Monday, September 11, 2006

Re-roasting old tea leaves

I re-roasted this Unknown age Lung Jing out of curiosity. I had never roasted tea before, but recall a Hong Kong TV fiction series about a village of people made their living in the tea business, one of the episodes was about some rookie messed up a batch of tea, they had to re-roast it with a mixture of other kind of tea to reverse the flavor. I don't think it will do what it claimed to do, but it's an inspiration. I am feeling better today physically - more mobilized than the last couple of days, so I decided to "revive" my Lung Jing by roasting it with low heat for a short time. There is not a touch of "properness" to my method, just playing with my tea otherwise I'd not drink.

I put half of what's left, about 5 grams in a little bowl and set aside. Preheat an enamel glazed cast iron pot at medium on an electric stove for about 2 minutes. I use my bare hand to test the temperature, it's about 140 degrees or lower approximated. I then put in the Lung Jing, swirl the dry leave by holding up the pot, then set it back on the stove for 10 seconds, then swirl again, repeat for about 5 times. By the 3rd time, I can smell the fragrance already, it gets stronger, sweeter and woodier. I then pour the leaves out of the still warm iron pot immediately. The aroma was a bit like cooked pu-erh, still strong while it's warm. The cast iron pot can hold the temperature relatively steady and evenly, the reasons why I chose it.

I made 2 cups of tea using the un-roasted and the re-roasted leaves, side by side, using same cups, same amount of hot boiling water, same amount of leaves in each - about 30 leaves (approximated Phyll). The re-roasted leaves are slightly orange compare to the unroasted, smells woody and a hint of caramel, tea soup is smoother as well, no significant color change in liquid.

It might not be roasted long enough, for the aroma subsided quickly as the leaves cooled down. There is still a small difference in aroma when smelling side by side.

Fun experiment! I will try roasting with other teas that I don't like, perhaps I'll mix and match! Curiosity kills a cat? Oh well, curiosity is in my blood. Sorry, no pictures... It will be at least a week for my credit cards to be mailed here and then more mailing time for the camera.

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