Jonhsing Village in Nantou County is the site for the 2010 World Tea Expo that opened this past weekend in Taiwan. Over 10 countries are represented, including China, United States, South Korea, and Japan.
Organized by the Nantou County Government, the World Tea Expo is being held to showcase Taiwan's excellent tea producing regions. By featuring teas from other countries, visitors could have a better understanding of different tea cultures and help market Nantou region teas.
The World Tea Expo has numerous local tea farmers, crafters, food booths, and farmers market type vendors. Opening day of the festival included a special tea party where over 2,000 attendees got to experience an outdoor tea ceremony.
Tea is a very important part of the Taiwanese culture and cuisine from this region. Tea is part of almost every meal and is often incorporated into various culinary creations and traditional snack foods consumed on the island.
Nantou Couny Teas
Tucked away in central Taiwan, Nantou County is the second largest county and the only one completely landlocked. Nantou's favorable climate and mountainous topography present ideal growing conditions for a variety of agricultural products, especially tea.
Nantou County is the largest tea-producing region in Taiwan and is often considered the "hometown of tea". The region's Dongding Oolong tea is world-famous. The Dongding Oolong is a green-style, medium-oxidized tea that has a light floral nose, with a hint of fruitiness. The flavor is robust and full bodied, with a long-lasting finish.
Other notable regions in Nantou county include Sun Moon Lake and the Puli Township. Sun Moon Lake is a popular tourist destination, and also a producer of excellent teas, and some of the best Chinese Tea Eggs found on the island. Puli is known for its big winery and its Assam black tea production.
Nantou Tea Expo Review
With no formal address, tourists looking for the World Tea Expo were to rely on roadside banners to direct them to the park where the Expo was taking place. The opening June 19-20 weekend happened to be one of the warmest weekends this year and three-quarters of the Expo was outdoors. Parking was fairly non-existent at 5:00 p.m. and afternoon festival attendees were forced to scour streets blocks away in hopes of finding someone pulling out of a space.
Booths lined the large park area featuring numerous tea vendors from Nantou County who were all selling their newest production teas. Many vendors showcased the signature Nantou Dongding Ooolong, while a few had the Sun Moon Lake Assam black tea. Almost every booth was packed with people tasting teas and taking advantage of gift packs and show specials.
Food stalls and craft booths were plentiful as people enjoyed local Taiwanese snack foods and a few delicacies made with tea leaves, like the Chinese tea eggs. Items like Taiwanese sausages, stinky tofu, and various tea drinks were the most commonly purchased items.
Several small buildings housed some of the international tea information, with one building dedicated to decorative tea rooms from countries like South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan. There were lists where guests could sign up in hopes of enjoying some tea in one of these gorgeous rooms.
Unfortunately, English signage and information was virtually non-existent, except for the large map on display outside the grounds. Since the show was advertised to be a "world expo" and featured numerous non-Mandarin speaking countries, it came as quite a surprise to find no English information or assistance, which is contrary to most other expos and conventions held in Taiwan.
Where to Buy Taiwan Teas
The export of Taiwan teas is plentiful and numerous stores and websites sell nearly every popular variety of teas grown on the island. When looking for online tea retailers, consider checking out the following websites: Republic of Tea, Tea From Taiwan, and TC Formosa Tea Company.