Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Reason #22 to Love Taiwan

Every Wednesday morning, at least for now, I teach a class out in Tucheng Industrial Park. That means getting up earlier than I would normally prefer to, but it's fine because I enjoy the class itself.

In the lobby of the building where I teach, there's a small setup by a tea company (they also have other products but seem to specialize in tea). They're the ones who produce the famous Fushoushan Evergreen tea served at Presidential banquets, and they have an office on the 2nd floor. There is often, but not always, a man staffing the area, which includes shelves of tea for sale and other tea products. In front is a table with an electric heater and traditional tea-making implements with a draining board.

When my class finishes at 10:30am, if the guy is there he invites me to sit and drink for awhile, and will tell me about what he's brewing, but without the annoying pressure of a sales pitch. He knows from our chats that I already have a lot of tea at home and much of it is from his company; I'm hopelessly addicted to the super-expensive Fushoushan tea. The front desk and security guys often come over and chat as well, and teach me a little Taiwanese and have some tea with us, which the guy replenishes in their large steel mugs. Today, he brewed a ridiculously caffeinated red-colored "old tea", not unlike Pu-erh, but definitely not Pu-erh itself. It had a slightly sour taste, similar to Oriental Beauty, but from aging, not from insect saliva (if you've ever wondered where the unique flavor of Oriental Beauty comes from, it's the saliva of the insects that eat the tea leaves unless one of my students is REALLY yanking my chain).

And that's what I love about Taiwan - that in the lobby of a ho-hum office building in a ho-hum industrial park in ho-hum Tucheng, there's a guy who brews traditional tea to showcase his company products, and I can sit there drinking it like I'm at Wistaria House, chatting with him, chatting with the guards and having an all-around good time drinking fabulous, high-quality tea.

Try doing that in some bland office building in Scranton, PA.


blobOfNeurons said...

it's the saliva of the insects

Maybe ... But I think the taste being a defense response of the tea leaves to being bit makes more sense.

Anonymous said...

Just finished my bag of Fushoushan. Suppose I should wait until I arrive in Taipei next month to buy more. It was exquisite!