Coming from Ali Shan, this is one of my darkest Hung Shui Oolong. These leaves are a real challenge to brew well. Rolled very tightly, they require a great amount of force to open up. But pushed too strongly, roasting flavors come out and overshadow the brew. The solution is to start with a strong pour of boiling water for the first brew and very slow pours for the next.
It helps that, with time, the roasting flavors diminish, especially if the tea is kept in a porcelain jar or a pewter caddy. Also with experience, we gain a better understanding of these leaves and learn how to brew them well.
The reward is an extraordinary sweet, malty and rich cup of tea. A warm Cognac almost comes to mind! The caramel fragrances are clean and pure.
This tea shines and warms. A zhuni pot with a high pitched sound retains the heat best and is able to extract all the flavors.
Today's Cha Bu is a scarf matching the character of this Oolong. I add a plate to avoid spilling water on it while pouring tea into the cups. And, of course, I also use pewter Cha Tuo from Japan under each cup.
I live in Taiwan since 1996 and have been studying tea with Teaparker. He's a worldwide tea expert and author of over 30 tea books. The study of tea isn't just theoretical, but it's also rooted in daily practice. It's a path of continuous improvement. As my brewing technique improves I get access to better teas and better accessories. These things go hand in hand. My blog documents my learning since 2004. And I have set up an online tea boutique with my selection of top quality teas, accessories and tea culture.