Brewing tea well - mastering the tea - is all about paying attention to details.
For instance, you'll notice that the first 4 pictures in this article were taken early in the morning, at sunrise, and the last 3 were taken in the late afternoon, shortly before sunset.
Despite the fact that the sun's angle to the horizon is similar, the light in the morning is much more crisp, fresh and clear than in the evening.
Morning cup of aged Oolong from 1999
The light in the evening feels murkier, less transparent. This is probably due to the fact that the air through which the light travels is cleaner in the early hours of the day than at the end.
Evening cup of high mountain Oolong from Fenqi Hu
The mood is more romantic at sunset than at sunrise! The light creates a certain mood and our mood plays a big part in why we choose one tea or another.
How well does the tea you've chosen fit the moment of the day? This is probably just a detail, but it's an important one. I've experimented with various teas for the early morning hours, before breakfast, recently. Red tea with its warming characteristics is the classic choice to wake up a body that's still partially asleep. An aged Hung Shui Oolong felt even more subtle and elegant, while adding a touch of mellowed freshness.
I'm rarely in a mood for low oxidized Oolong or sheng puerh in the early morning. Such teas seem too cool and raw for an empty stomach. In the evening, though, this kind of character is helpful to relax and cool down after a day of work. These are not rules set in stone, though. Especially in summer, it can be nice to experiment with lighter teas in the morning.
There's one certainty: with sunlight, I'm always in the mood for tea!
My name is Stéphane Erler. 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.