Monday, August 16, 2021

Kettles For Brewing Chinese Tea


No, I do not collect tea kettles. But I own about 8 tea kettles. Why talk or write about tea kettles?  Aren't these kettles used for boiling water?

Yes, kettles are used for boiling water.  People in some parts of the world boil water for baths.  Where there is no water heater in the house, pouring a kettle or two of boiling water into a pail or tub would make bathing a warmer experience.  People in many countries boil water to sterilise the water for drinking.  Today in modern urban cities, we boil water in kettles to make hot drinks.  There are also now hot water 'on tap' where electric appliances or water dispensers can fill your mug with hot water without any waiting time.

When it comes to brewing Chinese tea, many tea drinkers and teashops would use a kettle in the tea sessions.  Having a Chinese tea session, whether by yourself or with a group of friends, is a more deliberate affair.  Tea is brewed and drunk more slowly than just 'gulp and go'. Chinese tea is unique in that a serving of tea (in this sense like 7g of oolong or pu erh) can make several infusions.  There are differences in each infusions (ever so slightly).  Each cup of tea taste different in terms of taste and aroma.  This uniqueness is further seen, when you revisit or have another session or the same tea.  The tea would have aged and taste even slightly different.

Using a right kettle or tea ware can make a tea session better.  That's what I did, I own kettles and tea ware that would make the Chinese tea I am brewing better in taste and aroma....again ever so slightly. Many tea users who used a Japanese tetsubin (cast iron) claimed the water is more smooth and 'softer' in the mouth.  There are also Chinese tea enthusiasts that believed clay kettles made the tea more vivid, amplifying the taste and aroma of the tea. There is a teashop in Malaysia that use the Hario kettle.  This stainless steel kettle was designed for drip coffee where one can control the pour of the hot water.  I enjoy using the Hario kettle as the pouring looks and felt more deliberate.

Pix shows 3 kettles.  The clay kettle is a vintage. The cover rest loosely on the rim and will rattle when the water is boiling. It is like a whistling kettle. The Japanese tetsubin has an unusual 'brown soil' colour on the exterior. It holds slightly over a litre of water; suitable for 1-2 person tea session.  The stainless steel kettle is the Hario 'drip kettle'.  It is great fun to use. 

I would try to have one tea session a day.  It gives me a mini 'get away' session from the hustle and bustle of city living. A time to contemplate or dream or just rest for a few moments from daily work.  I am happy sipping the tea for a few blissful minutes.  

Monday, August 2, 2021

An Inexpensive Tea

Good tea does not mean that the tea has to be expensive. 

If you had been reading my blog, you would had known that I sometimes bring some old Sea Dyke tea to tea meet ups and gatherings with friends. A few of my tea friends had claimed to had accumulated vast knowledge on oolong appreciation, and more often than not, will often look down on oolong brands like Sea Dyke. labelling them as cheap, inferior supermarket teas.  I will usually not tell my friends much about the tea I had brought for such gatherings.....just brew the tea and enjoy the tea.  A few oolong 'experts' will often liked the Sea Dyke tea and they go into a state of disbelief when they found out that they had drank Sea Dyke.  Many of my friends were similarly also 'tricked' thinking my older Xiaguan iron cakes were very expensive old pu erh after a tasting session (old Xiaguan tea are getting expensive and now harder to find this past 2 years).

I just opened a 2010 Sea Dyke red tin Ti Kuan Yin.  Such tea by local law had to have a expiry date, in the case 2013; where the tea are allowed to be for sale for 3 years from production. This oolong was high roasted (the Sea Dyke shui hsien are heavy roasted ).  The aroma is pleasant, like a bouquet of dried flowers, almost perfume like. Smooth and pleasant.  The 11 years of storage had given the tea a mild aged taste as well.    Good for 6 infusions.  

This tea was easy to store.  I had just kept the tea in its original packaging and had kept it away for many years in my storeroom.  I would like to suggest that you buy a couple of tins every year for the next 10 years and you will a nice stash of old oolong to drink for the following 10 years.   

I like this tea. Inexpensive. Cheap and good.