Making Chinese Tea
Chinese tea – water quality
The quality of tea is controlled by the quality of the water. It was said in ancient China that water is the mother of tea.
There are three categories of water: best is water from a hill, average is water from the river, bottom is water from a well. The best water from a hill is on a hilltop; the best water from a river is in the middle of a river; the best water from a well is from a well which is frequently used.
It is not easy to get water from a hill. So water from a tap is the most common. There are two ways to make the best use of tap water when making tea. 1. Leave the tap water in a bucket for 24 hours in order to let out the chlorine inside. 2. Boil the water then open the lid for 5 minutes in order to let out the chlorine inside.
Distilled water is a kind of artificial soft water. It is the most hygiene but it would not be the ideal water for making tea.
Best water temperature for making tea:
1. Low temperature (70 – 80c)
Good for making young shoot green tea such as Long Jing (Dragon Well) or yellow tea (Silver Needle).
2. Medium temperature (80 – 90c)
Good for making white tea (Silver Needle White Fur), red tea or Oolong.
3. High temperature (90 – 100c)
Good for making tea such as Tie Guan Yin (Iron Guan Yin), Pu’er, Shui Xian (Water Fairy).
Low temperature water tends to be more suitable for young tea leaves while high temperature water tends to be more suitable for ripe tea leaves.
Chinese tea – tea leaves
Chinese tea used to be categorized by its place of origin or place where it went to. Only till recently that Chinese tea is categorized based on its way of manufacture.
6 types of tea:
Green, yellow, black, white, light green and red.
Green tea has the longest history and it can be dated over 3000 years ago. People picked the young shoots of leaves and dried it in the sun without fermentation.
Examples of green tea:
Green Spring Snail
Yellow tea is to ferment the tea leaves before they are totally dry. A degree of 10% to 20% fermentation would be expected.
Examples of yellow tea:
Big Leaf Green
Black tea is to ferment tea leaves to a degree of 100%. It is a kind of commonly consumed tea in Mongolia.
Examples of black tea:
White tea is a kind of day dry tea which is lightly fermented to a degree of 20% – 30%. Tea leaves are usually young ones covered with white fur.
Examples of white tea:
Silver Needle White Fur
Light green tea is a kind of tea lightly fermented to a degree of 30% – 60%. Tea leaves are green in the middle and red on the fringe. This type of tea gives a taste of fruit or flowers.
Examples of Light green tea:
SONG Species Long Bush
Iron Guan Yin
Red tea is a kind of tea fermented to a degree of 80% – 90%. Western countries usually call it Black Tea. It usually gives a taste of roses.
Examples of red tea:
Tea pot – Zisha tea pot is known as the best tea pot for making tea with. Colours vary from dark purple, red to light yellow. Zisha tea pots have very tiny holes suitable for brewing tea. Also, it prevents any chemical changes from taking place.
Tea spoon – The best tea spoon would be made of bamboo. It is also used for removing any tea leaves from blocking the tea mouth.
Tea boat – It is used for laying tea pot and tea cups. The first rinse of water would be poured into the tea boat. This water can also be used for rinsing tea cups.
Tea cloth – It is used for wiping the water outside the tea pot.
Tea cups – The right size of tea cups would be used for their appropriate corresponding size of tea pots.
Healing aspects of Chinese tea
Chinese tea is known to have good healing power. It not only boosts health but also allows longevity. However, we should avoid tea which has been left cool for a long time or overnight.
Take Oolong as an example, it can reduce the fat in blood. It has been known for a long time that tea can reduce the fat in human body. Or take Pu’er or white tea as an example, it would be ideal for people to maintain a slim body. Apart from the effects above, all the three teas can reduce the possibility of developing cancer.