Visiting the farm: Organic Red Jade #18 in Taiwan
My wife Spring and I recently took a trip to connect with some of our tea farmers in Nantou. The second stop on our journey was the Yu Shan area where we spent time with Mr. Ou, his wife and 3 sons. He was gracious to invite us to his house for dinner and to spend the night. Mr. Ou is the Yu Shan area tea farmer and maker of three teas in our collection. He makes our Caramel Oolong, Yu Shan Tie Guan Yin and Yu Shan Black, all teas that we offer exclusively on our site. These teas are not available for sale anywhere else outside of Taiwan.
We were planning to head to the Sun Moon Lake area the following day and Mr. Ou mentioned to us a friend of his who grows Red Jade #18. We got in touch with Woody, the farmer's nephew while we were on the road, and he invited us to meet him at his uncle's house for tea in the evening. We had trouble finding the place. It was way out in the Taiwanese countryside. Google maps was coming up with different results every time we entered the address. After a bit of a wild goose chase we connected with Woody and followed him through the winding dark back roads to his uncle's farm.
Mr. Wang graciously offered to pour us tea outside of his simple corrugated metal house that sat in the middle of his two crops. One being Red Jade #18, the other being rather large pine trees for bonsai. It was a chilly winter night and he lit a small stove with longan wood charcoal that he put under the table to keep us warm. His tea has a beautiful amber red color and crystal like transparency. It is also very clean and smooth, a result of his passion and care in using organic farming methods. Mr. Wang loves tea and has been making tea for more than 30 years. He originally began in Lugu, working as a tea maker, making Dong Ding oolong. He later decided that he wanted to grow and make his own tea and do it organically in order to make the best tea possible.
After enjoying a few pots of Mr. Wang's best tea. He grabbed a few flashlights and invited us to take a look at his tea plants. We could tell when we got there that he couldn't wait to show us his tea fields. We walked around the back of his house through groves of giant bonsai trees to get to the tea plantation. There were many holes in the ground dug out by endangered Pangolin's which which find refuge on his organic farm digging for worms late at night.
When we got to his neat widely spaced rows of tea he picked two leaves and one sprout of the tender light green buds that jutted out above the darker green leaves, to show us his high leaf plucking standards. He picked a handful of leaves and told me to put them in my pocket and smell them later. He then aimed his flashlight toward the ground. The tea bushes had massive trunks. As a grower of bonsai, Mr. Wang used a very unique cultivation method in his tea fields. He kept the rows widely spaced from each other so that the roots penetrate deep into the soil to gather nutrients and water. The result of his these efforts is prize winning black tea.Mr. Wang proudly accepts his first place prize from the Yu Chi Farmers association.
In an effort to support Mr. Wang in his efforts in organic tea farming we have a very limited quantity of his Spring 2016 Organic Premium Red Jade #18 for sale on our site.
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