Sunday, 30 August 2009

Chinese Tea - The Essence of Life

With a history of over 4,000 years, Chinese tea is part of daily life and a national identity/culture to the Chinese. When served tea upon entering a Chinese home, it is a show of respect, friendship and enthusiasm for sharing part of their culture and heritage.

To bring out the very best in the tea, special attention must be given to the water (quality & temperature), tea leaves (quality & amount), steeping time and quality of tea pot.

It has been said that ancient tea masters would have fresh spring water carried many miles in to ensure the best for the brew. Variations in the acidity or alkalinity (pH balance) and mineral content in the water can affect the taste of the brew. The best water is low in mineral and high in oxygen content. If using tap water, do use filtration to remove chlorine and other chemincals.

For ease, I normally utilise a porcelain tea cup with infuser but to obtain the best taste, would be a chinese clay teapot. The clay texture gives the ability to retain heat and can bring out certain flavours of certain types of tea.

1. Tea Leaves : Important to use good quality tea leaves. Good quality ones can be reused up to half a dozen times, depending on brewing method.

We love Puer Tea and buy in in a form of a "cake". To all weight watchers out there, Puer is also said to assist in weight management and like other varieties of tea, has antioxidants.

Amount: Use about a teaspoon of loose leaves, broken from the "cake".

2. Water : Bring water to a light boil (small bubbles like "fish eyes"). Over boiling the water will reduce the oxygen level and create a "harsher" taste.

3. Steeping Time: Brew for about 3 minutes. The leaves can be reused for about 5-6 times.

4. Serve.

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