Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The Influence of Weather on Tea – Dark Sky and Heavy Rain

A dark sky with clouds and the onset of a thunderstorm does not necessary have to be all doom and gloom. It can provide a perfect setting to enjoy aged and wet stored puerh tea.

I gladly welcome periodic humid and wet conditions. A light drizzle accompanied by a cooling breeze is a welcomed addition to my tea session anytime I am brewing wet stored puerh tea. Last March when such conditions presented themselves during my tea session, it made for a most memorable occasion for tea appreciation. I had chosen the 1992 Yiwu Spring Tips that I had purchased from Sunsing during one of my visits to Hong Kong. It was an ideal tea for the weather conditions at hand. I remember the tea session well as at the time the contributions from the weather came in rather too earnestly and Bangkok experienced a mini flash flood that turned the city's traffic into a nightmare. I was fortunate enough to be home enjoying tea and seeing the events unfold on the local news.

1992 Yiwu Spring Tips, for those who are familiar with Sunsing will recognize the little sticker used for labeling their teacakes 

On the day I recalled that I could feel heavy humidity in the air. From experience I knew that this would aid in opening up the characteristics of the wet stored tea allowing the dark, earthy and low notes to excel. The 1992 Yiwu Spring Tips wet stored tea did not disappoint. The tea presented itself very well providing a relaxing, rich, darkly flavored brew with strong notes of talcum powder. Having brewed this tea many times, I have become accustomed to observing the occasions when a tea really opens itself up and releases its characteristics with bold taste, aromas and energy. This was one such occasion. As a tea lover I seek out ways to achieve and consistently maintain this optimum success and to allow the tea to shine and be presented in its best light.

Additional Note: Making a comparison to wine and whisky it is common to see drinkers decanter and allow their drink to “breathe” and “open up”. Old bottles when first opened can be tight and unexpressive upon first taste. Aerating the liquor by twirling the glass and allowing it to sit for a time can help in opening up the aromas and flavors to become more vibrant upon drinking.

From my experience with brewing a great variety of teas under different conditions it is my impression that this tightness is also evident in tea. Dry weather, sealed storage, heat, etc effects different teas in different ways and can sometimes cause a similar tight and unexpressive response that will cause the tea to underperform. Reviving the tea by resting it in open air can help as well as taking advantage of certain weather conditions as presented in this entry. It is important to not overdo it as overexposure can do more harm than good especially with older and more delicate teas.

2 comments:

  1. I try to let newly received teas have at least 2 weeks in the "pumidor" before I try them. I think it has to absorb the moisture after being shipped dry and cold across the ocean. I think if you got into it immediately you wouldn't get all the tea could give. I am glad we both follow this train of thought about the moisture content of the leaf.
    M

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    1. Hello Mr Mopar,

      +1 Resting the tea is definitely a good idea.

      Jet lag is perhaps a condition not only confined to just us :)

      Best, VP

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