Monday, August 6, 2012

Use force if necessary

2011 Ali Shan Oolong
With tightly rolled Oolong tea balls, brewing requires more strength of pour in a controlled manner. After all,  we do not want the tea leaves to spin in all directions, resulting in a messed up brew.

Set leaves into a spin
The usual rules of engagement hold - preheating your gaiwan and cups. Meanwhile, estimate the right amount of tea to use. With a compact tea such as this Ali Shan high mountain oolong, I would recommend enough tea to cover the bottom of your gaiwan and keep enough room for the leaves to expand during infusion. This ensures maximum flavour release.

The next step involves infusing your tea leaves with a strong pour of hot water from the side of the gaiwan. This sets the tea leaves into a circular spin and helps the leaves to open up most effectively. In the first infusion, floral and delicious milky notes with a hint of umami presented themselves without hesitation. This is a sign of a successful brew.

What about unsuccessful first attempts? One will notice that the brew is not as flavoursome and somewhat muted. It is advisable to increase the strength of your pour throughout the cup, ensuring that each leaf opens up from then on.

Having said that, it is most rewarding to get it right the first time because there are limitations to salvaging a brew gone wrong when tea leaves cannot unfurl sufficiently at the first contact with water. 

No comments:

Post a Comment