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

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Extra Tips on Waking Up Aged Oolong

After posting about waking up aged oolong I had gotten a lot of questions, so I thought I should post some more specific guidelines. This is a new technique for us, too, but we are very excited to practice and share. We decided to do an experiment, which I will lay out for you. I hope the outcome of our experiment will be a good starting point to practice waking up aged tea with heat.

We got the idea of waking up teas from footage shot in Taipei for the documentary. The tea brewing master she interviewed used his brazier that keeps his kettle hot to heat his clay teapot, dry, with aged tea in it. This, he said, was to wake up the tea.

We had touched up old teas before, but this encouraged us to practice it and make it a more regular part of our tea brewing.

The Experiment:

We did a side by side tasting of the '66 Aged Beipu before roasting, after being touched up in our electric tea roaster, and after being touched up in an old teapot over a candle flame. The three versions of the same tea all tasted different, and we preferred the candle flame tea.

Earlier this week, Shiuwen tried herself to touch up the tea in our electric roaster. After roasting it, she felt that although it was clearer tasting, the heat was not enough. So we tried again. This time, we tried 60 degrees Celsius for 20 minutes in our electric roaster. Despite being slightly over-roasted (had a stronger drying effect on the tongue), the tea was pretty good.

With the teapot roasting setup above, I started to heat it over the flame myself. The tea started out smelling slightly prune-like and moist. When I felt that most of the moisture was out of the tea, I showed Shiuwen. She smelled it and said "It's not done yet. Don't be afraid of the heat. And you don't need to toss it the whole time." You can see me babying the tea in the picture, continuously holding it shaking it so it wouldn't burn.

She placed the pot directly over the flame and let it sit. When she pulled the tea off the heat, we smelled the dry leaves. The fragrance was more clear, and I noticed
it penetrated deeper into my sinuses.

Brewed, the teas were all great because we started with a very good base. But the MVP was certainly the flame touched tea. It was not only clearer without the stale note, but it also 'opened' much more. The broth felt soft and round and expansive, and the scent was clear and assertive. The untouched tea was good, but the teas we 'woke up' felt like they had just a little bit more. The electric roaster tea was definitely right in the middle, clearer but without as much smoothness or roundness as the candle flame tea.

So go ahead and wake up your aged teas, if you like. It may help them to shine even more. If you discover something really awesome, let us know. We're on the same journey. And don't fear the heat, or you may find yourself outside the kitchen ;)

Written by Noah

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