Some reflections and some new things learned on a trip to Taiwan

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Tillerman
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Wed Dec 05, 2018 1:46 pm

Perhaps an "appellation" system will come to Taiwan after all: https://tillermantea.net/2018/12/reflections/
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OldWaysTea
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Wed Dec 05, 2018 6:33 pm

I enjoyed reading your reflections on the trip. The National Palace museum is amazing, I go every time I get a chance to visit Taiwan. Interesting to see production costs mentioned. Wuyishan is in the same ballpark.
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Bok
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Wed Dec 05, 2018 7:06 pm

As always, a well written and interesting article, thank you!

I was aware that DYL has few active farms left, but I did not know it was as little as 2(7)! I agree with your thinking on the altitude-price-quality relationship. I stopped actively looking for, or buying DYL a long time ago... Equally good or better tea can be had for so much less money! Good to see that the gov is trying to establish something, although I doubt it will bring much change. China has very strict regulations on some kinds of teas, with all sorts of labels and certificates, but it did not help the counterfeit problem at all.

I just take a name as a name and let myself guide by the taste and if I think the price is fair for it.


Breakfast at Hong Ye
Breakfast at He Yong in Taipei is a must – even if soy milk is not your favorite.
One of my favourites as well, I recognised it on your IG photo! The problem with Westerners not liking soy milk is that we simply do not know what good, fresh soy milk is supposed to taste like! So much sold in the West is enough to scar anyone for life!
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Bok
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Wed Dec 05, 2018 10:23 pm

OldWaysTea wrote:
Wed Dec 05, 2018 6:33 pm
Interesting to see production costs mentioned. Wuyishan is in the same ballpark.
That is surprising! Cost of labour used to be more expensive in Taiwan. Yet the retail of Wuyi teas is more likely in the multitudes of what tea is sold for in Taiwan.
Ethan Kurland
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Wed Dec 05, 2018 11:01 pm

+1 for gratitude for blog. "A rose by any name would smell as sweet." Most important is having a sweet-smelling flower, secondary is whether it is a rose, what is the name of the rose, or whether it is a rose. I am grateful to have great teas affordably to drink, whether name is exact does not matter to me much but the sale of terrible teas with fancy names does, of course. Cheers
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ShuShu
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Thu Dec 06, 2018 7:09 am

Tillerman wrote:
Wed Dec 05, 2018 1:46 pm
Perhaps an "appellation" system will come to Taiwan after all: https://tillermantea.net/2018/12/reflections/
You only mention it very briefly in the discussion over DYL, but for some time now I have been thinking about economico-ethical drinking or about the question of the value of very expensive teas. I drink a tea that runs for $2/1g and it certainly has special features that another tea that runs for a half of that doesn't have, but does that makes it better than that tea? does it make it more enjoyable? Or, practically speaking, when I decide on how I will spend my tea budget, what portion of it should I dedicate to special but not necessarily less enjoyable teas? Many of us seem to have this attitude "get the most special and rarest" which is part of what drives the market like this...
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Bok
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Thu Dec 06, 2018 8:21 am

I do not think the Western market for high quality tea is any more than a niche. What drives the market in my opinion is demand from Asia, specifically China. Economic prosperity and a lot deeper pockets and will to spend it on a commodity like tea is what makes the good stuff rare and expensive for anyone else.
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Tillerman
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Thu Dec 06, 2018 8:40 am

Bok wrote:
Thu Dec 06, 2018 8:21 am
I do not think the Western market for high quality tea is any more than a niche. What drives the market in my opinion is demand from Asia, specifically China. Economic prosperity and a lot deeper pockets and will to spend it on a commodity like tea is what makes the good stuff rare and expensive for anyone else.
I think you are absolutely correct, Bok. The western market for "fine" tea is not large and follows, not leads, that of China.
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Tillerman
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Thu Dec 06, 2018 8:49 am

ShuShu wrote:
Thu Dec 06, 2018 7:09 am
Tillerman wrote:
Wed Dec 05, 2018 1:46 pm
Perhaps an "appellation" system will come to Taiwan after all: https://tillermantea.net/2018/12/reflections/
You only mention it very briefly in the discussion over DYL, but for some time now I have been thinking about economico-ethical drinking or about the question of the value of very expensive teas. I drink a tea that runs for $2/1g and it certainly has special features that another tea that runs for a half of that doesn't have, but does that makes it better than that tea? does it make it more enjoyable? Or, practically speaking, when I decide on how I will spend my tea budget, what portion of it should I dedicate to special but not necessarily less enjoyable teas? Many of us seem to have this attitude "get the most special and rarest" which is part of what drives the market like this...
The ethical considerations in tea drinking are not much dwelt upon by most consumers. (Are the ethical considerations of any consumption much considered by most consumers?) But tea cultivation and production do have impacts on the environment, on social structures, and on the economy and we as tea drinkers ought to be cognisant of them. Drink your tea but know that it does not come to you in a vacuum.
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Fri Dec 07, 2018 11:34 pm

ShuShu wrote:
Thu Dec 06, 2018 7:09 am
Or, practically speaking, when I decide on how I will spend my tea budget, what portion of it should I dedicate to special but not necessarily less enjoyable teas? Many of us seem to have this attitude "get the most special and rarest" which is part of what drives the market like this...
To budget, one should look at cost per infusion, not just cost per gram. Only in 2018, have I drunk so much expensive tea, dayuling and fushoushan, with prices about $1 per gram. However, I use 1 gram to infuse about 170ml of water or about 6/10ths of a gram to infuse about 80ml. Some days I like delicate brews so steep quickly for 9 or 10 rounds. Some days I prefer richer brews and steep longer for 5 or 6 rounds. The cost per round is quite low.

Another oolong that I enjoy is priced at about a third of those "special" teas, which really is only slightly cheaper per round since I only can enjoy 3 rounds of it before the leaves are played out.

As a concerned citizen of the world, one could go crazy considering how to be responsible. Perhaps the special tea is what should be consumed, since its leaves provide more rounds to drink, less arable land is needed per cup, leaving more land for food.
chofmann
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Sat Dec 08, 2018 6:37 pm

Tillerman wrote:
Thu Dec 06, 2018 8:49 am
The ethical considerations in tea drinking are not much dwelt upon by most consumers. (Are the ethical considerations of any consumption much considered by most consumers?) But tea cultivation and production do have impacts on the environment, on social structures, and on the economy and we as tea drinkers ought to be cognisant of them. Drink your tea but know that it does not come to you in a vacuum.
But it may come to you vacuum sealed ;)
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Sat Dec 08, 2018 8:46 pm

chofmann wrote:
Sat Dec 08, 2018 6:37 pm
But it may come to you vacuum sealed ;)
Funny and good timing. Cheers
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