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 (ηŽ‹εœ‹δΎ†), 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!