Monday, May 05, 2014

Hong Shui (Red Water) Tea, Bowl Style

I recently re-opened some tea that had been resting for several months. I brought it back from Taiwan about a year ago.  It's called Hong Shui (Red Water).  This tea is highly oxidized with a bit of a roast (to increase the shelf life). I think it's yummy!  Shiuwen, of Floating Leaves Tea suggested that I try brewing it "bowl style".  Good timing, as this brewing style had been on my mind.


"Bowl Style" is very  simple.  Choose a bowl (a rice bowl works great) that you can drink from directly, but isn't giant.  Add leaves in the bottom, pour hot water, let steep for a bit and enjoy.  Repeat.  Above, I'm using a summer-style Japanese tea bowl.  It doesn't have to be a special tea bowl.  Find something you have that works.


This Red Water tea is rolled into a ball during processing.  The leaves open as they steep.  It's fun to watch, and this brewing style allows for a great view.  Above, first steeping after a minute.  The leaf is still fairly tight.

 Second steeping, just after pouring hot water. Notice how much the leaf has opened.

One of the things I love about this brewing style is the intimacy with the leaf.  It literally engaged all my senses.  Visually, I get the best view of what's happening during the steeping process. When I drink the tea, my nose is deep in the bowl and the aroma envelopes me.  The taste of the tea changes from steeping to steeping, and I even got to chew on a few leaves as they slipped into my mouth in the early steeping.  (Once opened fully, they stick together in the bottom of the bowl.)  That counts for touch as does playing with the leaf to unfurl it fully. You can't see it very well, but in the last photo, I'm showing some unrolled leaf.  And finally, most surprising was the connection to sound.  It was magical!  After the leaf unfurled, when I would tip the bowl up to sip, I heard this little gurgling sound, like the movement of a gentle spring, as the water navigated the leaf terrain and made it to my mouth.  I loved it!

8 comments:

Amanda Wilson said...

The tea and bowl are beautiful, they seem to compliment each other perfectly!

anodyne said...

Bowl method! have not encountered that and will try it. But I have been drinking Hong Shui. As I was experiencing it: . This has a richness to it--nutty, dried fruits, brown sugar caramelizing in a cast iron skillet (prior to making pecan pralines), honey and spicy notes.

Rosemary said...

Interesting!

Lisa M. Collins said...

Bowl Style is how I brew tea at work. So easy @teaandcornbread

Marilyn said...

How very special, I can't even imagine noticing the sound. Again another lovely bowl.

amherstrose said...

That bowl is just beautiful!
And isn't that how it all started-with a bowl of tea?

Nicole Martin said...

I have not yet experimented with bowl brewing but I plan to soon. Japanese bowls seem like they work perfectly. Yours is beautiful!

Angela McRae said...

I like to think I engage almost all the senses when I have tea, but wow, I've never thought of *hearing* the tea. Something new to look (er, listen) for!