Yes, other things have happened in my life since the China trip and at the business too! Within the last month, I have been blending up a storm for the cooler weather that is happening whether I want to happen or not. For my business, I love the cooler weather, but for me personally, I am not a fan.
For an event, I had this last Saturday I also got 4 teas from Thailand. Three were oolong teas and one was a black tea. They are all tasty teas and Thailand is another place known for oolong teas too.
My blending again started in late spring with my Flowery Fields a white blended tea with flowers. I wanted something that did not overpower the delicate nature of a white tea. I see this a lot.
Less than a month ago I really got into blending several fall and winter teas and herbal infusions, eight in total. Two green teas, two herbal infusions, three black, and one pu-erh based tea. I have many more I want to try but holding off for a slower time in my business and do not have all of my blends at one time, intersperse new blends.
Four Thai teas with 9 teas and herbal infusions I blended.
The funny thing is I was thinking of writing about something besides my trip to China, especially since the last 3 -4 months that is all I did then Kyle sent this video a couple of days ago. I did really enjoy myself on the trip and this might be why that one day was four posts. It was almost like I was extending the trip. Yep, this is not logical just how I feel about the trip.
Below are random pictures that I do not believe I shown in this blog yet. I figured might as well since I am still talking about my trip to China.
Late afternoon and early evening. West Lake is truly a magical place. You really need to see it if you can. The photos are not in order, just random. The pictures do not do the place justice and want to go back someday to explore much more of it. This place has great significance to the Chinese people. It is surrounded by the city of Hangzhou which has almost 10 million people. We only saw a small part of the park, but it is worth it so worth it. The bridges, the statues, the landscaping, the foliage were all lovely. It looked like a fairy tale kingdom. I would love to ride a boat on West Lake to get that view also. Someday, sigh.
Not sure why I am taking 4 weeks to discuss one day. I had tons of pictures in the beginning too. The Houtu tea factory, museum, and tasting room were gorgeous to see.
The first two pictures are us walking into Houtu. The pillar in these photos has the history of tea on it. The next picture is of a stone used to grind matcha tea. Next four pictures are artifacts used to make traditional Lung Ching aka Dragonwell green tea.
I really liked the detail of the place as you can see with my several photos of the architecture and decor. One of the rooms had people grinding fresh matcha and allowed us to try some. It was tasty but still prefer Japanese matcha. One of the pictures has a traditional English tea set up, which made Sharon Hall feel really happy and a little homesick. Several photos of the architecture and decor again, including the tree lights and the tea cut out of the building to bring in light. The last photo is of us seeing their machinery to produce matcha tea at the factory. If you notice the feet we had to put on blue footies over our shoes in the factory, not a fashion statement, lol.
The next two weeks will be pictures of West Lake and me discussing the rest of my trip because I did not take many photos at the end.
In the morning we traveled towards Hangzhou and had lunch at a delish restaurant that was right next to the Houtu tea factory, museum, and tasting room. We did a tour of the factory and it was very nice to see. The head of the Houtu factories was nice enough to transport, feed, and lodge us for a night in Hangzhou. There were about two dozen people and we were able to see West Lake.
The first four pictures are on the way to the restaurant. The next three are from the restaurant. The features picture is of Kyle taking a picture of our appetizers. We had two rooms for our group. You can see a bit of our second room in the featured picture.
I have a few pictures of the Houtu Tea Factory, Museum, and Tasting Room which I will show next week and the week after some of my photos of West Lake. West Lake really deserves two posts for all the lovely pictures.
We were busy in the meetings all day. We were going to go to another tea farm, but it got canceled so we were deciding if we should go to Shanghai. We were about to go there, but the owner of the Houtu graciously decided to host about 2 dozen people and to see another of his tea farm and factory. He also gave us enough time to see part of West Lake. Not too many pictures, but did have fun that evening. The Thai delegation was great at doing the reggaeton.
Well, this was a busy day. I mentioned the morning last week and this week I will do the afternoon and evening. We went to the 2019 Zhejiang Longjing Tea Stir Fixation Competition. It was really nice to see. We were lucky because some of us were able to try pan-firing (fixating) the dragonwell orLongjing green tea. I have tons of videos from the event and even was able to purchase some high-grade Longjing at the Festival. We were also able to get behind the ropes too. We were also able to really get to see a tea farm. This was the most extensive of walking and being with the tea plants. I enjoyed it immensely. The welcome dinner was this night. I did not take as many dinner photos, I guess I was too busy enjoying myself. Also please click on the links to shorter videos I took. Most are under a minute long,
The first photo is someone in the competition. The second and third photo are pictures of the head of the English tea association. The fourth photo is finished longjing. The fifth photo is fresh tea before it becomes longjing. The sixth photo is comparing the fresh with the finished product. The rest are pictures of our visit to the tea farm.
After eating breakfast we took shuttles to Houtu Tea Factory in Shengzhou. They showed us the factory, gave us a talk, set up a mid-day snack, and a tour of there tea museum. It was a pretty rainy morning, so it was nice that we were inside for it. This is a place that produces gunpowder green tea. Not really in a writing mood today, but it was a lovely day. The afternoon will be talked about next week. Thank you for reading my blog and my trip to China.
The Raabs and I did go to the Specialty Tea Exhibit again on the morning of March 19, 2019. We were able to see the whole exhibition, the day before we were only there for about a half hour to hour. When you have about eight people it is harder to a quick look at all the exhibitors. We just really went to one booth and only looked at 2 -3 booths. The Raabs and I were able to see all of the booths and taste many, many teas. Later on, we had to get back for the business side of our trip. Learning about tea trends across the world from the heads of the tea industry for each country. It was interesting hearing from the supply side and the demand side. Also, it depends on the wealth of the country what they were looking for too.
One thing I can definitely say is we did not have to worry about having enough food or tea. The dinners pictures below combined, plus add twice as much food. This does not include meals between meals and for the tea as much hot water and tea as you could drink. This was the going away dinner, but all dinners had at least double the amount of food pictured in both photos for 10 people per table. They had to stack the dishes on top of dishes because there was no room on the tables.
Well not sure where to start and this trip happened about two months ago. I guess I can say that March 13th I was working my last Badger State Brewery Winter’s Farmers Market and drove down to Chicago that night to take an early flight to China on March 14th. This was the worst place I stayed at the whole trip because it was a musty room, though every other room was great to excellent.
I meet so many nice people and only minor inconveniences during the whole trip. It was truly life changing and wonderful.
A great story I have about Beijing Airport is a few hours before boarding Air China to Yibin I was sitting and an elderly lady with her daughter and her daughter’s baby sat next to me. The elderly lady got up and her daughter sat next to me with her baby. We chatted and she mentioned that she is the one who gets international films for the Chinese people and she was taking her 10-month old baby girl on her first flight. I was also her baby’s first foreigner and the baby would touch me gently and stare at me. She was cute. They were going to the Hong Kong Film Festival and the mother figured it was a short enough flight for the baby. She mentioned going to Cannes, Sundance, Toyko Film Festival, etc…. I told her why I was in China and she took my card. Just one of many lovely moments I had in China, though I wished I got her card.
Please look at the pictures below and the captions and I will continue my story in other blog posts.