Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Tea on the rough side

For a while now I've wanted to enjoy tea on the floor without having to strain my posture too much and still allow myself ease when handling a pot or gaiwan.  Hence this setting which in the end worked out very comfortably for me. 

I have been practising my tea brewing techniques with gaiwans of various sizes and mainly working with round oolong tea balls. They look deceptively small but can grow into a foresting lump if you overlook their capacity for expansion while infusing. 

I am trying out this big gaiwan for a tea picnic soon once the weather cooperates. Its large size is good for keeping teas warm for a longer time. The deeper, wider dome helps to trap more air between the lid and the hot tea, acting as a layer of insulation. 

When handling a gaiwan, a willingness to try and practice should suffice. Videos like the following are made readily available on the web.


I am most used to handling smaller volumes of tea in medium-sized gaiwans. So it does take a bit of time to practice stretching my fingers more. By the third infusion, handling a big gaiwan has become second nature to me. Of course, this varies from person to person.

Above you can see that I did not add as much oolong as most tea shops would offer you simply because this is a very compact type of tea and requires room to open up before its aromas and full flavours can be released. Filling the gaiwan up to its brim would make it too hot for my fingers while pouring tea.

Treat your leaves well and be rewarded with an aromatic and flavoursome infusion worth every dollar you paid. This spring's Jin Xuan oolong smells very light. The flowery and milky scents are subtle. The brew is yellow-green and tasting notes progress from a soothing milky and flowery flavour to a grassy sencha-like taste. A lightly fermented tea as confirmed by the dark edges on the leaves and their general off-green appearance. 

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