Briefly roasting tea before brewing has been a practice since the Tang dynasty. However this form of art is lost in the main stream tea culture, but still practiced by minority groups in rual parts of China. There's a little bit of revival here and there today.
This is a Chao Zhou method of pre-roasting utilizing what's on hand. Paper made roasting platform/Cha He.
Use a 11"x8" clean white paper, fold as in picture blow.
Cut off the excess trim, leaving a square piece of paper.
Fold one corner of the square with seam line up with seam, then fold part of the folded corner backwards, see picture below.
Fold paper in half again along seam, hold the "tail" with thumb and index finger as in picture below.
You can now place tea on paper made Cha He, place over fire to preheat/pre-roast. Fire source can be gas stove (low fire), electric stove (medium to low), or charcoal (low flame). It only take a few minutes, when the aroma starts to show, keep roasting for another 2 minutes. Cha He should be placed 3 to 4 inches above fire. MAKE SURE THE FLAME IS NOT HIGH!!! DON'T CATCH A FIRE!!! And don't suit me if you did catch a fire! :P
Closing the top can keep the heat even and consistant within the Cha He.
Finally, when the tea is ready, you can pour tea directly into teapot as a real Cha He. Whoa La!
Have an aromatic and flavorful cup of tea!
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What does roasting to flavour wise to the tea?
Properly roasted tea has a nutty, roasted flavor, the depth of which depends upon the original variety that has been roasted, duration of roasting, aging after roasting, and whether or not brown rice is included in the process. Some commercial roasted teas can be found at your health food store. I find them a pleasant change of taste, your mileage may vary. Roasted teas are generally lower in caffeine/theobromide than unroasted teas. Both Chinese and Japanese cultures roast their tea. A type of Japanese roasted tea with which I am familiar is Eden brand Kukicha Twig Tea. I get it at the health food store. I've had other brands I like better but they're not easy to find. Kukicha is very 'light' in flavor, I prefer 2 tea bags per 12 ounces of water to get the flavor I desire.
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