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Century-old Dadaocheng tea factory brought back to life

By Carol Hsieh

Staff Writer

 1. The renovated exterior of Sin Hong Choon Trade Co., Sept. 20. (Photo courtesy of DOCA).src="http://www-ws.gov.taipei/001/Upload/public/MMO/ENGCULTURE/News-tea-1.png" mmoid="174131812"/>

A vivid reminder of lives past has been recreated in the best-preserved block of Taipei’s old Dadaocheng district. Sin Hong Choon, once one of the city’s largest tea factories and trading companies, has been restored to its original 1930s splendor and turned into a living monument.

Sin Hong Choon was a tea house consisting of a warehouse, a wholesale/retail store, a tea-parching factory, and the owner’s residence. This type of commercial complex is rare in Taiwan and thus holds rich cultural and historical value.

 Cheng Chih-lung (standing, 6th from left), president of Highwealth Construction, Taipei City Deputy Mayor Chen Chin-jun (standing, 7th from left), former owner of the site Wang Kuo-chung (standing, 7th from right), and DOCA Commissioner Beatrice Hsieh (standing, 3rd from right) pose for photos with performers and other guests during a press conference, Sept. 20. (Photo courtesy of DOCA).

Wang Kuo-chung, third-generation owner of the tea factory, has donated the site to the city government. Now one of the city’s important cultural assets, the building contains over 3,000 antique artifacts and in 2009 was designated a municipal historic monument. The renovation company Highwealth Construction spent more than four years restoring the old three-story house before handing over the newly refurbished building and everything in it to DOCA. The renovation project cost a total of NT$ 80 million.

In the Sin Hong Choon tea house, we see a Taipei that was a major port for international tea trading from the late 19th to the early 20 century, said Deputy Mayor Chen Chin-jun during the grand opening of the site on Sept. 20, when Wang presented Chen with the certificate of ownership during an elaborate ceremony.

 3. A first-floor visual display showing the tea factory’s past. (Photo by Carol Hsieh).

Each of the three floors of the house various artifacts and exhibits. Miniatures showing the background of the tea industry and the stories of the local people and businesses are displayed on the first floor. On the second floor are details and highlights of the building’s renovation process. On the third floor, one can taste different types of tea and take part in hands-on activities. The house is also being used as one of the sets for the hit historical drama La Grande Chaumiere Violette.

 On the first floor, the tea-parching room with a multi-media display. (Photo courtesy of DOCA).

The exhibition will run until the end of February 2017. Until them, the site will host talks and activities on a variety of themes relating to the culture and history of Dadaocheng, including the art of tea, puppetry, folk songs, street recitals, and the construction itself. For more information, please visit the official website at http://www.xn--ygtp1tbkay43bnxtyvh.tw/.