There are lots of tea houses across Taiwan and they are not to be missed. Taiwanese tea drinking culture goes back centuries and has many traditions and customs associated with it. With a bit of luck, this guide will set you on the right path to understanding a bit more about them.
Visit a traditional tea house like this one in Dali District, Taichung. (See map at end of article for location)
Order your green tea and boiling water from the menu. One bag of tea can make around three pots.
Your tea set when it comes will look something like this. First off boil the kettle (brought separately). Open the tea bag and use the large wooden ‘shovel’ to place a third of the tea leaves in the teapot. Now wash the tea by pouting boiling water from the kettle into the tea pot, then pour the water straight out again into the accompanying jug. Next, pour water from the kettle for a second time. Allow the tea to steep for a few minutes, then pour it again into the jug.
Pour tea from the jug into the taller of the two tiny cups that comes with your set. Then, pour thetea from the taller cup into the fatter smaller one straight away. The purpose of the taller cup is to give you the aroma of the tea you’re drinking. So, since we’re all tea connoisseurs here, smell the tea and take a drink from the smaller cup. Be careful, it will be hot!
Empty out the used tea leaves from the tea pot into the large white pot that accompanies the set. Use the wooden pincers that come wrapped in the cloth to do so.
The tray on which the tea set arrives is hollow, so don’t worry about pouring the tea too accurately into the tiny cups. If some goes into the tray, that’s fine. You can also use the cloth on a table surface if you wish, to place the cups on for pouring the tea.
Other pictures of the tea house
Location of Dali Tea House