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Methods of Brewing Tea


Elements of Tea Setup

As there are various kinds of Tea across the world, so are there various methods of brewing Tea.


There is a quote that has stayed with me for a long time and as we talk about the methods one sees or notices in which Tea is made, here is a thought I have believed in completely.


“Tea is an act complete in its simplicity. When I drink tea, there is only me and the tea. The rest of the world dissolves. There are no worries about the future. No dwelling on past mistakes. Tea is simple: loose-leaf tea, hot pure water, a cup. I inhale the scent, tiny delicate pieces of the tea floating above the cup. I drink the tea, the essence of the leaves becoming a part of me. I am informed by the tea, changed. This is the act of life, in one pure moment, and in this act the truth of the world suddenly becomes revealed: all the complexity, pain, drama of life is a pretense, invented in our minds for no good purpose. There is only the tea and me, converging.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

 

Hence it is important to understand the Tea you connect with most, how you like to make it, it all depends on the way you feel and what connects straight to your heart.


Keeping that tucked away, we shall now talk about the methods that our two leaf and a bud is brewed.


The one that I have seen my parents infuse and I the way I infuse since I learnt it from them, is the western style. The tray has had a beautiful handmade tray liner (cloth) over which a there was a Tea pot (handed down by my grandmother) that was covered by a Tea cosy (which is handmade by my mother). Milk pot and sugar pot gave company alongside a spoon plate with a stunning strainer. These days, one doesn’t see much of this style. Experiences have become convenient and spending time with Tea has become lesser and lesser except for the serious Tea drinkers or Tea lovers as I like to call them.


One of the most comfortable style

Gongfu Cha which literally translates to “making Tea with skill” is a traditional style of Chinese Tea ceremony where Tea is brewed for a short span of time depending on the kind of Tea and it is again re-infused at times over 5 to 6 times. It can be made using a Gaiwan or Teapot. With such a style, the Tea unfolds in terms of taste and aroma with each brew. As I read somewhere, “it is a slow journey filled with discovery and tranquility.”


There is a style that is called the Grandpa style of making Tea wherein all the Tea leaves are added into the hot water in a big cup of glass. After the Tea has been infused which could be over 5 to 7 minutes, there Tea leaves are not removed and the infusion is sipped.


Grandpa Style

Just as our chai is cooked or boiled, so was the Tea in the Tang Dynasty. Different spices, herbs, roots were added to the Tea leaves. 


The Japanese have their ritual of making Tea which is called Chanoyu. The ceremony involves specific tools, movements, etiquette and creating a space that is calm and serene and has a meditative experience. It involves the ceremonial preparation and presentation of Matcha the powdered green Tea.


In the Taiwanese culture, there is a Tea ceremony that traces its roots back to Chinese Tea culture and has been a part of the local culture for over 400 years. The focus is on the aspect of Tea consumption and bringing out the aroma and flavour. They are less ceremonial compared to the Japanese Tea ceremonies.


Love for Tea accessories.

As you have a hot method of brewing Tea, you also have a cold brew method called the Mizudashi way of making a cold brew. This method uses cold water and is normally infused for few hours. Mizudashi translates to “cold brewing” in Japanese. The slow process of infusing the Tea in cold water, helps to extract the sweetness of the tea gently and avoids the brew turning harsh.


Just like there is a way to extract an infusion using cold water, there is also a way in which you can brew Tea by using ice brewing method. Koridashi is a Japanese method of brewing Tea by steeping Tea leaves on melting ice. This method is slow. The end result is a mellow flavour Tea that has barely any bitterness or astringency.




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