Ms. Lin Mei Yen is a judge at the Lugu tea competition.
How long have you been working in the world of tea?
Actually, I have always worked in areas associated with the tea industry, but I decided to dive into it completely in 1984.
What attracted you to this profession?
I am a tea grower. I hoped to develop my competencies further by becoming a judge. I particularly wanted to acquire the knowledge and skills that would help me better understand my everyday work.
What are your daily responsibilities during a contest?
First of all, I weigh the teas and check the uniformity of the leaves. Next I examine the dry leaves (color, shape, nose) and the infused leaves, and then I taste the infusion. Finally I grade the teas.
What do you like best about your job?
The possibility of tasting high-quality teas in the company of well-qualified colleagues!
Can you tell us an anecdote or a story about your work?
Sometimes we taste several hundred teas in one day. Previously, the tasting room wasn't air-conditioned. In the afternoon the room got quite hot, and the judges could get irritable by the end of the day, which could have an adverse effect on the results ... Also, meals (rather bland with no spices) are now provided by the organization. Before, judges brought their own lunch and sometimes the food was much too spicy!
What challenges will the Taiwanese industry have to face going forward?
It is essential that growers work to preserve the unique style of their teas, of their region. Here, in Lugu, thanks to this kind of contest, we are particularly keen to promote firing wulong teas, which represents the distinctive mark with which the grower signs his tea.
What is your favorite tea?
I love to brew Bao Zhong-style wulong teas according to the gong fu cha tradition. I also like Bi Luo Chun green tea.
How would you define a good tea?
The most important thing is a balance between the aromas and the flavors. The liquid must fill the mouth as well as being tasty and smooth in the throat.