Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Silver and iron kettle comparison

Yesterday, at a friend's house, I had the chance to drink old puerh made with spring water boiled with burning (longyan wood) charcoal on a Nilu similar to the one I have (picture on the left). Each time I drink tea boiled with charcoal fire, it tastes rounder and sweeter than usual. Using this traditional way changes the whole atmosphere. A little bit like BBQ means 'party', burning charcoals warms more than just the water...

Then, as I noticed that my friend had both a tetsubin and an old Japanese silver kettle (picture below), so I proposed that we compare the water boiled from both kettles.


Boiled in the (unglazed) iron tetsubin, the water felt rounder, sweeter. I felt a tiny bit of iron taste.

The water from the silver kettle felt light and pure. Despite the high temperature, I sensed a kind a freshness. My friend agreed and said that the water from the tetsubin had weight (his hands went down), the water from the silver kettle felt light as air (his hands went up). We concluded that both waters were very good. The silver kettle seems an excellent fit for very light and fragrant teas (green teas, light oxidized Oolongs, young raw puerh...). The tetsubin seems to be a better fit for old puerhs and 'heavier' teas in general (roasted Oolongs), where sweetness and a full body feel is more important.

6 comments:

Michel said...

Stéphane this is a very interesting find.

What would water from a well made clay Kettle, one with a specialy adapted claybody be like in comparaison to the iron and silver ones?

Stephane said...

Clay can be good as well. Especially, thanks to its porosity, the water won't overcook as quickly as in a metal kettle. So, you could almost forget about it over the fire.

bejita said...

désolé l'anglais n'est pas mon fort.
j'ai remarqué que trop rouillée la tetsubin ecrasait les thés legers . du coup je l'ai "dé-rouillée " ( pas sûr que ca existe ce mot :-D ) et du coup je retrouve le coté leger des thés . je ferait un article un jour dessus quand elle sera de nouveau bien rouillée ( c'est à dire dans longtemps :-D )

Anonymous said...

this is starting to sound like insanity...

Mathew Peet said...

Would you consider doing a blind taste test?

Stephane said...

I did blind water taste tests in the past (for Teaparker's nunmber 1 lesson on tea, for instance). I think there would be no problem to recognize which water comes from the tetsubin or the silver kettle. Maybe I'll do so next time I have the opportunity to drink from this kettle again.