Kaohsiung - Meeting Girlfriend's parents, need to find high-quality Tea

Just you need to understand there are different flavours and do you want green tea or black tea. Or maybe some of both? Good luck in the tea shops.

It’s good advice, @jmmrmn, the black/green distinction is kind of important. Ask the GF which one her parents usually drink

I suggest buy to buy Lishan tea. 1500NTD for one pack.

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Where to get in ktown?

just do a search on the internet… I found this and many others. I don’t know any of these businesses

You can’t go wrong with TWG in the basement of the Hanshin Mall Kaohsiung Arena. I’m not sure if they sell any locally sourced teas, but you can be assured it’s a prestigious brand.

This might be a deal breaker for some:


Pretty overt too, they repeat it! If they really wanted to be “clever” they’d use that geo-IP functionality to adjust wording across the site depending on the location. As it stands they are simply coming right out and saying they prefer “pooh-er”. :noway:


Why would that be a deal-breaker? Taiwan is a Province of (the Republic of) China, isn’t it?

Try Eco Cha. One of the founders is a guy named Andy Kincart. You can Google him and learn more about his business.

Also Stéphane Erler of Taiwan Tea Masters might be able to help.

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Taiwan, Province of (the Republic of) China.

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She said her parents typically drink white teas (白茶). They also don’t drink green but sometimes enjoy black teas, such as oolong (although my research says this may be a blend of the two?).

Ok, so you’re looking for a white tea or an oolong, and not looking for regular green or black at all. That’ll help you shrink the wall when you go to one of the suggested shops

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Something of a tea nerd checking in

Many Taiwanese don’t know good tea from mediocre. Not trying to shit on them but it’s not wrong. Think about a beverage or dish from your home – beer perhaps. It’s a cultural item, something for conversation over, but not everyone has the same desire to 品茶 and nerd out about it

So first off: assess what equipment they have for brewing. If they’ve got a 蓋碗, a smaller brownish clay teapot, a small pitcher for pouring the tea into cups, maybe 雙杯 if they’re really into it, they might be more into tea for the sake of tea. If they just got a bigger tea pot/ an “easy gaiwan”, etc. – they probably just like it as a formality. If it’s the former, you’ll want to try and get the good quality of a certain 品種 instead of going for a cheaper bigger name tea. If they’re more casually into it, a lower quality 梨山高山茶 isn’t a poor choice – Lishan is a big name and a high quality tea mountain. Alternatively, a cheaper – but not too cheap – 東方美人/白毫烏龍 is a good choice. Both are perceived as fancier and nicer, in my experience. But if they’re really into tea, get a good tea of a less famous varietal. If you were up here in TC, I could recommend a local shop I go to. In KS, well, I’ve no knowledge of the area so :man_shrugging:

If they don’t let you try and brew a certain tea, it’s either way too expensive or they’re just shoddy. When tasting, keep in mind balance of flavor – I can’t give you a tea by tea guide, but some general notes:

If it’s a roasted oolong (mostly 洞頂 although all varietals can be roasted), make sure to assess how well the other flavors hold up with the roasting. You’ll know of it’s overroasted, as it’ll just taste like the roasting (a very pleasant nutty flavor. For 高山茶, avoid ones that taste too grassy generally. Lishan tea should be a bit vegetal – I always say it’s got a strong snap pea note – but normal high mtn tea is generally lightly sweet, somewhat floral, and with a nice bit of umami on the center of the palate. For many of the more oxidized oolongs, check for 回甘 – returning sweetness. It’ll usually be in the back of the mouth and the throat. That’s a sign of a good tea, generally speaking. If you go for a 紅玉, it should have a bit of a menthol-minty fresh flavor to it along with a decent bit of body, and avoid it if it’s just tasting harsh. Again, you’ll know it when you taste it probably. It’ll be pretty overwhelming, and really give the tea an excessive Amt of body but not of a good kind. If you get a 包種, it should definitely have some stronger floral notes. Err on the side of caution with bitterness, as it might be harshness that you’re just not experienced enough in drinking to recognize, and because describing a tea as having bitter flavors carries a bit of a negative connotation for some strange reason.

Moving on to appearance. 高山茶 should come in small – but mostly not too small, think like a pea size – ball. If it’s smaller, it’s machine rolled. Not inherently bad but a consideration. 包種 is kinda like a tight curl, as is 東方美人. Anything else should probably be kinda like curly sticks, unless you’ve found sth from the mainland or A Taiwanese white tea. After brewing, check the leaves – if they’re all kinds of different colors, that suggests the drying and oxidization process might’ve had issues, and pair that with a mediocre taste is a no go. Black tea should be dark brown, duh. White tea will have a variety of tan and brown colors. If u get a 東方美人,look for some thin white hairs on the dry leaf. This isn’t exclusive to it, bit it’s a good sign. 洞頂 should be darker brown and a bit off green. If the edges of the leaves on these oolongs are a bit chewed up – good. They’ve been abused properly. Esp for 東美. If by rare chance you happen across a Taiwanese green like a 碧螺春,

I’ll ask the tea guy I know if he has any recs for KS and report back.


Seeing they like white tea suggests they’re probably into tea. It’s fairly uncommon here in TW. so I’d err on the side of getting a decent tea but not a 東美 or 梨山 unless you’re willing to spend the money. Id also avoid 洞頂 – it’s a great tea but they might not like the roasting.

Try and get something from spring 春. those are commonly considered to be the best.

For a decent tea, you’ll prob be looking at 500 for 1-200g. One bag of nice stuff is a good start

Update: tea guy got back to me. He owns a tea shop and I frequent it so I trust him, take that as it is.

Should be good

I would feel safe buying most anything there, so just base it on price point. If u want to get a small (75g or so) bag of a nicer one, they’ll probably recognize that as quality stuff hence the smaller bag maybe.


Erler’s tea is quality, but it’s damn pricey. He’s very selective but yeah… I do think he overprices a bit, personally.

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Send me a pic of what u get or tag me, I can give u some choice adjectives to describe it if needed to give yourself the shine of knowing what ur getting​:rofl::rofl:. Probably want to go for an oolong. Oolong is indeed between black tea. Think of it as percents. If white tea is 0-5% oxidization, green 5-15%, oolong makes up the space from like 15-80/85%. So it’s very diverse. To this you can add mountain distinction (阿里山,大禹嶺,梨山 are gonna be most common, others exist…) and optionally classify it as either a 青心 (more common) or 金萱 – if it mentions this on the package u can mention it, if not, assume qingxin or just don’t mention it ( always a safe option). This all applies for 高山茶

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I’m sure you’re aware that’s not the meaning.

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One China, different interpretations.

The PRC interprets “China” as the PRC. Taiwan interprets it as the ROC.