Yesterday, I brewed this tea to test, to analyze it by searching for its weaknesses. Today, I want to show how I brew it to enjoy it. The tea is at the center of my quest. Once I know what tea I brew all the rest follows. For this fresh, light oxidised winter Wenshan Da Pa Baozhong, what are the fitting accessories to use?
1. The vessel: I could use my silver teapot or a zhuni baotai (thin walls) teapot. They would underline the fragrance and the freshness. Another alternative, is to use my ivory baotai gaiwan. It looks even simpler and it will be nice to see the leaves.
2. The cups: for light fragrant Oolong, I choose my qingbai singing cups. Here again, the thin walls increase the feeling of lightness.
3. I use a matching qingbai Gung Dao Bei, because it's easier to pour in it with a gaiwan than directly in the cups. However, it will require a good preheating to avoid that the tea cools down too quickly.
4. Water: I recommend a light water with few minerals. I have the luck that I could fetch some natural spring water ten days ago in the Wenshan mountains. This is a natural match!
5. Cha Bu: the dark blue background is fitting for the dark and cold winter season. (It looks like the far away Wenshan mountains in my previous post). The white porcelain stands out and I find it plays nicely with the green leaves, the light brew and this red flower.
After preheating, I pretty much filled the gaiwan with dry leaves. I pressed them a little in my hand so that they would fit inside. The unbroken leaves are so long that they quickly prevent more from entering. Since the quality of the leaves is very good, I choose to leave it that way and increase the steeping times. So, I have plenty of time to warm the cups and dispose of the hot water in the Za Fang (the bowl on the left).
In my optimal brew, the exact weight isn't that important. And brewing time is more a matter of concentration of flavors. If a tea is good after 1 minute, it is also good after 1 minute and 14 seconds, just stronger. What I find much more important is how to pour the boiling water in the gaiwan. See, for instance, how my first pour is stronger than the second!
The result was light, fresh, dry and with a balanced silky aftertaste. Hummm! It was almost like a (very nice) High Mountain Oolong! Christmas must be coming soon now! I should have mentioned this Cha Xi also looks great under our decorated tree!
(I hope Karen is happy with my answer!)