There’s a reason good tea is expensive!
This tea farm is in Nantou, an area famous for oolong teas, which are often expensive and prized by tea connoisseurs. High mountain oolongs are typically at an elevation of 1,000 meters or more.
All tea comes from the Camellia sinensis plant. The oxidation process is what determines the tea flavor. Black tea is fully oxidized, causing it to turn black. Oolong tea is lightly oxidized. White tea is minimally or not oxidized.
Tea leaves are hand-picked (mostly by women from what I could observe) and they work hard, picking during the day time heat when the leaves are dry. They wear beautiful cloth coverups to keep themselves cool and protected from the sun.
They snip only the top three or four tender tea leaf tips using a cutter taped to the forefinger.
My friends, Wei Li & Yeh Ying. Wei Li is also my potter teacher and happens to know many tea makers.
Baskets filled with leaves are weighed coming off the fields, which determines their pay.
The fresh leaves are brought back to the tea makers home/farm and hand scattered on a large canvas tarp to start the drying process. That’s me scattering them. Then the tea is brought inside where it’s put on drying racks to further dry. After it’s dried, it’s withered, rolled, and minimally heat treated to retain a fresh flavor. The process is very time consuming and must be done when the weather is just right… it’s similar to harvesting grapes for wine.
A sitting area for enjoying tea in the shade.
Tea with the tea maker. Savor your tea, my friends. It’s a labor of love.
Many vegetable grow in the high mountains. I think these are a type of bean.
Grape tree, one of the more unusual looking fruits, but tasty.
Non-native cherry blossoms in mid May isn’t unusual at high elevation.