Wed, Jan 18, 2017 - Page 13 News List

Cultivating Taiwan’s artisanal teas

Meet the tea producers who are promoting tea grown in Taiwan as a specialty product abroad

By Dana Ter  /  Staff reporter

“It’s very much like the history of wine, in terms of tea regions and varieties,” Liao says. “These are living artifacts of history that tell us much about the societies that consume them.”

‘ARTISTIC APPROACH’

Back in Muzha, Chang brings me and Kincart to see the different plots where he grows various types of Oolongs. Chang plucks a leaf from one of the plants and explains to us that it is called Buddha’s Hand (佛手). Its size is noticeably bigger than a Tieguanyin leaf, its shape resembling a palm.

We head back to the tea house where Chang lays out a pitcher of boiling water, tiny tea cups and a small tea pot filled with Buddha’s Hand tea leaves. A highly-oxidized Oolong, the Buddha’s Hand has a slightly roasted but sweet flavor akin to brown sugar.

As we sip our teas, Kincart tells me that he admires Chang’s “artistic approach” to business.

“He’s not following consumer demands but setting the standard and trusting the value of his product. Customers come to him instead.”

We have our first customer of the day — a family of four. Chang’s middle-school-aged son helps to seat them at an outdoor table.

I ask Chang if he thinks his son will continue the family business.

Chang sighs.

“Kids these days venture out more and they know how the outside world is like.”

He takes a sip of tea.

“It’s hard to say.”

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