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Lesson #33. Brewing Oolongs with a Tea Pair

Please note!

Brew 7 grams of tea per 100 ml.

The water temperature is 100 °C.

Pour out the first steeping.

The tradition of using high bowls to get more fragrance started in Taiwan, and later spread into mainland China. Therefore, tea pairs are mostly used when brewing twisted oolongs from Taiwan or southern Fujian. The best tea-ware for brewing the twisted oolongs are round Yixing teapots. Precisely in such tea-ware the tea leaves have an opportunity to wholly give their taste and scent to the infusion.

To get the perfect infusion, take 7 grams of tea per 100 ml of boiling water. We should not allow the vessel to reduce the brewing temperature, that is why we need to preheat it first. To do that, we put hot water into the teapot and then pour it through a filter into a сhahai. Then we pour clean hot water into the bowls which we’re going to use to drink tea. During the brewing process we use extra water and tea to keep the teapot warm. The higher the temperature in the teapot, the more fragrant and saturated will be the taste of the tea.

The first infusion of oolongs is weak. We use the first steeping only to wash the tea leaf and give it energy for further opening. You should not drink the first steeping of oolongs. Pouring water into a teapot, always reach to the top, let it flow over the edges. Pour the infusion till the last drop. If water stays in the teapot, the next brewing will show bitterness. We use this infusion to warm the cups for more scent. Traditionally, the first cup to be given to guests should already have bright taste and flavor. So during the second steeping, we infuse the tea for some time. While tea leaves are brewed in the teapot, we pour the old one from the aroma cups to fill them with fragrant drink again.

Often during a tea ceremony, we use special figurines called tea pets. The Chinese for fish, «yu» sounds like the other Chinese words «prosperity» and «joy». When you’re pouring tea over the statuette during a tea ceremony, it is as if you are wishing the guests happiness and wealth. Our tea cups being warmed, now it’s time to pour water out and use them to close aroma cups. When serving tea to guests, the first bowl is flipped by the host. Later on the guests will flip their bowls themselves. This is how we serve tea to our guests. First we gently rotate an aroma cup enjoying the fragrance of the infusion. After that we relish the taste of the tea. Notice that if at this point the tea leaves are completely open and have reached the lid of the teapot then we did everything right: took the proper amount of tea, suitable water, and brewed it correctly.

During the third steeping, we simply pour the infusion right into the сhahai, because the tea leaves are already at the peak of their taste, you don’t have to brew them for too long. If the aroma cup is open, we’ll pour the infusion into it. And if it’s closed, fill the tea cups with it.

Keep brewing, steeping the tea in the teapot as needed. Have a nice tea!

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