Thursday, March 15, 2012

Brewing Oolong Tea

Oolong tea is usually prepared with kungfu tea ware originating in the Fujian area, where people daily practice the traditional art of "kungfu tea." A set of kungfu tea ware includes several articles each with a classical name: "Yushu wei" is a pottery kettle; "Mengchen guan" is a purple clay pot believed to have been invented by Hui Mengchen, a famous purple clay craftsman, hence the name; "Ruochen oif indicates a set of four white porcelain teacups; and "Chaoshan lu" refers to a small stove.
The brewing process starts with the rinsing of the tea¬cups with hot water. They are then placed on a tray. A generous amount of leaves is put into the teapot until they fill more than half of the pot. Boiling water is then poured over the leaves from a kettle that is raised high above the teapot, until the water overflows the mouth of the teapot. The foam floating on the liquid is scraped away by the lid of the teapot before the lid is replaced. After that, hot wa¬ter is sprinkled onto the lid so as to help the brewing, which is finished in a short while, and the tea is ready to be served. The host then fills the teacups in a fashion that manages to let the tea in each cup be of the same strength, and com-pletely empties the teapot. In Hong Kong and Taiwan, kungfu tea ware even includes a "scent-smelling cup," with which a tea taster will first smell the scent of the tea before going on to take the first sip. At that point, a delicate fra¬grance will permeate both the nose and mouth, and saliva will naturally arise. Indeed, kungfu tea is a sensuous plea¬sure that should be relished very carefully.

By Explore Cultural China

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