31 October 2009

Testing a Theory about HOT Water and Alishan

In Vancouver now.  Tomorrow, I head over to have tea with my tea friend Daniel at Arts de Chine.  In a post from nearly two months ago, I stated my belief that good high mountain tea can take boiling water, whereas Daniel is of the thought that sub-boiling, hot water is more suitable.  We both agree that optimum water temperature may not be boiling, but we’re also quite weary of the discussions about “proper” water temp; we’re more interested in what a tea reveals when different types of water, temperatures and brewing vessels are used. 

For our first round of experiments, I’ve brought with me a sealed 1/2 jin bag of Winter 2008 Alishan that I bought from Floating Leaves Tea.  Since it’s from a past season, this tea’s been heavily discounted, but it’s also likely going to be the best Alishan I’ll be having for a few seasons to come.  This statement will be confirmed after the release of the winter harvest several weeks from now.  Last weather report from the harvest area:  warmer-than-normal temps following massive rainfall (from the typhoons) and anticipated dryness until the harvest.  Not sure how that’ll affect tea, but I’m of the belief that stable, moderate weather generally produces the most suitable tea.

In other news, I started a ceramics class several weeks ago and produced my first few pieces.  One is a cylindrical holder for tea tools, and another is a small jar for storing tea.  I finished a porcelain tea caddy with my instructor this week, but I’m going to have to work on deepening the base and smoothing out the walls.  Pics to follow!

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