Maokong, The Closest Tea Garden in Taipei City
You can easily enjoy Maokong tea garden in less than 50 minutes travel time from Taipei city. The best way to travel is via the MRT (subway) travel North to Taipei Zoo Station and take the scenic mountain cable car to Maokong Station. Maokong became part of the WenShan Tea Garden 200 years ago.The name Maokong is translated from Taiwanese as a hole in stone which was eroded by water taking hundreds of years. Although Maokong is around 400 meters above sea level, its temperature, soil and geography are ideal for tea trees. Tea Master Chang Nai-Miao brought Iron Goddess (Tie Kuan Yin) trees in 1895 and started his tea business. Currently, you can see the tea masters in Maokong all have the same family name. The Taipei government also built a ‘Taipei Tea (Tie Kuan Yin and Pouchong) Promotion Centre’ here to introduce the tea making process and offer tea tasting to public. On my next blog, I will talk more about how to make Tie Kuan Yin tea.
Since the cable car came into service in 2007, increasing the numbers of tea houses and restaurants have opened for business on the mountainside. I still prefer the east side of Maokong to get a peaceful corner for myself. There are several hiking routes to enjoy the beauty of the tea garden, pear trees and cherry blossom. Yao Yue Teahouse is one of my favourite teahouses in Maokong discovered during my university days. It is located close to a stream coursing along the side of a valley. I am surrounded by forest and the sound of birds humming away. They provide a comfortable area for customers, including outdoors pavilions and bamboo houses. The meals comes with tea flavours, such as tea wine chicken and hot Jinxuan soup. It reminds me that my student age and rode the scooter at night and spent a lovely night with classmates, we chatted, drank tea and hot instant noodles. No alcohol, very different from Britain student life, right?