Taiwan 2015 – Vol. 2

Just a day after my arrival I and my friends take a trip to the mountains. Although there are showers on our way there, the weather calms later and we enjoy the sight of the mountains appearing from the mist and clouds.

Three on the way

Three on the Way

The local countryside is simply beautiful. The tropical jungle, the waterfalls, the rocks, the tea shrubs… Pure beauty… We take a hike up a mountain trail. Every minute a new breathtaking view of mountain side covered with tropical vegetation and tea plants opens. An hour-and-a-half’s drive from Taichung we come to seclusion where Master Li lives in a hermit-like way. He hosts us in the lovely tea house he built there himself. In the magical atmosphere of the tea house in the middle of complete wilderness, with the sounds of the jungle and occasional rain, time becomes another thing. The slow, almost still tempo of the tea ceremony, that would seem strange under normal circumstances, touched all of us with its depth and sincerity. For some time we just sat and drank tea. I got caught up by jet lag and the sounds of the raindrops and I dozed off on the terrace. Later the Master served us a delicious lunch made of vegetables he grows himself or picks in the forest.
The great tea he poured us the whole time was his own production. Not that he grows it himself, but, same as many other tea Masters, he buys tea from farmers and “finishes” it – usually by so-called “roasting”. The Master decorates all his tea boxes with original calligraphy and description. Later we meet his teas in a number of prestigious venues around Taichung. Apart from teas Master Li also creates handmade wood-fired tea pottery. His name is famous, which makes the prices of his pieces so high that we can hardly afford them.
It is one of the special encounters that one doesn’t forget.
On our way back we stop by an old Japanese factory processing black tea, which we have known since our trip last year. A few minutes later we found ourselves at the bank of the awesome Sun Moon Lake. We finish our trip with a rich dinner and the memories of the way we spent our time here with a similar crew last year.

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