Readers of my blog will know that I love everything tea. When I got the chance to check out the Nantou Global Tea Expo (南投世界茶業博覽會 / nan tou shi jie cha ye bo lan hui), I was super excited to taste a few new teas. Little did I know just what was in store.
Our day started simply trying to find the location of the expo located in Chung Hsing New Village (中興新村 / zhong xing xin cun). We drove back and forth along 14乙 (Highway 14), before we finally made the correct turn onto Zhongxue Road (中學路 / zhong xue lu). The Nantou Global Tea Expo, featuring vendors from all around the world, is located on the grounds of the local large playground (中興大操場 / zhong xing da cao chang) and meeting hall (中興會堂 / zhong xue hui tang). After around 10 minutes of searching for parking, we walked to the main entrance where we were greeted by a man handing out maps (carrying peacock feathers in his backpack).
The expo takes place in over a dozen large tents set-up around the playground race track. Each tent has its own focus including different types of tea, food items made from tea, tea plant showcase, tea serving tools, and local food items.
I thought this wall was super cool. Cool enough to take a photo with it. Trying all of these teas would be, amazing!
Due to the slight heat outside, people pretty much walked quickly between cooled tents. Here are some of the sites we saw:
The writing was a little small, but I loved seeing the difference in look and price of all these teas. Are there any here that stand out to you? I’m always curious just how tea producers roll their tea, given how nicely and tightly, so many of the balls are rolled.
There were a bunch of charts like this in one of the tents. It never really occurred to me that the taste of tea could be broken down like this, but here we are. I would say that I’m on the high end for a lot of these characteristics.
One of the tents had a variety of tea-related food items to try. We snacked on a tea egg, a few samples of tea products, and got both a brown rice milk tea and oriental beauty milk tea popsicle to eat while wandering around the expo.
We also picked up a chilled tea because the bottle and cold tea, was just too hard to pass up. It also didn’t help that the shop keeper was a little old lady who was quite the salesperson.
Another tent had live plants and a description of the tea. This one features one of my favorite Taiwanese teas, Dong Ding Oolong Tea which is a type of blue/green tea (青茶 / qing cha). If you ever get the chance to try Dong Ding, I highly recommend it. It’s especially good with pineapple cake from Sunny Hill.
The main part of the Nantou Global Tea Expo looks like this—aisles and aisles of vendors selling all kinds of tea.
The vendor names are on the top of each booth along with a number, making it slightly easier to find what you’re looking for.
For me, it was sensory overload. I wish I knew more of what I was looking for, as this might have made exploring this part of the expo a little easier. Still, it was fun to go around and see just how much people can care about their tea.
You might also notice that many people carry their own little drinking cups around. We didn’t bring our own, so we resorted to carrying around disposable paper cups that were given to us at an earlier booth.
Here’s a tea-making course where it looks like people are learning how to roll their tea, in preparation for the fermentation or drying process. There were many courses to check out, but by the time we found out about them, most of them were already filled.
In addition to tents featuring everything tea-related, there was one tent that had local dry foods. So many noodles to try!
Outside, closer to the meeting hall, there was an amazing open-air tent that had local produce. They gave samples of a bunch of fresh fruit, vinegar, oils, etc. I had some of the tastiest passion fruit here, that they were just halving and giving as samples with a tiny plastic spoon. So good!
The hall featured these huge pieces used to prepare and serve tea. They were showcased, rightly so, as if they were art.
From the ornate to the simple, I loved seeing how people chose to serve their tea.
Right outside of the meeting hall, there were a variety of teawares for purchase. I picked up some tea containers to store my tea. Given the price that I would have got them, state-side, they were a steal to me.
This was what we saw on the way out. It was a fun way to end our tea expo experience.
All in all, I would recommend checking out the Nantou Global Tea Expo, especially if you’re in the area and love tea. There are a bunch of vendors making it possible to find exactly what you want. My only regret is not getting a nice osmanthus tea that one vendor had. Next time!
If you were to drop by, what type of tea would you be on the lookout for?