Floating Leaves Tea Home ---Shiuwen's Blog!

Friday, October 28, 2011

The Basic Taiwanese Oolong Making Process Part II

-Indoor Withering: After the oxidation process has started from outdoor withering, farmers and tea makers will move the tea leaves indoors and spread them on bamboo baskets to "rest." While the leaves are resting, water in the leaves will evaporate through stoma (pores) on the back and the edges of the leaves. Due to the loss of some water, the leaf cells have also lost some pressure. Tea leaves will look like they've started to "lose some life" (imagine what it looks like if you leave some spinach on the counter for a couple of hours). Then tea makers will go through each tray and stir the leaves. Stirring is to help the water content in the tea stems and veins travel throughout the leaves evenly. One can't stir the leaves either too lightly or too strongly. Too lightly and the moisture won't travel through the leaves evenly; too strongly and the veins will break, causing the water content to get stuck. Tea will have a higher chance of tasting bitter or astringent if the water gets stuck.

-Big Stirring and Resting: Though the previous process, the tea leaves are supposed to lose the right amount of moisture. The process of Big Stirring is to help the leaves maintain the remaining water so that all of the "components" in the leaves will function properly and will transform with oxygen. This Big Stirring has to be heavy enough to break lots of veins so that the tea leaves will not continue to lose its water. At this point, tea has a huge floral bouquet and the leaves feel soft and a bit slippery. Traditionally, one should be able to see the red edges on the leaves at this point. After Big Stirring, tea makers lay the leaves back on the trays again and let the tea rest and continue to oxidize. This might take about 4 hours.

1 comment:

Steve said...