Wednesday, December 6, 2017

On rinsing teas.. a rarely heard voice contrary to mainstream.

This isn't my tea pet. Why? When brewing, I do not rinse my teas. Technically speaking, this piece of ceramic will rarely touch tea, only hot water that goes into the wastewaster bowl. Nevertheless, it will still glow with time.
If the tea is good enough, why rinse? Conversely, if you do not feel confident about your teas and would like to give it a slight rinse, why bother brewing it in the first place? Afterall, gongfu tea brewing is only reserved for teas of trusted provenance.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Fragrant, clear, sweet, and alive

Hello hello, I have been well, and alive but severely neglected my blog until recently. To make up for this long period of writing drought, here is an article about Wuyi Mountain tea, adapted from Teaparker's blog.

Wuyi tea is produced in Fujian Province, China, and thrives on rock gravel. It is naturally full bodied in aftertaste. This coupled with its unique processing that includes re-roasting, packing, re-firing and other tedious steps, is more than enough to make this tea more refined, and its aroma purer, resulting in a rather unique taste with mineral notes and floral scents. 

Wuyi tea is particulary affected by its roasting. The finished product in season still bears the marks of fire roasting that render it unpalatable. 

奇种 2016 年制
Copyright © 2017 Miss Tea Delight 茶悦人生
If tea roasting is not executed precisely, the resulting tea will taste burnt and likely very bitter, hence the saying: Wuyi tea is consumed only in the year that follows its production. 

In his "Fujian tea song”, Qing Zhou Lianggong wrote: "Although YuQian (a period before the rainy season) tea is good, it is too new, let not your lips even come close to this tea until its fiery flare has receded, keeping this tea in storage till it evolves into a crimson red would allow its value to quadruple over the years. Every tea merchant starts to sing to the tune of old teas."

Selling Wuyi Yancha from the last year has its origins in history. Tea production areas in the past did not enjoy the convenience of different transportation modes. Through the mountains and pass the rivers, transportation takes up at least half a year’s time before tea reaches the hands of merchants and consumers. 

Tea farmers devised the method of preserving tea through roasting to ensure tea quality. In combination with Wuyi tea leaves mineral notes and full-bodied aftertaste, roasting and sufficient time to rest allowed this tea to transform and evolve into a better tasting product. The essence of Wuyi tea roasting with appropriate storage especially highlights the four cardinal qualities of fragrance, clarity, sweetness, and liveliness in this tea. 

Saturday, August 9, 2014

The 'NO label tea' movement - an objective approach to tea tasting

As a tea-practitioner who reads beyond labels, I am initiating the 'NO label tea' movement to promote a relatively more objective and rational approach to tea appreciation and degustation.

To start the ball rolling, simply purchase a 10 g mini sampler pack of my 'NO label tea' at 9 USD each (inclusive of shipping), write to me: about your thoughts and tasting notes of the mystery tea sample mailed to you, and stand a chance to win for yourself any 20 g or 30 g tea packs from my bou-TEA-que selection of your choice!

#nolabeltea #teamovement

 To improve your chances of winning and most importantly to encourage objective tea-tasting methods, ten best entries will be selected :) Can't wait!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Qilaishan Spring 2013 Oolong

Ever-lasting freshness of spring
A spoonful of high-mountain goodness
Cool chaxi hues on a summer day..
1. Colour changes at the rim 2.Water dries up 3. Tea is ready!
The last drop.
Relishing the dewy scents of Mount Qilai..
..followed by a subtle yet complex aftertaste.
Clarity and luminosity - traits of a high quality brew
Fresh, lively and soothing oolong tea notes
A harmonious brew satisfies any thirsty soul
Only the right teas can inspire the right photos - thanks for reading :)

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Alishan soft-stemmed oolong

Olive green chabu and fresh oolong - what a match!
What this world needs in this day and age is some peace, tranquility and time-out from the press. An olive green keffiyeh seemed like the best choice of chabu for today's chaxi. Green also happens to be my favourite colour since it soothes our tired eyes.

For the purpose of comparing materials, I opted for a porcelain teapot today, something that is more readily available than a Zhuni teapot. 'He' is a big guy (roughly four cups of tea) with enough room for these tightly-rolled oolong balls to unfurl. Gong fu cha brewing is always about extracting the best fragrances, taste and flavours from your teas. For this to happen, tea leaves must always be opened by the strength of our pour and heat from freshly boiled water.

The pre-heating step also gives us a clue if the pot might be too big or too small to fill all three cups. In this case, I would have to adjust my infusion volume to a lesser amount. Doing so helps us to avoid the issue of  '等杯', waiting for cups to empty the teapot.

With three cups of tea nicely filled, one could take time to reflect on his pouring skills (all part and parcel of the Gong fu cha package ;-)) - how much tea dripped and how even is the tea concentration in every cup. Such reflection actually brings the essence of gongfu tea brewing back into focus if you are seeking to improve your techniques.

In my few short years of studying gongfu cha, I have come to realise that attention to detail and a high level of concentration form the core of converting techniques to excellent tea brewing skills!

With a porcelain teapot, tea notes appear to be gently skipping on my tongue with a bright, clean taste. The relatively long aftertaste coats the tongue evenly like rich butter. The scent of green apples fills the breath as I exhale.

The right teas always require the right teaware, and the right teaware doesn't always come with a big price tag to beat.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Open-faced green tea brew

Tasting this year's fresh Biluochun from Lin Hwa Tai tea shop
Fresh, lively and sweet, almost transparent brew
The metallic sheen on my pewter coasters imparts a very cool sensation on today's chaxi
Summer's heat is long gone