The One

Sun tanning Yixing Pots

What is The One ultimate and the most important rule of using Yixing teapot?

Answer: HYGIENE!

~  Sterilize the teapot with boiling water before use

~  At the end of the tea session, immediately remove all the tea leaves and flush with boiling water.

~  Dry the interior of the pot with a clean and dry cloth

~ Ensure that the pot is totally dry before storing

~  NEVER  STEEP THE TEA LEAVES IN THE POT OVERNIGHT

~  Sun the pot. The UV will sterilized the pot further.

Always remember : Hygiene, hygiene, hygiene all the time. Never ever  compromise.

Spring Festival 2014

CNY8899

Today,  January 31st 2014, is Chinese New Year.  It is the year of the Horse.

Wishing all my friends and viewers a very prosperous, lucky, healthy and happy Chinese New Year.  Gong Xi Fa Cai!

Thank you for your visits and have a blessed new year.

花開 富貴 ~ huākāi fùguì  ~  Abundance In Full Bloom!

Unclog

Yixing teapot especially the single-hole discharge spout tend to clog often.  Usually a small tooth pick is used to poke into the hole to unclog the choke.  It has to be done gently (gently~gently… ya)  in order not to break the teapot’s spout.

Spout picker

In the spirit of recycling, this damaged bamboo tea utensil is repaired and improvised. A loose piece of bamboo toothpick can  be fixed in and disposed of after used.  That makes a really nice tool to clear clogged teapot.  With disposable tooth pick, it is definitely more hygienic.

Spout Picker 2

It is really enjoyable to recycle and carve this piece of tea utensil. On top of that, it definitely has more sentimental value now.

Choky teapots? Have no fear, Pokey  is here.

Tray Pots

Tray Pots

Tray pots or clay pots? ……..it is a tray of old Yixing clay teapots.

I have a few trays of  these teapots which are picked at random to brew tea.  Just like the little birds in the nest, sticking out their heads with gaping mouth waiting to be fed.

Chirpy chirpy chirp chirp.

Venture

1993 Tong Xin Hao, Seven-Sons Yuen Nuen
1993 Tong Xin Hao, Seven-Sons Yuen Nuen

I have met up with many tea speculators and investors, from the very knowledgeable to those unwittingly gullible.
Some  of them are wise and careful. But many of them are oblivious and relied on market rumors, dubious speculations and whimsical advice from many sources that are out to capitalized on their ignorance. Profits are the ultimate goals in these ventures and most often that blinded their perception.
Eventually, the outcome of these tea ventures lies perhaps somewhere along the line of this thought:

“In future, when people look for their tea, it is a fortune. But when their tea need to look for people, then it is a misfortune.”

Eat Tea

Traditional teochew teapot, cups and saucer
Traditional teochew teapot, cups and saucer

To the Teochew people, tea is treated like the exilir of life.

Traditionally, most Teochew cannot do without tea even for a day. They drink (“Lim”  in Teochew dialect) tea throughout the day and many of them often substitute drinking water with drinking tea.

Teochew or Chaozhou style of brewing tea is one of the most sophisticated way of brewing tea. It looks awfully simple but the understanding and techniques really take a lifetime  to learn. I set up a brewing station at home specifically just to train myself to brew tea in Chaozhou style but after many many years, I think I am still a novice apprentice.

While most of the tea connoisseurs refer to tea consumption as drinking (“Lim”) tea, the Teochew  would normally say eat (“Chiak” in Teochew dialect) tea instead. This term of eating tea suggest a higher level of tea appreciation. So when we meet a Teochew, or a tea friend whom we usually enjoy tea at a higher level with, we  should say eat tea rather than drink tea i.e. “Chiak Teh” rather than “Lim Teh”

So…“Lai Chiak Teh” ~~ “Come, Let’s Eat Tea”

Scent

Gaiwan Post

I enjoy nice and natural scents.  Artificial scents and fragrances really knock me off and give me a bad headache.

In recent years, adding artificial scents and fragrances to tea is a common practice.   Artificial scents e.g. nice orchid flowery aroma are often added to tea to attract unsuspecting buyers, thinking that the tea is of higher quality.

Most of the time, artificial scents or fragrances can be detected by smelling the dry tea leaves but some tea are cleverly masked by subtle scenting and heavy roasting.

The only way to evaluate these artificial additives is to amplify all the scents and aromas of the tea with one of the technique which I normally use.

Firstly, heat up a Gaiwan by pouring boiling water into it and let it sit, say for about 10-20 seconds.

Then, pour out all the water and close the lid. The internal part of the Gaiwan is saturated with high heat steam.  Immediately, add in, say about 2 grams of the dry tea leaves and close the lid.

Hold the Gaiwan and lid firmly in horizontal position.
Hold the Gaiwan and lid firmly in horizontal position.

Hold the Gaiwan with 2 fingers securely, one on the lid and the other on the base and shake it back and forth rigorously for about 10-20 seconds.

Shake the Gaiwan rigourously.
Shake the Gaiwan rigourously.

Then open the lid slightly and smell the escaped mist. The mist contain scents that are broken into layers and you should be able to identify all the natural and artificial scent quite clearly.

Tilt the lid and smell the mist from Gaiwan to evaluate all the amplified scents.
Tilt the lid and smell the mist from Gaiwan to evaluate all the amplified scents.

Do this often and you should be able to discern them quite accurately.  You can also use this method to gauge the quality of the tea after you are familiar with the scents of different quality of the same tea.

So with this skill, we can now say “sellers beware” and not ” buyers beware”.

White

White tea brewing set
White tea brewing set

I am a fan of white teas.  They are sensual,  sweet and have that captivating ethereal aroma.  Today, I am brewing a wild white tea from Fu Ding 福鼎, Fujian, the place where many believed to be the original area for producing white tea.  I love wild tea (from white to Puer tea). Unlike normal plantation tea, wild tea has the extra “oooomps” of all the goodness in tea.The flavour, aroma and texture of wild tea are many  notches above the normal plantation tea.

Wild white tea from Fuding, Fujian
Wild white tea from Fuding, Fujian

This wild white tea has a very special fruity with flowery aroma and honeyed sweetness with milky texture.

The brew
The brew

And finally, a delicious cup of gleaming white tea to start the day…

Light up my day
Light up my day