The 3rd Taiwan Tea Ceremony Competition organized by the Taiwan Tea Art Culture Association (TTAC) will be held on Oct. 13 at the National Taiwan Craft Research and Development Institute's (NTCRI) cultural park in Nantou County. The Tea Ceremony Competition is known as the "Wulin Alliance" of the Taiwanese tea industry, a reference derived from popular wuxia literature where master martial artists gather together to duel for the top spot.
The competition originated in the imperial Tang Dynasty and prevailed through the Song Dynasty as the "tea-tasting battle." Born from the traditional origins of tea, TTAC aims to refine the cultural interpretation of the Tea Ceremony Competition and to further preserve and promote Taiwan's unique tea culture and related festivities.
Registration has been very enthusiastic this year, and in a short amount of time, nearly 80 tea artisans have signed up to participate. The Tea Ceremony Competition will be judged on tea-making techniques, with the jury committee conducting a blind taste test on each participating tea. The judges will take into consideration the tea’s appearance, distinctive aroma, taste, and overall presentation aesthetics.
Director of NTCRI Hsu Keng-hsiu (許耿修) stated that tea culture is an important national heritage of Taiwan, owing to the nation's rich variety of high-quality teas and integration with fine craftsmanship of tea wares and utensils. He also expressed delight to have the Tea Ceremony Competition moved to Nantou for the first time. By partaking in intricate and ritualistic tea ceremonies, visitors will experience the beauty and vibrancy of Taiwanese tea culture, Hsu added.
TTAC also invited Section Director Lin Jm-chih (林金池) of the Council of Agriculture's Tea Research and Extension Station (TRES) to chair the jury committee. The jury committee is comprised of professional tea specialists, each with many years of tea-competition-judging experience to allow for undisputed credibility and authority.
In addition to the winners of the Tea Ceremony Competition, the jury committee will also select ten participants who will be given the Jury Choice Awards based on the best tea mat design, best attire, and best design incorporating cross-cultural elements. Interwoven with generational knowledge and contemporary creativity, the Tea Ceremony Competition will encourage cultural exchanges and strengthen public understanding of Taiwan's tea culture.
The competition is being held as part of the 2019 Nantou Global Tea Expo, which is taking place from Oct. 10 through 20 in central Taiwan.