Here we are for another week of Wanderfood Wednesday kindly hosted by Wanderlust and Lipstick.
When was the last time you got to sip on $400.00 tea? As a budget traveler, who even though I never object to a splurge now and again, I can say never. However, that all changed a couple of weeks ago when I attended the Mungyeong Traditional Tea Bowl Festival in the tiny city of Mungyeong-si (si means city in Korean). One of the highlights was to try the many different teas on offer.
The Koreans are well known for their green tea production and for producing tea from various flowers and other plants. However, when it comes to black tea they usually import it from China. The black tea we were served was Puerh (or Puer) grown in Yunnan, China. I loved watching the owner of the first tea shop prepare the tea for drinking. He boiled the water and then to heat the teapot he poured the boiling water over the pot several times. Then in went the leaves, and not in a strainer. Finally, tea was poured over the pot.
The first tea was nine years old, and a round 6″ disk of tea (about 1/2 an inch thick) was $400.00! The tea was fantastic, and I sipped as many as he offered. Then we tried one that was eight years old, and another that was two years old. The eight year old tea could be bought for 150.00 and the 2 year old for 40.00. All were good, but I must say I liked the 400.00 tea the best. Too bad I couldn’t have done a blind taste test!
The tea “round” on the left is 9 years old and sells for $400.00(US), and the other was 8 years old selling for $150.00(US).
At my next stop I also drank Puerh Tea. The young lady serving the tea here spoke excellent English. This particular Puerh sold for $100.00 (US) The tea server here informed me that this tea is very popular with rich Europeans.
Next, it was time to move onto Taiwan where we were served delicious red tea. This particular spot was very busy, and we didn’t get into tea prices. Although, I am sure the tea was not cheap.
In Taiwanese tea drinking the tea is first poured into the tallish cup. Then it’s covered with the short, round cup. Lastly you turn the two cups very quickly and the tea is transferred into the short round cup. I did this without spilling a drop. I was amazed!
Finally, we were treated to a traditional Korean tea ceremony. This is one that I know and love. Korean green tea is served by female servers dressed in beautiful Korean hanbok, along with dainty Korean cookies. The ceremony is both elegant and calming.
If you are ever in Korea during May, head to the tiny city of Mungyeong-si and enjoy some tea tasting at the Mungyeong Traditional Tea Bowl Festival (click to visit the website). Admission along with all the tea you can drink is FREE.
You can learn more about the delicious Puer tea here.
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