Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Boiling vs. boiling - the devil is in the detail

Lately I've been weaning myself off the ever so convenient electric kettle in favour of this sweet little thing - the Teochew long-handled pot and stove set. Why? In theory, water that is brought to a slow boil from the heat of glowing hot coal tastes uniformly hotter, softer and more refined. Time to 'test the waters'!

This being a very delicate set of pottery, boiling is not easy to detect - no obvious crab or fish eye bubbles, little sound and only a trace of steam quietly emanating from the spout. Once boiling takes place, I poured water into the teapot and prepared some mixiang red tea.

The result was a beautiful bond between tea and water. Quoting from one of my most important lessons in tea, a tea that scores only 8/10 will result in a perfect score infusion when brewed using good water. Conversely, a perfect tea score of 10/10 will result in a brew that scores only 8/10 when subpar water is used. This highlights the importance of water quality and the way it is prepared.

Traditional nonya sweets and a red tea pairing
Starting at close to sunset, the whole process took a little more time than usual but the results were pleasing and very encouraging. I will do this more often (hopefully).

Further reading: Palina Chan's article in Chinese (http://www.teaparker.com/2014/06/blog-post_10.html)

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