13 April 2009

The Hidden Roasting Method - Using a Rice Cooker

I first heard about this method several years ago and thought it was a joke.  Shiuwen of Floating Leaves said that she had heard of people using rice cookers to roast tea in places where they didn't have access to professional roasters.  After some consideration, I thought that it could totally work. 

A rice cooker has a fairly high internal temperature, can accommodate variable amounts of tea, and its non-stick surface would prevent the tea from burning too easily.  In addition, the warm setting of most rice cookers would be in the approximate temperature range for removing the moisture from a stale oolong and to bring out flavor (I'll call this process re-freshening or re-firing, instead of re-roasting).

In Part 1 of this series, I'll show some of the differences between rice cookers; an explanation of the equipment used.  A future Part 2 post will talk about some of my experiences with using this technique.

In the spirit of finding new ways to enjoy tea in its many wonderful aspects, I hope that tea lovers everywhere will continue to experiment.  Just for fun, I've even put juice/nectar into the rice cooker with some tea to see what kind of flavored teas I could create.  This Hidden Roasting Method will be a series of articles where I'll publish my notes and experiences from the rice cooker roasting process.  Try my techniques or let me know about ones that you've created.

Drink good tea and enrich your life.

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