Monday, June 6, 2011

A Learning Experience; American Hao

After work, I usually pick myself back up with a lengthy tea session.

This is always one of the highlights of my day, but today's session threw me a bit of a curve.

I joyfully pried a few chunks of leaf off my American Hao cake, dumped them into my designated shengpu pot and began the therapeutic brewing process.

The rinse water was discarded and the first infusion poured. I was awaiting the wonderful attributes of this tea to envelope my taste buds once again...

But alas, this was not what the tea had in store for me today.
Instead, I was confronted with a sour infusion lacking depth, aroma and complexity.

I quickly discarded the infusion and continued in my normal fashion, thinking that it may have just been the wrong amount of time or the wrong temperature.
The second infusion swirled in my cup, awaiting the first sip.

Again, the same lackluster, uninviting flavor pronounced itself once more.
This, I thought, cannot be right.

I waited and pondered my brewing parameters.
Did I use too much leaf...?
Was the water too hot? Too cool?
Did I not pour the water correctly?
Was my Brita not doing its job properly...?

Nothing made sense. The way I brewed this tea was the way in which I had always brewed it, and it has always turned out beautifully.

I can only suspect that it is the fault of the yixing. I do not know what else it could have possibly been.
I brewed the tea in a porcelain gaiwan and it emitted the wonderful notes that I have always noticed in this tea.

But how could that be? A yixing teapot is supposed to enhance the brew, not present negative qualities...

Perhaps the teapot needs a cleaning, although, I do not have any desire to destroy the lovely patina that is building up. This pot has deep sentimental value and I would not want to destroy what I have worked so hard to make.
I even made a different shengpu the other day and the pot performed just fine.
I am utterly confused, but there has been a lesson taught here today...

Tea is mysterious.


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