Something was tugging at me this evening…a longing to shut myself away with a pot of tea and candlelight and soft flutes playing.
It is so easy to make a cup of tea, and the process itself can be calming and enjoyable. I wanted to go the extra step and create an atmosphere for a full tea experience. Candles were lit first, the tea tray arranged on the floor, water set to heat, a tea selected, and Asian traditional music playing.
Some time ago, I would have felt impatient in the preparations, wanting to get to the part where we sit and drink. I have learned now to view the setting up and the cleaning up as part of the pleasure of the whole experience and I feel very contented as I prepare.
The tea selected is from Old Ways Tea. This is a black tea, Masu Lao Cong Hong Cha. It is in a lovely red and gold package of five grams weight. I think that is perfect for this little gong fu session.
The leaves are beautiful. They are long, twisted, and black. I poured hot water into my little pot, poured it out, and then added the leaves and put the lid on for a minute. The warm, steamy environment in the pot allows you to smell the leaves better prior to actually steeping the tea.
The aroma is rich and dark. There is no cocoa aroma here as you find in many Wuyi teas. It is a rich scent of TEA, pure and unadulterated. More layers of scent begin to peek out and continue to develop throughout the session.
I kept the first steep short as my pot is quite small. We used an aroma cup to fully enjoy every aspect of this session, and now there is a strong burnt sugar aroma. This is not the wafting smokey aroma of a lapsang, but a deep and stable smell as of burnt sugar when making caramel. I am reminded of the brown sugar toast my mother made, when the brown sugar would melt into a hard crust on top of the bread that would shatter and crumble when you bit into it. Then after a deeper sniff, it reminds me of peach cobbler. My favorite part of a homemade cobbler, fresh from the oven, is the edge where the batter has touched the pan and become crispy and deep brown instead of cake-y like the middle.
With each steep, the baked fruit aromas grow with this tea. The sugar is fading a little and fruit steps forward more, and then an aroma like osmanthus begins to blossom. Combined with the baked fruit and sugar, it smells like a fine, natural cologne.
This was an excellent tea for a gong fu session. It is not a heavy tea, nor is it astringent. The body is medium and the color somewhat light for a black tea. I am so glad we made the most of it, and took the time to enjoy its full beauty. I am left feeling very much at peace, even after the tea things are washed and dried and put away. The peace lingers.
Want to Know More About This Tea?
Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Old Ways Tea
2018 premium black tea from my cousin’s garden in Masu. 2018 has brought a good harvest and we are excited to offer this tea once again. Lighter fragrance with strong mouth feel and overall roundness. Brew it strong or weak, the tea can deliver.
This is black tea produced from older wild style trees. The trees are allowed to grow as they wish getting much bigger than normal. The trees are different in two distinct ways. First since they are older trees the roots have reached past the upper soil into the rocks below and can access a broader mineral content than young trees; providing additional flavor complexity. Secondly the wild style trees are denser which provides a micro-climate influencing the lichen, leaves, and shading of the tree.
This old tree black tea comes from the village of Masu (麻粟) high in the mountains above Tongmu village, in Wuyishan City, China. The farms are small and located at an elevation of 1250 meters. The soil is very rocky and the clear cold streams fast flowing. The trees are said to be roughly 60 years old; although with matters of age it can be hard to verify the claims. I am satisfied and happy to offer this tea for your enjoyment.