Wednesday, March 12, 2014

A traditional way to brew Da Hong Pao

This is a technique that I very seldom use but thought it would be worth sharing. I think it's especially useful if you must be conservative with your stash or are down to the last few grams and have a lot of fragmented leaves and stems. Just to be clear, we are still talking about tea, here...  At least Da Hong Pao isn't know for buds!

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First, get a clean piece of paper and fold it in half, In the fold, place a small amount of leaves. You don't need much, just enough to cover the bottom of the pot, um teapot. Now, I can't believe I'm going to say this, it's hurting my fingers just to type it, but gently crush the leaves inside the folded paper (this is where I should reiterate, we're still dealing with tea!) and slide the broken leaves straight into the heated pot. This is way I recommend this technique when your near the end of your leaves and there are already several crumbs. I feels sacrilegious to destroy perfectly whole leaves, especially Da Hong Pao leaves.

Don't expect to squeeze much more than three steeps from the leaves, but for the small amount of leaves used you will get three surprisingly potent servings. The small fragments may clog up and make pouring slow, but I am for a standard 15-10-15-25 second pours, but may leave the forth steep for as long as I feel. As I mentioned, there really isn't much left by this time, anyway.

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