Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Alishan soft-stemmed oolong

Olive green chabu and fresh oolong - what a match!
What this world needs in this day and age is some peace, tranquility and time-out from the press. An olive green keffiyeh seemed like the best choice of chabu for today's chaxi. Green also happens to be my favourite colour since it soothes our tired eyes.

For the purpose of comparing materials, I opted for a porcelain teapot today, something that is more readily available than a Zhuni teapot. 'He' is a big guy (roughly four cups of tea) with enough room for these tightly-rolled oolong balls to unfurl. Gong fu cha brewing is always about extracting the best fragrances, taste and flavours from your teas. For this to happen, tea leaves must always be opened by the strength of our pour and heat from freshly boiled water.

The pre-heating step also gives us a clue if the pot might be too big or too small to fill all three cups. In this case, I would have to adjust my infusion volume to a lesser amount. Doing so helps us to avoid the issue of  '等杯', waiting for cups to empty the teapot.

With three cups of tea nicely filled, one could take time to reflect on his pouring skills (all part and parcel of the Gong fu cha package ;-)) - how much tea dripped and how even is the tea concentration in every cup. Such reflection actually brings the essence of gongfu tea brewing back into focus if you are seeking to improve your techniques.

In my few short years of studying gongfu cha, I have come to realise that attention to detail and a high level of concentration form the core of converting techniques to excellent tea brewing skills!

With a porcelain teapot, tea notes appear to be gently skipping on my tongue with a bright, clean taste. The relatively long aftertaste coats the tongue evenly like rich butter. The scent of green apples fills the breath as I exhale.

The right teas always require the right teaware, and the right teaware doesn't always come with a big price tag to beat.

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