Friday, December 30, 2011
Purple velvet bliss, Wu Yi Yen Cha
On this cold day, I'm glad to start a charcoal fire in the brazier. This Nilu is higher than the one I usually use. The space for the charcoal is deeper, but less wide. But it's just wide enough for the charcoal. The air flow is good and the fire required less efforts on my part to sustain. (All braziers are not created equal...)
To evaluate dry Yan Cha, we can proceed with 2 breathings. First, we smell the roasting. Second, we smell to look for fragrances of lichen moss. Yan Cha means rock tea for a reason: the trees grow between rocks and cliffs. Licken moss covers many rocks and their smell permeates real Yan Cha.
With most great teas, I recommend to use fewer leaves and long brewing times. Not for Wu Yi. This tea is best brewed strong. So, I used all the leaves above. They filled more than half of my small teapot. Its zhuni clay doesn't 'mellow' the taste very much, so I'm careful to pour the boiling water very slowly in this teapot. But what this clay and teapot does best is to make a very pure, unaldurated and powerful tea. My first brewing time is around a minute: I want it strong! Here is the first brew:
Amazing! Let's make more rounds:
The double glazing of this ever makes it very smooth to touch. The walls are thick and it's quite heavy for its small size, especially once filled with water.
The charcoal is nearly consumed by now. I say goodbye to this tea, but I will continue brewing these leaves the next days. There's still a lot of natural sweetness that can be coaxed out of them.