I’ve spent the last week or so in Taipei, staying with some friends in the city.
On the whole, I’ve enjoyed it here although the city doesn’t really compare my the time spent staying in MiaoLi (an hour’s drive to the south). MiaoLi was surrounded by mountains and felt much closer to nature, but Taipei has proved enjoyable in a different way.
I’ve spent some time taking in the usual cultural museums and sights, but also made plenty of time for tea, cleaning out most of my remaining funds with the plethora of old puerh and beautiful old teapots and teaware that’s on offer for quite reasonable prices.
It seems, if the money is available, most vintages of puerh are available if one finds the right people. They often won’t be displayed to the public, but if you get chatting with the owner of some teahouses/tea shops, they’ll often have a stash of really good stuff in a room in the back.
I’ve seen many silver kettles, tetsubins, antique pots, a variety of Hong Yin’s (50’s Red Mark), some antique (1900’s-40’s) puerhs and many 60’s, 70’s & 80’s bings.
Beside the commercial aspects, many of these tea shop owners are happy to meet a westerner who appreciates puerh and often are willing to brew up some of these old cakes for us to drink together.
One place of note for me has been Wisteria Tea House. This recently reopened following a year of refurbishment, and is a beautiful oasis to wile away a few hours from the hubbub of the streets.
On the menu are several vintage puerhs, a few young ones and many new and old oolongs of different varieties.
The surroundings are elegant, with a tatami room being my place of choice. Low tables, good teaware & water collected from a mountain stream all add to the tea experience. We drank several old teas we’d brought ourselves including some ’58/60 (depending on who you ask) GuanYun Gong and a couple of 80’s tuocha. With a reasonable charge for water, you’re left to drink tea as you please with no feeling of being rushed at all, even for a few hours.
I can highly recommend a visit to this place to fellow tea travellers coming through Taipei.