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HOME > CENTRAL TAIWAN > TAICHUNG CITY > ARTS & LEISURE >
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Compass Magazine, October 2001

Chinese Tea and Traditional Chinese Music


by Cheryl Robbins


The level of enjoyment of Chinese tea is said to depend upon a number of factors such as the type of tea, the quality of the water used to brew the tea, the skill of the person brewing the tea, the surroundings, the people you are with and your emotional state. From this list, it is easy to see that enjoying Chinese tea depends a great deal on the surroundings and one's emotions. Since music is said to affect our emotions the idea of combining the Chinese tea ceremony with traditional Chinese instrumental music was born. In May of 1995, Professor Lin Ku-fong was invited to Luku to put on this township's first "Tea and Music Exchange" program, using oolong tea grown on nearby Tung-ting Mountain. Since then, a number of such programs have been held with such great success that they are now a major tourist attraction for Luku. Participating in one of these programs is a most relaxing way to spend a few hours. Experienced tea brewers prepare the tea, so that all you have to do is sit back, and enjoy the tea and the music. Below are some examples of how tea and music programs are put together:

(1) Wen Shan Pao Chung Tea: This is the most lightly fermented of the oolong teas, meaning it is lighter in color and flavor than other oolong teas. Thus, it is usually best complemented by lighter music such as that of string instruments like the zither.
(2) Tung-ting Oolong Tea: This is a semi-fermented tea, grown in the misty foothills of nearby Tung-ting Mountain. Since it is semi-fermented it possesses some of the characteristics of lighter teas and some of the characteristics of heavier teas. So, this kind of tea is best complemented by flute music which is sometimes light and playful and sometimes heavy and sad.

3) Kuei Fei Tea: This tea is the most heavily fermented of the oolong teas and is best complemented by mature, romantic music with strings as the main instruments or opera music.
In addition to holding tea and music programs, the Luku Farmers Association has developed a tea culture museum that introduces how tea is grown and processed, as well as Chinese tea ceremony classes held in an ancient-Chinese style, bamboo-paneled classroom.

For more information and a schedule of tea and music programs, contact the Luku Farmers Association (231, Chung Cheng Rd., sec. 1, Luku Hsiang (Township), Nantou County; tel. 049-2755005; fax: 049-2751007).

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