Sunday, March 17, 2013

Spring beginnings - Muzha TGY

Be it in Europe or the Far East, it is very popular in many cultures to welcome the change of seasons. At the flower market, I got myself a palma stalk made from dried plants. The warm colours on my palma stalk are a reminder of the sunnier days to come.

I am brewing a heavily roasted Tie Guan Yin from Muzha, Taiwan. The tea leaves have certainly mellowed in the last 12 months and fruitier notes start to surface. They were originally there before but were felt less significantly due to the roasting.

Besides time, other ways of reducing the intensity of a tea's roasting is by shaking the tea leaves a few times in a preheated pot before adding freshly boiled water. This method is by far the most effective with immediate results.

Instant gratification aside, it is also interesting to note what a year's storage can do to my tea leaves. The roast fades away progressively with the passing of time, but not entirely so. There is just enough of it left behind. This blends into the overall flavour and taste which complements the tea's sweetness.

Heavily fruity and lightly sweet in light concentration
I had tea in two stages: from the top of the pot where the infusion is diluted and then mix in more concentrated portions of tea. The experience felt like brewing two teas in one pot. The lighter version of this Tie Guan Yin felt very much like a fruity oolong. The tea hits the nose with scents of fleshy fruits but also leaves very quickly like a palate cleanser. It did not taste like a heavy roasted Tie Guan Yin at all. Significant fruity notes took me by surprise but the aftertaste was not very obviously felt.

Full-bodied tea with a balance of fruity scents and roasted sweetness
Tipping the concentration level to the heavier end of the scale, I obtained both fruity and sweet notes at once. The tea tasted less brisk and fruity. Instead, a nicely intense cup of tea took over followed by a very soothing aftertaste. When brewing the same tea repeatedly over time, we cannot expect to replicate the same taste or flavour profile because tea leaves are dynamic and can evolve either for the worse or better depending on storage conditions and brewing techniques. So, regard every brewing session as a new beginning that may surprise your palates!

Handmade craquelure blush chawan

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