Taiwan. Travel futures and logs!

Culture, language, tangibles, intangibles from countries known for tea. China, Japan, Taiwan, Korea, India, etc...


Oct 10th, '16, 06:53
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Re: Taiwan. Travel futures and logs!

by ethan » Oct 10th, '16, 06:53

I'll talk about tea in the sections for black tea & oolong tea. Will be putting some tea for sale on TeaSwap since I have overbought.

I will say this again. If you are in Taipei it is easy & delightful to up to Maokong, Even in non-stop rain 4 hours there was refreshing & pleasureable. I ended up buying 2 double-lidded tins of a true, black Tie Guan Yin & 2 cardboard canisters of black-looking Tie Guan Yin that is only 50% oxidized. Buying one from an old guy who was enjoying drinking the tea he was making for us > than trying to take care of business (or was that is non-English speaking sales technique?); & buying the other from a sharp college student spending the holiday helping his mother.

Opening big bags & bins of tea & pointing to what interested me worked: I sampled, found a great tea, bought it. A long conversation about seasons, storage of leaves, changes in leaves, processing etc. led to me trying what I should try & buying the one tea there that was an appropriate purchase.

Such views, fresh air, good tea, smiles..... worth a visit. Easier to get to than Pinglin & more exciting, but I also remind you that is a nice drive & offers views & clean air also & leads to good Oriental Beauty.

Oct 13th, '16, 04:09
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Re: Taiwan. Travel futures and logs!

by ethan » Oct 13th, '16, 04:09

Today a US$1 train ride of 30 minutes brought me a short walk away from Yinge Ceramics Museum which was a pleasure to view. It's not a real big deal but worthwhile & worth the US$3 admission fee. I stopped in shops walking towards Old Ceramics Street & ended up buying pu-erh though I've told myself not to do so. I just bought a tiny bit for my time here. It was loose w/ no proof of the story that goes with it. Don't care because I like it.

Parks, temples, good food. Nice morning out of the big city. Cheers.

Oct 14th, '16, 00:51
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Re: Taiwan. Travel futures and logs!

by ethan » Oct 14th, '16, 00:51

Went to National Palace Museum this morning. Advice is to go Fri or Sat. evening to avoid crowds. If you go, I also advise the same. So many busloads of tourists ....
Nonetheless, I was impressed as soon as I stepped off the regular city bus which takes one right to its steps (& there are a lot of them). Guidebooks etc. tell it better than I can. Fee is up: 250 NTD now, not 160. So US$8 . Fourth floor teahouse closed August 5th. Bring good walking shoes. You can get stamped to leave for a while & return. I had planned to go back tonight to see the 2 galleries I missed because of crowds but am tired. Worth a visit.

Oct 18th, '16, 21:15
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Re: Taiwan. Travel futures and logs!

by ethan » Oct 18th, '16, 21:15

Went to Jiufen yesterday morning. Fast train to Raifang cost US$2.50 & comfortably took half an hour to get there. 15-minute bus ride from there is pleasant & has some views of mountains & ocean. Jiufen has one main panoramic view to ocean & mountains going into it, that is world class. There are a few areas set aside to give somewhat different angles for seeing it along the old street. I ate ice cream wrapped in/ a sort of soft taco & crushed peanuts. Like eating sandwich but it is dessert. Nice.

As to tea, the old street is lined w/ hustlers: "Buy 2 get one 1 free".Juifen Teahouse (142 Juifen Old Steet) might be a good place to drink some real tea. I did not because of their pricing system. One pays 100 NTD for hot water. (They have tables w/ sunken area to heat iron kettles). 37-gram packs of tea cost 600 - 1000 NTD. Customers can sit all day & refill the already large kettle as much as they like. Quality? I don't have a clue. The menu offered a 3-year old Oriental Beauty pu-erh from China for 1000 NTD.

Fantastic view on deck for having a tea session but not for me alone. A group of 3 would get the cost down to around US$10 person, but alone I was not ..... (I am sounding like a young, silly blogger)

Slow train back to Taipei only took 15 minutes longer & cost half as much. Pleasant.

Day before visited Ten Shang Teashop in Taipei. This shop is recommended by Trip Advisor reviewers. My comment is that I don't recommend going by Trip Advisor's tea vendor recommendations. Cheers

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Oct 18th, '16, 22:01
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Re: Taiwan. Travel futures and logs!

by Bok » Oct 18th, '16, 22:01

ethan wrote: As to tea, the old street is lined w/ hustlers: "Buy 2 get one 1 free".Juifen Teahouse (142 Juifen Old Steet) might be a good place to drink some real tea. I did not because of their pricing system. One pays 100 NTD for hot water. (They have tables w/ sunken area to heat iron kettles). 37-gram packs of tea cost 600 - 1000 NTD. Customers can sit all day & refill the already large kettle as much as they like. Quality? I don't have a clue. The menu offered a 3-year old Oriental Beauty pu-erh from China for 1000 NTD.
You should have asked me, there is a bus that costs 75 NT only, time is around the same, no changes needed!

I have been to Jiufen Teahouse twice. All the teas I had there are pretty good, better than what I had at Wistaria. Pricing system is not cheap(if alone as you said, but then I usually only go there to bring visiting friends, for that it is ok every once in a long while. The view they have is very nice and the whole place’s decoration is tasteful as well. Much better than the other teahouses around there.

Food around there is more miss than hit. A few places off the beaten track have better food. Main street is mostly rubbish for tourists.
Gets more interesting if you wander off the main street and climb the back alleys. Annoying thing, it almost always rains up there…

Oct 24th, '16, 06:34
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Re: Taiwan. Travel futures and logs!

by ethan » Oct 24th, '16, 06:34

Today, I went to Water Moon Café for tea. My plan was to drink Pouchong aged since 1968, but 1200 NTD price (plus 10% service) killed that idea. I settled for $400 Imperial Pu-erh which is smooth & pleasing. Anyway one is there for the ambiance: Classical music at a low volume, soft-spoken staff, art books, etc. I had just eaten or would have taken advantage of their Tea Set option which gives a couple of snacks w/ that pu for 150 NTD more. Location is a few minutes walk from an MRT stop & not hard to find. Only used half of the leaves provided & look forward to preparing them, for the drinking & seeing whether I am missing anything by not having a yixing pot (except for my 2 tiny ones). Good body-feel after the session. Sort of glided home & had a short nap at the hostel despite coming & going of hostel neighbors in the dormitory room I stay in.

Jan 1st, '17, 09:46
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Re: Taiwan. Travel futures and logs!

by ethan » Jan 1st, '17, 09:46

High-Speed Rail here: The ride is smooth & quiet; seats are comfortable & recline a lot; there is enough leg-room; a lady comes by often selling tea, coffee, & food; another lady comes by to take garbage; elevation improves view of farms etc. for much of the ride; &, wow is it fast. Less than 2 hours to take a 200-mile trip! Booking in advance can save one up to 25% on fares that are not too high to begin with.

Buying tea from teashops here: Many shops sell retail mostly to local, repeat customers in large quantity & some also sell wholesale in very large quantities. For home use local customers buy enough for about 6 months; for gifts they may ask for a suggestion or explain about what they want, then quickly decide & order one tea packed in the same quantity for all the people to be gifted by them. (Yes, there are exceptions. I have seen a few locals sample a few teas & buy small amounts.) I have never seen a local come into a shop here who sampled a few teas or discussed tea at length w/o buying.

I believe it is time to leave a shop after sampling 2 or 3 teas that one does not want to buy or after a few unproductive minutes of discussion not in Mandarin.. Disappointment of shopkeepers then is minimal; whereas, buying a minimum amount of tea after sampling several teas & talking for over half an hour, might bother them quite a bit. ( Also, one is likely to buy a mediocre tea for too much $, after trying many poor teas & working a conversation hard to lead to some tea coming out of the inventory to impress senses favorably.)

Jan 2nd, '17, 09:08
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Re: Taiwan. Travel futures and logs!

by ethan » Jan 2nd, '17, 09:08

Returned to Maofong today because it was so sunny. I only had been there in rain before. W/ hot clear weather, hot tea did not taste as good. Also I had been buying tea in Tainan where I encountered much lower prices & greater variety. Thus, I bought nothing except ice cream w/ some sugared shaved nuts, & a pinch of cilantro wrapped in soft doughy.... fun food. Views & mountain air were great. Just love the ride in the gondola.
Tomorrow I'll go to yinge to go into pottery shops not on Old Street & specifically to buy the loose Chinese puerh I got last October (if I find the shop).

Jan 6th, '17, 21:42
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Re: Taiwan. Travel futures and logs!

by onjinone » Jan 6th, '17, 21:42

Curious if anyone here has specifically visited Yingge for teaware. Their ceramics are pretty cool to see.

Jan 6th, '17, 22:01
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Re: Taiwan. Travel futures and logs!

by ethan » Jan 6th, '17, 22:01

onjinone wrote:Curious if anyone here has specifically visited Yingge for teaware. Their ceramics are pretty cool to see.
I was there on Jan 3rd. Jan 2nd was a holiday in Taiwan & also a sunny day in the midst of many cloudy days; so I gather it was a very busy day at Yingge. Consequently, many of the shops & the ceramics museum closed on Jar 3rd to rest up. There are so many though that going into a third of them is a challenge.

Anyway, as you have read, Yingge is impressive. The quantity of pieces overwhelms me. W/ so many pieces to see, even a special unique piece may not seem special to me; &, many good pieces that may be excellent but produced in quantity may seem ordinary though when out of the shops would look special. Another teachatter was there not so long ago & wrote that he bought a lot. Perhaps he will offer some comments.

Are you looking to go there, or order from there on-line?




I had planned to buy a very common type of pot at a small shop where I had bought some puerh in October. The shop was closed.

Jan 7th, '17, 17:20
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Re: Taiwan. Travel futures and logs!

by onjinone » Jan 7th, '17, 17:20

ethan wrote:
onjinone wrote:Curious if anyone here has specifically visited Yingge for teaware. Their ceramics are pretty cool to see.
I was there on Jan 3rd. Jan 2nd was a holiday in Taiwan & also a sunny day in the midst of many cloudy days; so I gather it was a very busy day at Yingge. Consequently, many of the shops & the ceramics museum closed on Jar 3rd to rest up. There are so many though that going into a third of them is a challenge.

Anyway, as you have read, Yingge is impressive. The quantity of pieces overwhelms me. W/ so many pieces to see, even a special unique piece may not seem special to me; &, many good pieces that may be excellent but produced in quantity may seem ordinary though when out of the shops would look special. Another teachatter was there not so long ago & wrote that he bought a lot. Perhaps he will offer some comments.

Are you looking to go there, or order from there on-line?




I had planned to buy a very common type of pot at a small shop where I had bought some puerh in October. The shop was closed.
I actually went there back when I studied abroad in Taiwan years ago, but that was before I was as interested in teaware so I didn't pay as much attention to the design, quality, etc. despite having browsed.

Haven't seen too many posted pictures of more unique teaware from there (both on Chinese and English sites). The ones that are posted tend to either be a bit generic or very traditional. I like to see the slightly more modernized styles.

The ceramic museum is definitely fun browsing around. Truly admire all the work and care that went into everything.

Sep 1st, '17, 08:09
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Re: Taiwan. Travel futures and logs!

by ethan » Sep 1st, '17, 08:09

HOW THERE IS A PLACE FOR MIDDLEMEN:

In Taipei today tasting Oriental Beauty at 3 shops which do their own processing and 2 have their own farms or are partners....

Anyway, talking wholesale pricing with one, 30 kilograms was its entry into that arrangement. On the other hand, none of these 3 shops really make it easy for people to order from USA or Europe.....

They are quite busy dealing with people coming into their shops. And retail customers buying a couple of jin (2 x 600 grams) don't look for any favors.

Anyway, one can imagine how tea can move around.

Today I liked the next to most expensive O.B. at each of the shops. The most expensive shop also had the best tea. So perfectly rational! I might vist these shops again on September 11th but expect that I will find tea of such excellence (even if not O.B.) south of Taipei that is cheaper.

Sep 2nd, '17, 19:00
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Re: Taiwan. Travel futures and logs!

by ethan » Sep 2nd, '17, 19:00

GUQIFIENG (Guqi mountain): The museum part of this is only open on Saturday from 8:00 to 18:00. Took my 4th trip to this country to finally make it here. Definitely worth the trouble!

The main temple and chapels are okay, but the collection of art & artifacts beneath them, especially huge jade works, are fantastic. There are an ornate 4-poster bed (full size); sailing ships more than a meter long; and, a full size carriage made of beautiful, splendidly carved jade as well as animals and a variety of works of scenes & gods. Work in wood etc. also here.

Less than an hour to see everything and that's fine. A bit of a view as one is up a bit (which is pleasantly cooler than down in busy Hsinchu).

Taking a long bus ride through Hsinchu, I could see that this densely developed city still has a few plots of land with tea growing on it. One sees mountains not so far away where much of the tea used for Oriental Beauty is grown. I've asked many people who have replied to my ?s about buying O.B. where the tea comes from, that I should not even try. So, I took High Speed Rail to Tainan.

Bok was at Dr. Chen's shop! We drank together for an hour; &, I remained drinking there for another hour or so after he left. From black to green to aged to .... that does not work for me for sampling with an idea to buy, but it was just a fun session. Monday it gets serious. Cheers

Sep 5th, '17, 22:38
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Re: Taiwan. Travel futures and logs!

by ethan » Sep 5th, '17, 22:38

Temple at Guqifieng in previous post, is called Ta Dien.

I was having difficulty assessing teas at sessions. Yesterday, I was given the local arrangement: 5 teas of the same type in porcelain bowls filled with an equal amount of tea (I think about 2.5 grams) and boiling water to steep for 10 minutes. I was asked to watch the leaves unfold, stir the each bowl with its accompanying porcelain spoon occasionally and smell the back of the spoon, and finally drink a small amount of each after the 10 minutes. It was an edifying experience.

A dayuling which I bought a couple of years back but did not buy since, again did not appeal to me. The 10-minute infusion allows bitterness to show that I don't like. (I am dislike this exact taste which I call bitterness and others usually don't. It usually build up over infusions and doesn't ruin drinking for me completely, but I am looking for smooth experiences.) A tea that I called Drawer 41 early this year in posts about it, was very clearly my choice. In tasting format it presented itself very clearly. I had drunk it on Saturday without saying "Wow!", but it was drunk amid rounds of aged tea, black tea, and roasted tea--too confusing.

I drank a few rounds of the chosen tea and after confirming it the winner was shown the bag it came from, 4 T 1 in Dr Chen's inventory.

I understand the process now. I won't ever become a professional who can use aroma to detect faults in particular steps of the tea process etc., but I can see how much it can show me what to buy.

By the way, food in Tainan is just so good. Noodles & dumplings which are great in Taipei are fantastic here.

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Sep 5th, '17, 23:29
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Re: Taiwan. Travel futures and logs!

by Bok » Sep 5th, '17, 23:29

ethan wrote: I was given the local arrangement: 5 teas of the same type in porcelain bowls filled with an equal amount of tea (I think about 2.5 grams) and boiling water to steep for 10 minutes.
That’s the way professional buyers taste tea, also used for tea competitions. They call it cupping.
ethan wrote: By the way, food in Tainan is just so good. Noodles & dumplings which are great in Taipei are fantastic here.
It is! Since I moved north I sorely miss what I took for granted… in Taipei they manage to mess up even the most simple dishes, like stir fried vegetables.

People from all over Taiwan(and Japan) come to Tainan to eat, literally stand-hopping from one specialty to the next.

That said, food is great almost anywhere in Taiwan, except for Taipei and the touristy beaches in Kenting.

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