Quiet tea, talky tea

Butsuma--a space for the Buddha. Chanoma--a space where people drink tea, eat, chat.

Monday, June 6, 2011

a hidden treasure

I just came across a forgotten stash of high-quality oolong tea from a long-ago trip to Taiwan. I don't know how old it is, but it still tastes pretty good! For good quality tea, the Chinese way of brewing requires a fairly small teapot (急須 kyuusu in Japanese) that is filled around halfway with dry leaves. The first pouring is discarded, as it is thought to wash away any dust or impurities. Then, the tea can be used ten or more times. The leaves get pretty crowded as they aborb the hot water. Rather than expanding fully and releasing the flavor all at once, the tight conditions cause the flavor to come out little by little, thus several pourings are possible. The high-quality product from Taiwan is different from the ordinary oolong tea you might find in a bottle or teabag. The best grades have a color very similar to Japanese green tea. There is a rich herbal aroma, with a subtle sweetness that lingers. That is one reason to *not* add sugar to this kind of tea. I will try to get some pics going here soon.

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