Hualien Ruisui milk and tea

Hey Michella, did you know that I really like Taiwanese tea?
Really? You・ve had Taiwanese tea?
I have.
Have you ever picked Taiwanese tea?
No I haven・t.
Ah, and that・s why we・re in Ruisui, Hualien today, picking tea.
How do you pick these?
Like this. The young ones on the very top.
A bud and two leaves.
Sometimes a bud and just one leaf.
One bud and a leaf works too.

Today we・re handpicking tea leaf buds to make a special black tea. Because no pesticide has been used, these leaves have a special honey aroma caused by leaf hoppers.

And now to let the moisture in the leaves evaporate just a bit, the leaves get a quick 20-minute bake under the sun, then get moved inside onto bamboo trays to continue drying out at a slower pace. Then after the leaves have become limp, we bruise them so the fermentation process can start. And this is when they start smelling like that wonderful liquid we drink.
Mmm
Still a little bit grassy, but it does smell like tea a little now.

Yeah.
If you do it by hand, after about 3 hours of tea leaf massaging, they・re put aside to ferment, then dried in an oven to finish off the process. Ready for a taste? Make sure the water・s not too hot, at about 85C, so you don・t burn the buds.

Tea tasters actually do this too, like they do with wines.
One other beverage Hualien is quite famous for is its milk.

There are about 400 dairy cows on this farm, many of which visitors get to feed and pet. But the best part is, the fresh milk that you can only get here.
I have to say, I enjoyed it very much. And the most striking feeling I have is how close we・ve been to nature in the last couple of days. Because being with the cows and feeding them and milking them, and picking tea with the mountains right behind us and the sun, and all the smells...nature was all around us. Outside and inside. Because we actually ate so much of it.
 
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