Amongst White Clouds

I have always loved that title, the name of a documentary about hermit monks in China. Here standing on top of a mountain at San Lin She, at 2000 meters (we brought an altimeter!) and with clouds breezing quickly by, with a strong gale and a dramatic sunset, I can’t think of a better place to spend eternity as a hermit. Of course, some one will have to bring me some propane to heat my water so I can make my tea. The tea and water are plentiful, and fortunately there are these trucks that whiz up and down the mountain delivering the gas. Natural environment counts a lot for tea. The Taiwanese seem to be experts at using their resources (or lack thereof), and turn them into quality. Low lying flat areas? Make a tea that bugs love to bite on, that has to be oxidized in grueling humid weather (Taiwan Beauty!). High beautiful mountain with lots of fog? Make a high fragrance, sweet tasting tea with a long finish. Living in an even higher steep mountain? Make a tea that has the fragrance of a frozen gardenia suddenly baked in an oven; how else can you describe Dayuling Oolong? All of these Taiwan teas have a defining fragrance. As we moved from place to place around the island, marveling at such a vast range of island flowers and fruits like green guava, Shakyamuni fruit, dragon fruit, and the sweetest pineapple you’ll ever meet, the teas and their fragrance make complete sense. Taken out of this island, you might think those teas were somehow perfumed by some scents. Though of course, vulgar sprayed perfumes can’t be discussed on the same blog.

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