Friday, May 20, 2005

To become a teamaster

I give 3 advices to improve your tea skills:
1. Find a reliable source (like this blog) or several good books and learn the fundamentals about tea,
2. Trust your taste to judge a tea,
3. Experiment by yourself.

On tea discussion groups, I often see questions like: "At what temperature should I brew my sencha, a Japanese green tea?"
Instead of asking others this question, what would a tea student do?
1. A quick search in the Internet will tell him to use roughly 79 to 87 degrees Celcius (175-190 Fahrenheit) (quite nice that they say a range instead of a precise temperature!)
2. Secondly, he would then try to brew his tea at 79, 83 and 87 degrees Celcius.
3. Then he would trust his taste and determine at which temperature his green tea tasted best.
4. If the tea tasted best at 79 or 87 degrees, he should try to further lower or increase the temperature to find out the ideal temperature.

You'll see below in my blog that I was successful at making green tea with boiling water. But this does not mean that boiling water will automatically work for you and your tea, too. On the contrary, boling water for green tea is like driving at high speed. The better the tea, the easier, but the slightest mistake may ruin your green tea. So it's up to each of us to find out at what temperature one gets the best result with each tea.

The same can be said about water quality, teapot material, teapot size, steeping time... The best answers are those you find by practicing tea and listening to your feelings.

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