Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Tea Doctor cures burnt tea

You may have noticed that I'm quite a fan of traditional 'hong pei', baked tea. This is the process by which teas are baked in an electric oven or over coal in bamboo baskets to reduce the humidity accumulated in Taiwan's humid climate. This can be seen as a way to cure teas that would otherwise oxidize and turn sour at the contact of air and humidity. However, as with all cures and medicine, things can turn wrong and too much heat may also bring additional, unwelcome smokiness to the leaves.

Teaparker reminds us recently that there is a variation of Gong Fu Cha from the Guang Dong Province that can help improve such overheated, smoky teas. This old, southern Chinese Gong Fu Cha method is called Sao-An. Here is how it works:
1. Pre-heat your teapot,
2. Insert the tea leaves you want to drink in the hot teapot,
3. Wrap the teapot with your small tea towel and mix/shake the pot carefully.
4. Open the lid of the cup to smell that the tea has improved,
5. Start brewing the tea, but only add water slowly, from a low height. Thus, you avoid having too many tannins coming out and turn the tea bitter.

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