Monday, 30 August 2010

1997 Hen Li Chang Bu Lang (Essence of Tea)

A fine brandy?
One of the parting gifts from Nada during our visit a couple of weeks ago was this tea. It's nice to be able to have a chance to drink a pu erh from the late nineties again as I think it's a fascinating age where the tea goes from youth into maturity. I just wish I could of been able to track just how a pu erh reaches this stage year by year, what a education that would be!

Infused by the Sun, yang within yin.
The dry leaf crumbled effortlessly into my larger gaiwan, it's so nice to not have to hack away with a hammer and chisel to get at the leaf (cough.. cough.. Xiaguan..). The dark honey amber soup was re-soundly in the realm of wood without being too earthy. I decided to brew using shorter steeps after my experiences at the Essence of Tea as I do have a tendency to go over the top, this also causes me to zero out passing distractions so I can fully concentrate on the tea. If there is one thing my life needs it is some tranquility, drinking tea at home gives me my only chance to truly slow down and concentrate inwardly.

Several steeps in the numbness on my lips goes up several notches and the session becomes more interesting all of a sudden with a fascinating expression of cha qi. I spend the next while focussing my attention on just how this feels and being quite tea drunk my mind wonders on the topic of kettles and water.

So far I have experimented a bit on using different waters from tap to filter to bottle and how to boil it. As I write this I am using a relatively cheap tetsubin on an induction heater that bleeps and whistles more than R2D2! I have always had an eye on an old tetsubin like the one pictured above and recently I have also taken a shine to a copper kettle from Postcard Teas but the truth is that spending a long distance flight amount of money on a kettle seems to be a little bit extravagant an expense at the moment. I suppose a more sensible first step would be to spend a tenth of that money on a less collectable item to give me an idea on the effects of a copper kettle.

The volume of my little tetsubin is small and I rarely have need to re-boil the water. I suppose if I were to have a larger kettle then I will be forced to bring the water to temperature again and again, would that have a negative effect on the taste of the water? One supposes it does but in reality I am without much actual insight.


  1. Love your tetsubin set-up. Beautiful! Add so much calm to a tea space. I think as long as you dont rolling boil it over a couple of times, the water should stay happy. Cheers ~ T

  2. I wish that was my tetsubin set up! It was actually a picture of what I was dreaming of, not of my reality...

    That particular tetsubin is resident to Essence of Tea, Falmouth, UK...

    I covert it much...