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.  

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