Monday, December 03, 2007

Taiwanese Tea

Today, I went with a friend to run some errands and after lunch we stopped by this shop on the way home that allows you to make traditional style Taiwanese tea at your table (very similar to the Chinese traditional style as well). She taught me how to do it and all that the different parts of it mean. When she goes home to Taiwan in a week or so for a while, she will probably be picking me up a set for myself since it is much cheaper there than it is here to buy it.

There is a whole complicated process to it and the cups are absolutely tiny (in fact the teapot is also tiny). We were there for several hours just drinking tea and talking. It was a great.

The process involves warming/rinsing all the parts with heated water before the leaves are even added to the pot. The entire set sits on a tray that drains away the water that is discarded during the process. After everything has been rinsed, the tea leaves are put in the pot, hot water is added and then discarded quickly. Then hot water is added again and allow to seep for about 1 minutes. After it is done, it is poured into a picture and then from there into a smelling cup (smaller than the tea cup) and the tea cup is put on top, then held together and flipped. You wait about 30 seconds and then remove the smelling cup from the top allowing the tea to flow into the tea cup. Then you roll the smelling cup in your hands and smell it (it should smell like the tea, and give you an idea of how it is going to taste). Then you start to drink the tea. Once the original process is over, you just refill your tea cup from the picture...you are basically done with the smelling cup.

Apparently this practice of tea making is very common in Taiwan but has become less common in China. I was thrilled learn this new cultural aspect of tea drinking...my friend would probably hate to drink tea at my house....haha. I am planning to visit her while she is in Taiwan and I know she will show me all sorts of really awesome things about this country I have only flown through in the past.

5 comments:

Chicken said...

That sounds very cool. You will have to take us there when we visit.

Just a Girl said...

That's some complicated tea drinking but, maybe, it could be a good thing to have to slow down like that.

Pickled Eel said...

My very second post is one relating to a Chinese ceremony which had the potential to be embarassing
http://pickledeel.blogspot.com/2006/10/all-tea-in-china.html
The Koreans have a traditional 12 course meal accompanied by plum wines. Small servings so you think you are safe but by the time you get that 12th drink down the hatch you are in more trouble than the early settlers!

Thanks for the visits by the way and for leaving the comments - always a pleasure to have a "conversation" at the end of a post.

Mishka said...

Thanks guys for the nice comments.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting the info about the smelling cups! I was aware of them but not familiar with the process by which one actually uses them. You cleared it up!