Da Wan Pao Cha
Dà wǎn pào chá (大碗泡茶 – Big Bowl Tea) is a way of brewing tea that comes from the rural traditions of Taiwan. It is a custom of the Hakka people of Taiwan’s Miaoli county, and is meant to show kindness to weary travelers passing by on foot.
Big Bowl Tea is made by simply putting a few tea leaves in a large bowl of hot water. It does not involve any complicated procedures or specialized equipment. This method of brewing tea is associated with San Wan Township in Miaoli County, so the name Da Wan Pao Cha immediately brings to mind this particular area of Taiwan.
In Taiwan’s rural past, most people traveled on foot. Kind-hearted farmers living along the roadsides would prepare Big Bowl Tea for weary passersby. The tea was left in small shelters where anyone could stop for a rest.
Sometimes Big Bowl Tea is made with rice husks spread on the surface of the brewed tea. This was to discourage travelers from hastily drinking the tea, because the rice husks would have to be pushed aside before the tea could consumed. The husks were a reminder to slow down and breathe easily before rushing off again. They also add a nutritional boost to the tea.
The days of leaving tea by the roadside have long since passed, but the tradition of serving Big Bowl Tea to guests is still alive. It is a symbol of generosity and hospitality, a simple gesture of respect and a willingness to help those in need.