Tuesday, June 20, 2006

The Summer Solstice Open House

It was great to see so many friends at the openhouse!


Unlike the January openhouse, where we had a huge crowd, we were able to sit down and have tea with our guests. We had the laptop set up and shared some of the pictures from China. We had fun experimenting with different teas I brought back like the Tao Temple green tea and Bohea from Wuyishan. I always enjoy the opportunity to compare notes with other tea enthusiasts so this is an enjoyable way to spend a summer afternoon for me.


The food and conversation was light and the company delightful. We even managed to get a couple of usable photos from the event.








Thursday, June 01, 2006

Wuyishan Spectacular Photos and Memories

When I was in China I so enjoyed taking time to sit down and write for the blog and promised myself that I would continue this new found ritual once I returned. As sometimes happens life dictated otherwise and I have not done as well as I had hoped.


It is hard to express to people my experiences sometimes. There is so much to tell and even more that I was not able to share while I still in China. So I have decided to back up a bit and share about some of the trip that may have been missed or only reviewed briefly. I am going to start with Wuyishan, one of the most beautiful senic spots we visited and this time I have pictures! To get me in the mood I have brewed up a terrific Jian Bian Qi Lan oolong, the perfect inspiration. (Gin Bin She Lawn, phonetic pronunciation).


Our first day in Wuyishan was a bit crazy. The energy in town was hectic and finding a hotel was challenging. But once settled we drove out of town to a very small factory and met Mr. Liu and his father, who both grew up producing the fantastic oolong teas of the Wuyishan region. I will never forget the humble surroundings, generous hospitality and warmth of Mr. Liu. The remarkable tea this small factory produces will also remain in my memory but was really just a bonus.


Here are some of the photos.





On our way to the factory.



Meeting Mr. Liu



The large leaves of Wuyi oolong tea.



The Factory, withering of the tea.



Sitting down to tea.



Selecting Tea




Another memorable part of that day was on our way back to the hotel from the factory. We encountered a spot along the road that was so beautiful that I just had to stop. Not realizing what was really going on I got out and started to walk when I noticed the tea, everywhere literally. The people who had been harvesting that day were bring the leaves to this square to spread them out for the initial drying. The longer we stood there the more tea appeared. It was transported in carts, on bicycles, in baskets on their backs and by wagons, every way possible. This was exhilarating, at least to me, this was the very beginnings of the processing that was to take place, resulting in the highly oxidized, deep amber leaves of Wuyi oolong that creates such a wonderful brew in our cups. Absolutely awesome.


Here are some pictures.




On first glance.



When I got out and looked to my left.



Getting it there.




Spreading out the tea.






This was a day etched in my memory forever and a place, Wuyishan, that I will visit again next year while in China.


The next part of our trip in Wuyishan was an incredible visit with a factory that has been in operation for some 400 years. It will be in a separate blog that you won't want to miss!


Until next time, Beth