Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Summer's green teas - Long Jing

Green teas make for great heat diffusers in summer. Their cool and fresh taste prove to have won the hearts and minds of tea lovers. The perfect hot weather recipe to get over dizzy spells and a placating drink for the increasingly hot tempered as I speak from experience. 

Having just returned from the coast, a delicious green brew was badly needed to moisten my parched throat and dry mouth. To pamper myself, I picked the sweetest available green tea also known as Long Jing or Dragon Well tea. Depending on tea grades, the methods for preparing green tea can vary. I borrow the  sports car concept, cruising on the highway in an Alfa Romeo at 90 km/h would be a shame and a complete disregard of its best at 200 km/h. The grade of tea I have selected is of a good quality known as the Shi Feng Long Jing. Hence, it would be a waste not to prepare this tea with higher brewing temperatures in the high 90s up to 100 degrees Celsius.

Because of the age of this tea (2 years old now,) I needed to restore some degree of freshness by allowing it some rest time (30 - 40 minutes) in an old seed jar. Indeed, the magic of time never stops to amaze me, not to mention what storing tea for longer periods of time can do to your teas. The flavours will improve and you achieve a longer aftertaste for the time invested in tea storage. 

Pre-heating of your tea cups and gaiwan is a necessary first step before moving on to brewing tea. Some methods of infusing medium grade green teas include partially filling your gaiwan with hot water, throwing in the leaves and then fill the rest of the gaiwan with hot water. For a high grade tea, the process involves adding tea leaves into a preheated gaiwan and then fill with hot water, gently pouring in from the sides of the gaiwan. 

The leaves are fairly flat and do not require much strength of pour from the hot water to open up. It is a delight to see these tiny green rafts floating in my gaiwan and gradually revealing their true form. 

The brew looks deceptively light, but tastes very sweet, nutty and rounded. Combine this with the aromas under the lid and the experience is a very rewarding one.


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