Jodie's journal

Things to do in Taipei, Taiwan: Visiting the coal mining villages of Pingxi

If you are bored of Taipei city, take the train to Pingxi. In 40 minutes, it will take you back 40 years.

Pingxi (pronounced 'ping shee') was built about a hundred years ago. The coal mining industry attracted young people from all over Taiwan to dig black money from deep under the earth. The railway came: winding and climbing into the mountains. And so the remote town developed, deep inside the Keelung river valley. 

When do Taiwanese drink Gong Fu tea?

We drink Gong Fu tea all day, at any time. Instead of drinking coffee to start the day, many older people start the day with Gong Fu tea. Slowing making the best cup of tea, and reaching a state of harmony is the best way to start the day. After meals, people drink Gong Fu tea, as tea is the best way to help digestion.

Comparing Gong Fu tea with Espresso

People often ask: why make the tea in such a tiny tea pot? We can compare this type of tea making to making espresso coffee.

The tiny tea pot is the best way of preserving tea fragrance, it's a bit similar to a tiny cup of expresso. The steam goes through the coffee beans in only a few seconds, so the high heat brings out the coffee fragrance without anything unwanted.

Gong Fu tea: Calming down, with enthusiasm.

Gong Fu tea: Calming down, with enthusiasm.

Gong Fu tea is sometimes written in English with the spelling 'Kung Fu' tea, but this isn't the same as Kung Fu Panda's kung fu. Gong Fu in this case means making tea with care, effort, and time.

Shopping for Oolong tea: How to buy Oolong tea?

When you walk into a tea shop as a new customer, Various kinds of tea stored in large cans in a tea storethese are the kinds of questions the staff will ask you, so they can help you find tea that you will enjoy:

Shopping for Oolong tea: Where to buy Oolong tea in Taiwan?

old tea store cardTaiwan is famous for its Oolong tea. Oolong is on many visitors' must buy or gift list when they come to Taiwan. In this country, tea is an essential part of everyday local culture. You will see people selling tea almost everywhere: city streets, night markets, morning markets, supermarkets, department stores, shopping malls, and tea farms.

Shopping for Oolong Tea: Is it worth paying for high priced tea?

Is it worth paying for high priced tea?

If you are very experienced in tasting tea, it is similar to being a wine expert. The region where the tea plants grow, the process of fermenting, roasting, and so on all have an influence on tea prices.

Making Chinese tea western style

It's possible to make Chinese Tea even if you don't have the traditional tea making equipment and tea pots. You just need good Chinese tea leaves, a source of boiling water, and any teapot and cups.

Enjoy your meal with Chinese Tea

Many of my guests' experience of drinking tea in some Chinese restaurants is that the tea tastes too bitter. They might even feel some stomach pain or feel dizzy after drinking it. It's because the tea leaves have been brewed in the tea pot too long, or they used too much tea. When you are served this over-brewed tea, it's better not to drink it. It's not healthy and it won't make your delicious dishes taste better. Tell them the tea is too old, and ask the waiter to bring another pot of freshly brewed tea.

Drinking tea like wine

Many of my guests have asked me, "what do Taiwanese people drink when they have dinner?". Because they notice Taiwanese people often don't drink wine or beer when they eat. I thought it's quite normal not to have alcohol when eating, like we sometimes do in Taiwan. Then I realized that although we don't drink wine, we do have tea while eating.

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