea enthusiasts who are promoting Taiwan Oolongs..."
How could we not be humble when we share our teas?
Salute to Klaudia and her sister.
visit their web site: (綠茶亭)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Help your tea bushes over the cold winter...

This is an interesting topic...I don't know how many people have tea plants at home here in the North America. Read through the exchanged emails... you might find for yourself an useful suggestion to take care of your tea bushes to pass through a cold winter. The following emails correspondences were granted to be shared with all. (Thomas Shu 9/9/2009)

do you have any suggestions how to get them the tea bushes thru my winter....not in greenhouse. paula

Hello Paula:
It is out of my knowledge and experience...
I will cc this email to my friend, Richard.
(He might be able to share his expertise with you.)
Hello Richard:
Any suggestion to Paula about her question? Thomas
thank you, I have some thoughts but would like to get more advice. My plants are just beginning to bloom my first time to see a flower! paula
what cultivar you're having? where did you get those plants?
do you know how to make more plants from what you have?
Richard has his own tea plantation in Washington States...
I got these from a camellia forest farm in Ohio I believe. No, I don't know though I work with farmers who might. These are not strong enough to cut on yet. There are lots of flower buds and that is a good sign, but they did not grow much this year...first year. Did not expect them to grown much...I always consider the plant should sit while the roots are growing and wait for more expanse the next year. Patience! There are seed pods about to break open too. There were 3 dif ones...I will have to go look and maybe there is still a tag: Camellia sinensis v sin. small leaf, C. sinensis China, a tag was missing but it is going to have pink tinged flowers. So probably nothing too exciting on what cultivar these are...I have seen some of the coding on! That's all I know. I jsut want to get them through the winter the best I can. I planted them in this spot with that in mind. paula
Dear Paula,
I’m not sure where you are located but here in Washington State we had December temperatures down to minus 5 degrees F, which is about 10 degrees below our normal lows. We have some 8 varietals in our 5 acre plot, in which 3 or 4 of them suffered severe damage and I’ll probably remove them. The surviving varieties suffered mainly around the perimeter where they were exposed to the open air.
Selected for their cold hardiness for survival in our location, our tea plants have been through a long laborious selection process that has gone on for some 20+ years. It has only been in the last few years that I have been working on the processing aspect of our tea project.
I would suggest protecting the plants from freezing wind by constructing a wind break or planting shrubs or trees that could do the same thing.
You can Google “row covers” and look up many options for using and purchasing crop protection materials similar to the links below.,default,pg.html
Another piece of advice would be to limit harvesting or pruning in the fall in order to allow the tea plant to work into dormancy. Cutting has a way of invigorating a plant to continue growth instead of preparing for the winter. The exact timing of this is difficult to define; I am still working on understanding the limits of our plants.
I hope this is helpful, feel free to email any other questions.
Richard Sakuma
Thank you Richard...I have seen how folks on the East protect their boxwoods and camellias bushes...tall wooden stakes, burlap around that with space enough to put dry autumn leaves in there after freezing just to keep out the rodents. someone said they had seen folks mound up soil as high up on the main trunk as possible...we worry here in Kansas City, Mo., about the freezing and thawing action that occurs over and over.
It can be brutal here with that weather condition. I had also selected these for their cold hardiness, but its the freezing and thawing that kills here. I did not do any cutting from my 3 plants this year. Perennials just need time to set roots. I don't worry about the tops until next year. The fact that they are covered in buds I hope is a good sign that the roots did grow and flourish. Are you thinking of eventually harvesting tea? or just selling the bushes to passionate tea people to have fun with?
I thank you very much for taking your time to write what you know. We had an extremely mild summer with only one 1/2 wks of equatorial summer. Maybe I can keep you posted on how we are doing here next spring. paula winchester it is fun to enter in...
Contributed by my good friends:
Paula Winchester, owner of "Twelve Winds Tea Company", Kansas City, MO
Richard Sakuma, owner of "Sakuma Brothers Inc.", burlington, WA

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Visit Master Wang for Pouchong Wrapping (6/29/2009)

After our 2nd Taiwan Oolongs Study Tour program, on 6/29/2009 afternoon Josephine and I decided to visit Master Wang for a demonstration of Pouchong's Paper Wrapping. He is such a nice gentleman, both he and his son, Wonderful (this is his English name for Wang Der Hou) treated us several runs of their aged Pouchong, Wu Yi and Tie Guan Yin...traditonal charcoal baked with skillful craftmanship. Here is the video, and a seiers of photos of Mr. Wang's demonstration:

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Interesting shots...

My previous post of the little tea master did receive a few interests from our tea lovers.
Here are some more to share...Only be there during the indoor withering of Taiwan Oolongs...
you can truly appreciate the natural frangrance created with the leaves' constantly withering.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Pictures say it all...

On 7/3/2009, Josephine and I traveled down to southern Taiwan to visit a couple who's working on Organic tea plantation. (It is a remarkable story about this couple - Big Elephant, Mr. and Mrs. Yang, we took a lot of pictures on their "future" tea gardens...and hard to believe that we were simply 3 month late to eyewitness their USDA Certified Organic Tea plantation. We will take our time to re-arange the photos and work on a details report on this couple.)
On the way back to Taipei, we stopped by the house of Mr. Liu (father of Mrs. Yang, also a passionate tea farmer moved down from Lugu, Nantou County to live at Pingtung) to have teas. We saw two photos hanged on the wall, which indeed are very interesting. Jospehine and I both agreed that these two pictures are telling a great story...
Who will feel comfortable to let a 20 Month old boy to hands on playing with the fresh plucked tea leaves, if these tea leaves were not organically grown?
Grandpa was leading his grandson to smell the leaf's fragrance during the indoor comes another new Tea Master! (Look how seriously he is...)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Mini Tea Tour at Taipei (7/4/2009)

Glad to meet my classmates and their family & friends on 7/4/2009 at Taipei.
We did walk around Taipei's old business district - from the Da-Tao-Cheng Harbor, to the first Taipei street for Traders - Guede Street; Along the Taipei's first Wholesalers' street - Dihua Street; and then passed by Taipei's first Retails/Jewelries/Entertainments Street - Yenpin N. Road...there are many tea shops still remain in tea business, but a lot more were converted to many other industries and contribute Taiwan's economic development. Boys...that was a hot sunny day to walk around...
There are some photos taken at Ning Sia Road. My sister Susan is very glad to meet all our classmates there...(Try to test yourself to identify who's who...)
Thanks to Amy Chen (Lao-Chien's wife) bring us delicious sweeties and David Chen's treating us a great lunch at Tai-Chun.
We were told that Chen Linlung might got some great Hotel coupons for certain resorts...It will be great to take advantage of the coupon prices. (Our recent Taiwan Oolongs Study Tour has visited Hua-Tung area and we enjoy the Eastern Taiwan so much!)
Thomas 7/14/2009

Monday, June 15, 2009

2006 ITASA West @ UCLA (4/7/2006)

This is the first time I was invited to ITASA's conference. No clue what and how to work with these college students. I decided to have fun with them, so I even show off my Tea Rap! Apparently, tea is a good media to introduce Taiwan's history and culture. Our Taiwan Tea Workshop is getting popular, and lead me to 2007 ITASA West at Stanford, 2009 ITASA East at Duke.

This is the tea rap on Youtube...I bet I can do a much better job now, after so many years' practice. (Thomas 6/15/2009)

Tea Time @ Little Tokyo with TAP/NATWA2/NATMA2 (2/23/2008)

Our good friend, TsuAnn Kuo coordinated with 3 young groups: TAP, NATWA2 and NATMA2 from Taiwanese American community in metro Los Angeles, to co-sponsor this event: Tea Time! It was set at the beautiful Japanese American National Museum in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles, on 2/23/2008.
I don't know how these youngsters handle their invitation...We sure have a full house that day. (Many young medical doctors, young business professionals, and outstanding leaders.) Thanks to our two good helpers, owners of Beard Papa, Daishing and Eric, to demo and serve the freshly brewed Iced Earl Grey addition to the 4 Taiwan Oolongs. Josephine lead the crowd together to chant for "Taiwan Oolongs" at the end. Boy, we all enjoyed very much for the gathering!
(*I totally forgot to post this one earlier...Last night, while TsuAnn came back from Taiwan to receive her Award from triggered me that I definitely should post this one on the blog. Please enjoy the slideshow sent in by Ben Lin from TAP. (Thomas 6/15/2009)

Tea Talk at CSULB (9/20/2005)

I found the photos of this event.
Professor Lee taught Asian Culture at Cal Sate University of Long Beach and he thought it will be important to include the tea culture in his program. So we were there on one afternoon to share our Tea-One Tasting Class at this beautiful campus.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Encounter with the outstanding Pouchong 60438

Pouchong 60438 is made by a farmer from Pinglin, Taiwan, where the elevation is about 2,100 ft high. Chin Sin cultivar, hand plucked, and approximately 12% oxidized, Pouchong 60438 is produced on April 20, 2009. Luscious floral aroma and full fragrance in the cup. Very soothing and pleasant. The tea farmer, Mr. Wang, could only spare 5 lbs of this tea to me. After few rounds of tastings with our good friends, there are only 11 tins/2 oz sealed tins available. (Thomas 6/12/2009)

For bigger pictures, click on the photos to review.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Culture Exhibition @ Museum X, Pomona, CA (5/30/2009)

It is a great honor to particpate the opening ceremony for the Overseas Culture Exhibition at Musium X in city of Pomona, California. This is a touring exhibition of fine arts and crafts by many artists who are from Taiwan, Japan, Canada and United States. The person in charge, Mrs. Sheow-Hwey Chang is a member of our First Taiwan Oolong Study Tour, and who invited us to have a tea tasting class at St. Louis back on April 2008. We admired her hard efforts to make this exhibition indeed so successful. When she called Josephine about having Taiwan Oolongs Tasting during the opening ceremony...we simply can't say NO. We are glad TUF and Hakka Elite Foundation are both key sponsors for this event. Most of all, the owner of Museum X, Mr. and Mrs. Echo Lew, are very generous to offer the brand new facility for this event. Echo himself is a famous artist and we are so glad to see his passion and generous idea to bring this new attraction for our coomunity! On the great afternoon of 5/30/2009, we have seen so many friends there at the Opening Celebration, including the Mayor of Pomona and severa mayors from neighboring cities.
Way to go ! Sheow-Hwey and Nami !

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Concert at Broad Stage (5/21/2009)

Taiwanese United Fund has sponsored a performance by the renowned Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra on 5/21/2009 at the brand new concert hall, The Eli and Edythe Broad Stage, Santa Monica, California. The evening is featuring composer Gordon Chin's Romance for Cello and Orchestra. Mr. Heiichiro Ohyama is the conductor and Mr. Felix Fan is the cellist. Details can be seen on the following link:
ABC TEA is one of the CHAMPION sponsor for this event, and we are invited to offer Taiwan Teas Sampling during the VIP reception.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Pouchong's legend: Paper Wrapping Demo

Last week, my brother Jackson told me that he is going to visit Mr. Wang (王國來), a senior teaman lives in Taiepi old town, to ask for a demostration of Pouchong's Paper Wrapping. I was thrilled for this good news...and I begged Jackson to take photos, so we can share this Taiwan tea legend with our friends.
Here they are...Thank you, master Wang and master Huang.
As we all know, Pouchong (Bauzhong), literally means Wrap Varietal. But why so?
Historically, tea lovers were willing to pay for the frangrance in this tea prior to its taste. However, Pouchong tends to lose its freshness and natural aroma very fast...Tea merchants then figuered if they used Paper to wrap every 4 Taiwan Ounces in a package instead of selling Pouchong in open barrels or cases...
With today's packing and storing technique, we can easily overcome the problems, pack and seal the freshness and fragrance fairly well. Back in old days, that is not the case, though. Can you imagine how many people in Taipei were used to busy Paper Wrapping fine Pouchongs during and after each season ?
I encourage you to follow the photos, step by step, practice your own Paper Wrapping skill. Who knows, maybe there will be an innovative contest some in USA, at the tea trade shows or culture events.
(Thomas Shu 5/27/2009)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Afternoon tea at San Jose by NATWA-NC (7/12/2008)

NATWA-NC knew ahead of time about our business trip to San Francisco in July/2008, the board had then planned an Afternoon Tea Party on 7/12/2008 at San Jose.
Not that many members showed up, but boy, these ladies truly knowed how to decorate the display. Beautiful flowers arrangements and very nice table setup... Instead of having the volunteers come up to the front table, we decided to have each group with one volunteer to hands on brewing within the group right at their tables. The Q&A session is marvelous...Taiwan Oolongs' finish might evoke their home-sick...I hope some days they will follow my tea map to trek fine Oolongs from one mountain to another on their mother land!
My gratitude to Mrs. Yamei Lee. She did the coordination of this event within such a short period of time.

Seniors' Tea Party at NY Taiwan Center (4/29/2007)

A Hakka friend, Mr. Jipu Peng chaired the Seniors Club at Taiwan Center, Flushing, NY during the year of 2007. He knew we're doing tea presentation at Manhattan over the weekend, so he tried very hard to gather a bunch of tea lovers to have a tea party at Taiwan Center on a sunny afternoon 4/29/2009. Many Hakka friends from my home town also came and help...they did prepare many delicious snacks to go with the Taiwan Oolongs we were serving.
Great tea, great people, great fun !

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Mealani Tea Conference (9/10/2005)

The first Hawaii Tea Conference at Mealani Research Station on Big Island was held on September 9 and 10, 2005. I was honorably invited by Mr. Sato of Hawaii University to participate this conference to offer two presentations, one on the US Tea Trend, one on the Introduction of Taiwan Oolongs. It was indeed a good experience to see how our friends there passionately initiating and tried to devleop new tea plantation and tea industry on the Big Island. On my flight back to Los Angeles, I did write a Tea Mountain Love Song to wish our Hawaiian friends a lot of luck!

Afternoon tea at Huntington Beach (6/17/2006)

Mr. Ted Anderson, a good friend of ours, invited us to have a Afternoon Tea Party at the Huntington Beach Presbyterian Church on 6/17/2006. The style might be very different from high tea they used to have, but they seem to enjoy a great afternoon!

Taiwan teas Tasting at Washington DC (10/08/2006)

Josephine and I were at DC for the WTC conference on October 2006. A bunch of Hakka friends there, Fenying, Meiling and associates extended their great hospitality to us and invited us to have a Taiwan teas tasting over the weekend. Our good friend, Dr. Lee and his lovely wife, Lynn also drove all the way from Philadelphia to join us at the tea party.

Tea Time at San Fernando Valley (11/18/2006)

Taiwanese American at San Fernando Valley invited me to offer a tea tasting session during their Thanksgiving gathering on 11/18/2006. We did taste 7 specialty teas from Taiwan together...

Tracing back with my childhood memory...

The following photos were taken on 3/23/2008 while I traveled back to my home town, Guansi, Hsinchu, the place I was born.
Formosa Black Tea Co., Ltd. locates right next to my old house parted merely by a tiny alley. Salute to the owner, Mr. Lou and his family - their hearts and efforts to keep this old tea plant and turn it into a very well designed and displayed tea culture center - the wooden-built warehouse, tea making machines and historical artifacts that have been kept intact till this day. There are many relevant historical literature and pictorial materials that sentimentally fresh up many good memories for the Taiwan tea pros and also a part of life stories for those growing up in Guansi including myself.
I took these precious photos that witnessed the glorious history of Taiwan tea's exports. In old days, we used to brush the Shipping Marks and Destination on wooden cases of tea, with or without jute bags wrapping over. These plates show more than 80 ports all over the five continents of the world, including the European and American markets, Japan, north of China and even to Kenya and Ethiopia of Africa.
Thanks again, Mr. Lou.

I will like to quote some of Mr. Lou's tea wisdom:
As we know, tea culture has many aspects of characteristics;
it is the best commercial commodity in the world as suggested
by a former NHK chairman, because it is good for the body and
mind at the same time; it's also a good sport drinking, good
alternative medicine; it's good for adjusting your EQ status,
also good for conversation and for building up of consensus
for the harmony of a society. To me, it's good pace adjuster
for my daily life; a short tea break can change or adjust the
tempo or rhythm of you daily life to fit your body and
mind.,etc, & etc,

Tea tasting and brewing is an art of expertise. You need
experience and expertise to
prepare yourself well enough to
get it whenever available. The conventional wisdom

tell us that you can encounter it but you cannot seek for it,
no matter how long time you
spent for it.
Japanese tea expert used to call leaf tea a 'kitsune ba' ,
the leaf of a fox, that means,
the taste of the tea can change
any time, as your state of mind or EQ status changes.

So, all in all, we have to be smart enough to deal with
fox' leaf and not to be fooled.

Thomas Shu (6/9/2009)

Friday, May 22, 2009

A tea class at Manhattan (4/28/2007)

New York! New York!
On 4/28/2007 , at the 42nd & 6th Ave., Yi Miao from Taiwan Center NY hosted an event:
Explore the Essense & Beauty of Taiwan.
We were invited to present a tea tasting class - Enjoy Fine Taiwan Teas.

NATWASC's Tea Time (12/08/2007)

North America Taiwanese Women's Association, Southern California Chapter hosts a tea party at Taiwan Center on 12/8/2007. We were thinking to invite gentlemen from our community to serve teas...and the fun is unsurpassed!

Snow Heart Summer Camp @ Cal Poly, Pomona CA (8/11/2007)

Our good friends, Mr. and Mrs. Lo from Snow Heart Fundation hosted a Summer Camp at the campus of Cal Poly, Pomona Calfinornia. They invited Josephine and I to have a tea session for the parents and also the instructors we came.

The Kansas City Public Library (4/12/2008)

The Kansas City Public Library (Kansas, Mo) celebrates the heritage of Taiwan in April and May, 2008 with a series of special events and programming at the Central Library that commemorate the 30th anniversary of the sister city relationship between Kansas City and Tainan City, the oldest city in Taiwan. Discover Taiwan events at the Library are hosted in partnership with the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Kansas City, with corporate sponsorship from Garmin International. Taiwan Teas Tasting Class was scheduled on 4/12/2008. Josephine and I were there right after Kansas University's basket ball team won the NCAA title. We thought maybe the library event won't draw any crowd...but ends up we were having good turned out. We also got great help with a few volunteers from the local Taiwanese American community.

Taiwanese Presbyterian Church in South Bay (3/9/2008)

Over the years, I often was mistakenly recognized as Rev Thomas Chen, who serves at Taiwanese Presbyterian Church in South Bay. Finally, we met each other and we kind of laugh together...We truly looks alike especially our smiles...almost same height, and we are Hakka from Taiwan, plus we have same first name, Thomas....just too many coincidence between two of us. (Well, I have to admit that he is a bit more handsome than me...)
Here we are...You tell me what you think.
After we made acquaintance with each other, we have then worked together on 228 Commemorative Concerts at Los Angeles, two years in a row on 2007 and 2008. Rev Chen invited me over to his church for a tea class on 3/9/2008. I still remember the great experience I have there....

Friday, May 15, 2009

Los Angeles River Clean-Up

We've been participating Annual Los Angeles River Clean-Up since 2004. Later on 2006, our team, Taiwanese American Heritage Week Committee, decided to take charge for a new section - Lower Compton Creek, where not many people there yet. We feel that we will make it and we can make it to get many more friends from local community and other organizations to chip in.
It is exciting to see so many people committed to show up every year. It is even more exciting to see how the public awareness of taking care our environment.
We made it as an educational field trip for our TA community, including our family and relatives...and we have prepared snacks and raffle prizes at the end...there are many good photos that really fill up with good memories. I hope more and more people will join us next year. It is always set on on the Saturday morning before Mother's Day. Great meaning, isn't it?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Reunion Party for TOST 2008 Members

During 2009 WTE, we called for a Reunion Party of our 1st Taiwan Oolong Study Tour Members. This is a great group shared the same passion in tea.

2009 World Tea Expo (Behind the Scenes)

Team TTMA were busy setting up booth display on 5/1/2009.
It is indeed a long flight all the way from Taiwan to Vegas.
We have one mission to achieve: Promote Taiwan Teas.

2009 World Tea Expo (Show is On)

World Tea Expo 2009 -
5/2 - 5/4 at Las Vegas Mandalay Bay Hotel
Taiwan Tea Manufacturers' Association has a face-lift in booth design and made a great presentation in this show. Not only the Oolong Hand Rolling Demo for the Special Event, TTMA has its own stage to run daily programs, which draws big crowd continuously. The four specialty Taiwan Oolongs: Pouchong, Oriental Beauty, Jade Oolong and Amber Oolong were freshly brewed to be served at the booth. There are 6 TTMA's members have set their own display with a remarkable view of Taiwan's tea garden as backgroud. Every team member of TTMA has contributed with his/her efforts to make sure the Show is On!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

2009 Asian & Pacific Islander American Heritage Month

We were invited to participate the Los Angeles City's 2009 APIAHM opening ceremony on 4/24/2009 at the L.A. City Hall.
To serve fine Taiwan teas during the Opening Ceremony become a tradition now. It is our honor to be part of "Asian and Pacific Island American Heritage Month Celebration". Our volunteers deserve big hands for their hard working to make good tea to serve to a large crowd in 4 hours event!

Culture Fest 2009 by Arizona Asian American Association

Josephine and I were invited by Wen Rey from AAAA to participate their 15th Annual Culture Fest during April 18-19, 2009 at the Heritage Park of Phoenix, AZ.
Tea and tea culture from Taiwan is properly representing Taiwanese American community to display our lifestyle and share our fine Taiwan Oolongs with our friends at Arizona!
In the two days event, we were scheduled to offer total 4 Taiwan Oolong Tea Workshops. It is quite a tough challenge for us. Without our local TA friends' support and team-works, we hardly can accomplish our mission there! Glad that we made it, and we've earned many new tea lovers and we are looking forward to AAAA's sweet 16 !

Here we come Arizona State University !

Thanks to our good friend, Tzu-Hui, we finally made it here on 4.18.2009 at the ASU before she gets her Doctor degree. It is a great experience for me and Josephine. We actually have done two tea classes during the day at Culture Fest by AAAA, before this one. Tzu-Hui and her associates made it an extremely well for all the attendees and presenters. We did stay for a discussion with our new friends, a bunch tea lovers!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Taiwan Tea @ USC /2009 ITASA West

Special thanks to our volunteers: Kathleen, Patricia, Albert and Charles.
On April 4 at USC campus, ITASA 2009 West Coast Conference invites me to offer a session of
Taiwanese Culture Exploration, and I use the "1869 Pon Fon Cha" as a topic to share the history of Taiwan's tea industry...and then we have 4 volunteers to hands on brewing four different kinds of Taiwan Oolongs, plus a demonstration, step by step of making a good cup of tea:

Review the dried tea leaf to determine the right amount of tea to be measured and the right water temperature to be applied.
2. 賞茶舞
When hot water is poured into the brewer, you can enjoy the tea leaves unfurl.
Poetically noted as "The Agony of Leaves." Make sure the tea leaves are fully settled in the inner brewer, then press the button to release the tea into the pitcher below.
3. 聞茶香
Enjoy the aroma seeping from under the brewer's lid.
4. 觀茶色
Check the color and the brightness of the tea.
5. 品茶味
Sip the tea to appreciate it's aroma, flavor, taste, and fine finish.
6. 讀葉底
Examine the brewed leaves to enhance your knowledge about the tea you just drank.

Our volunteers have made several infusions of the four Taiwan Oolongs to serve all students in the classroom who join this Conference from different schools, while Josephine lead all the participants to do the Tea Chanting. What a great event! I believe now they will take tea maybe more often, or not to refuse having a good cup of Taiwan Oolong with their parents, or grandparents...

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

What a great cooking school that A Southern Season has!

Thanks to our good friend Caroline's invitation.
We have had a great treat to be able to visit A Southern Season at Chapel Hill, NC.
On the afternoon 2/22/2009, we were scheduled to offer a tea class at its Cooking School.
That classroom is so well designed and is such a dream place to share tea experience. We have so many wonderful volunteers and passionate tea lovers there...makes this tea tasting class truly a most memorable one. I wish we can come back to visit this cooking school very soon!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Tea Workshop at Duke University (2009.2.21)

Thanks to a great bunch of good leaders from Duke.
We enjoy a wonderful experience offering tea workshop:
1869 Pon Fon Cha
at Duke campus on 2/21/2009 during ITASA East Coast Conferenc.

A Demo of Taiwan Jade Oolong's Hand Rolling

Taiwan’s High Mountain Jade Oolong teas require skillful canvas wrapping rolling.
The process involves tightly packing leaves into large canvas cloths that are then rolled by hand, foot or machine, then briefly firing the leaves to dry and separate them. It may be repeated dozens of times, depending on conditions and the desired outcome.
The slides show a live demonstration of traditional canvas wrapping and hand rolling, as a Taiwan tea master displays his craftsmanship and discuss how skill and art affects the quality of tea.
Much obliged to Mr. Chen Chen-Chin and Mr. Norman Shu for these great photos.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Join the Thomas Club

In many of my tea presentations over the last two decades, I often share this story with my audience. (One couple, also my long time good friends, like my story so much, and they decided to include this story in thier first tea book.)
It was back on my first Englsih class at the junior high in Taiwan. My teacher insisted that every student in his class got to have a western first name for the conversation practices. I don't want to jump into a quick-pick, but seems that whichever I like someone else already took it. At the dinner table, I consulted it with my eldest brother, Jackson. He suggested that since our family's legacy in the tea business goes back in generations, maybe I can try to look for certain name of tea man of significance.
Looks what I have found:
  • Thomas garway - the first English coffee house proprietor to offer tea.
  • Thomas Rawlinson - Founder of Mitre tavern, eventually to become Davidson, Newman & Co.
  • Thomas Twining - Proprietor of "Tom's", the first retail outlet for tea to welcome women.
  • Thomas Lipton - The irascible Irishman who founded Lipton Teas.
  • Thomas Sullivan - The serendipitious inventor of the tea bag.

The list is getting longer...and I made my decision that I want to join the "Thomas Club", a wishful thinking: one day I will have my footprint on the map of tea.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Fortune can be found when given a little luck

When the global economic is down...
we have been thinking for our business partners...especially for their
business promotion during the hard time.
How do you cheer your customers up?
How do you show that you're the one they can rely on...
Here is a small token for you:
A golden colored Yuan-Bow (Nugget) saved in a ceramic steamer,
packaged with an organza bag.
Yuan-Bow can be used as a paper weight, while the steamer can double as an air tight caddy or a little trinket box. You can have your logo imprinted on the steamer to make sure your message is delivered! (*we wish your Money and Investing continuously growing...)
We have take one more step:
Two lucky steamers in one nice gift box, one with the goleden nugget and one filled with fine tea for celebrating Wealth and Wellness!