I recently went to Taipei for a quick break, and of course, planned the trip in such a way to try all things tea there. I love the tea culture in Taiwan – it’s so vibrant, with a good mix of tradition and trendiness. Here are my favorite tea times in this beautiful city.
#3: Traditional Tea in a Mall
I’ll never forget the first cup of tea I had in Taipei. It was in a little tea kiosk at the basement level of a shopping mall called Taiwanese Tea House. The staff meticulously brewed my Shan Lin Xi oolong using traditional Chinese tea equipment and steeped it to absolute perfection. I really like the presentation, too, where dried oolong leaves are placed in an aromatic burner and there’s that delicious, toasty smell of tea leaves to accompany the drinking experience.
#2: A Hip High Tea
smith&hsu is a popular tea café chain in Taiwan and it’s easy to see why with its contemporary, indie vibe. Its high tea is incredibly popular and requires advance booking (and there’s also a limit of two hours sipping time). Besides the fact that they serve fantastic scones, what I really appreciate is the sheer variety of tea offered here, from the fun, fruity herbal infusions to the serious Chinese teas. The minute you sit down, a huge tray of sniffing jars is plonked in front of you so that you can immediate commence your tea exploration. It’s the perfect spot to catch up with friends over tea.
I went to Maokong, a tea plantation area at the outskirts of the city. There are many teahouses there, and after a little hike, I found a teahouse with a lovely alfresco area on its upper level, and brewed my own Wen Shan Bao Zhong oolong while taking in the breathtaking scenic view. I also ordered green tea fried rice for lunch – it was absolutely delicious with the hints of umami from the tiny shreds of tea! I count this as one of my all-time favorite moments of solitude.
I love tea trips and can’t wait for the next one!
Images courtesy of the author.