I've been a little slow to get on top of this one. It's a strenuous and gratifying experience to expand on what the future could be...
We recently met up with Marzhena and Justyna from Poland, and took them up to Lugu to get a feel for true Taiwanese tea culture. They came for the experience, but were disarmed by our little ace-in-the-hole, Sebastian, and floored by the quality of the tea.
(He gets comfy pretty quickly.) As we settled in, we took a taste of the latest Formosa Tea harvest, with the welcoming "Da-ge", as we affectionately call him, guiding proceedings...
We haven't had much of a chance to visit the teafarm post-Sebastian, yet this time we were lucky to get the master's view of the small local Dong Ding farm. I do my best with understanding the Taiwanese/Chinese verbals. (I should have taken off my sunnies for this photo - this man deserves the utmost of respect.)
He gave us first-hand knowledge of the way they grow their tea (the plants were one week away from harvest, "不漂亮 ", but beautiful to us), the bulbs used for tea oil, and the natural edible "weeds" that grow on this essentially-organic teafarm. (Unfortunately, there's a bean farm next door, so they get pesticide runoff.) At any rate, it's a special experience.
We went back for another round of tasting, and our guests had a wonderful time.
At the end of the day, we are lucky to live in such a beautiful country, full of kind people; much yet find connections across the other side of the world whom share in our joy of tea culture. Thanks to Justyna for the gorgeous photos, and Marzhena for her enterprising spirit. It amazes me every day that I'm, not just lucky to be an international citizen, but to expose Taiwan to others, too.
Make friends, drink tea, and be happy!