Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Same tea, different pot

Dong ding oolong
When it comes to oolong teas with light oxidation, the gaiwan is the most common teaware used to prepare this tea. To achieve a higher resolution in the taste profile of this tea, I thought I might give it a try with a clay teapot. By a higher resolution, I mean tasting notes that appear in higher densities in the mouth cavity and can be felt most prominently on the tongue followed by a trail of flavours that enters the nose.

Mixed clay teapot
I confirmed the following theories with medium roasted oolongs but have yet to do the same with light oolongs. With a gaiwan, you will get a bit of everything: fruity and nutty notes with a weak aftertaste that seems detached from the roasting. When brewing medium roasted oolong in a teapot, the lighter fruity notes are felt less, the roasting presents itself more robustly, balanced with a lengthier aftertaste and  an emerging sweetness. The extent to which tea, water and teaware materials interact bears the most influence on the end result.

To brew this light oolong from Dong ding, I used a teapot made from zhuni, zisha, sandstone and yellow clay. The colour of the infusion came out stronger than one would have expected from a gaiwan and the fragrance leans a bit on the heavier side where the sweet smell clearly stands out from the rest.

The floral, fruity and grassy notes coat the tongue surface very evenly, similar to the bouquet where every flower stands out in its own little way. After a while, the flavours also extended to the back of my throat. I thought that the heaviness could be attributed to the longer aftertaste and higher resolution of this tea infusion from the pot. Compared to the gaiwan where mostly fragrant notes are emphasised, I also like today's experiment where a change in teaware has helped to reveal the other side of this tea previously unknown to me.

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