Monday, June 18, 2007
Hand held yixing roaster
I picked up this little gadget a couple of weeks ago. Some time ago, I tried re-roasting old leaves on the stove with pleasant result. When I saw this little Yixing clay roaster, my curiosity got the best of me.
After weeks of hectic schedule of the opening and other business matters, I finally remember my new toy. The description says roasting fermented or semi-fermented tea before brewing can enhance the aroma and intensity of the flavor. 4 teas were roasted this afternoon. I am tea drunk now. I must had 12 different kinds tea today. The first one I roasted was a 9 yrs old loose imperial cooked pu by menghai. The result was very dramatic in flavor and aroma, especially the smoothness. The second one I tried was a 2006 lao banzhang. This is the one that got many of us high at our LA tea tasting. The reason I wanted to roast this cake is to soften the edgy rawness and hopefully the "drunken effect". The flavor turned out smoother and sweeter, less fragrant, but the "drunken effect" was very much present like the previous tastings. I then ventured to black tea, Jiu Qu Hong Mei. I like this black tea as is to begin with. It's the chosen one for the reason that it is my favorite black tea among my current stocks. Smooth mouth feel with lotsa plum like sweetness. I thought roasting it might enhance the ripen plum aroma. Turned out, it did not make much difference. The 4th was a 2000 yiwu zheng shan green cake. This cake was over dehydrated in my previous tastings. Dry fall leave like smell with the look to go with it. It was not my favorite, in fact disappointing when I tried it the first time. After roasting the imperial loose pu with good result, I thought this might be the right choice to test with. Wow, I was right about that. The taste improved 3 folds. The aroma, the smoothness and sweetness all came out much nicer than before. The dryness is still there tho. I think I'll unwrap the extra tissues, let it expose to the marine layers for another month, then try again. It might do wonders next time.
Over all, I am very happy with this new gadget!
Roasting tea before brewing was a common practice back in the Tang's dynasty. Tea were compressed in bricks at the time. It's a skill to roast the tea then grind into powder before brewing, tea powder was boiled/cooked over open fire at that time. Some minority tribes in Yunnan also roast tea before brewing, each has their own ways of roasting and utensils.