I went and met up with Dogma and D today at Royal East. Dogma has already written about his previous experience at Royal East with Corax here. A scholar from my school who goes by the net name of Indra also joined us.
We met over lunch and chatted, with Dogma brewing up some darjeeling in those typical big pots of Chinese restaurants. It was rather strange drinking darjeeling at a Chinese restaurant, but it was good darjeeling.
When we were about done with dinner… we all started motioning for our teas. I pulled out one of the teas I bought from Hong Kong… the loose, broken cake that is well aged and rather smooth. It is a Guangyungong cake, vintage unknown. I suspect we have 30 years old pieces mixed in it, but also stuff of more recent vintage in there. Wet stored, I think, but mellow and sweet. Dogma commented on the clarity of the liquor despite the dark colour, and indeed, the colour of the tea is rather attractive. We drank it from the big pots in big cups, sort of like how you’re supposed to drink puerh. Puerh is better when you’re drinking in big gulps rather than tiny sips.
A few rounds after, Indra pulled out his traveling set, which includes a gaiwan, 6 small cups, and a small fairness cup. It’s quite handy, actually. He then pulled out the tea he was going to make — a rougui, medium roasted. He brews it in a rather unique way, one I haven’t seen before. The gaiwan is filled with tea leaves — I’d say 90% full. He pours the water in carefully, and waits…. for a long time. Whereas I would generally pour out the tea within 5-10 seconds, he waited at least half a minute with the first infusion, and subsequent infusions were even longer.
The resulting quality of the tea is rather darker than I imagined, mostly because of the long steeping time. It’s a bit rough from the tannins that got released, but full of the roasted flavour. The tea itself would’ve yielded a much weaker brew if brewed quickly. It was definitely interesting to see somebody make tea in a way that is very different from your own.
Meanwhile, we were still gulping down the puerh while getting the occasional rounds of rougui. We chatted about teas and other things, and the owner of the place, Otto, joined us. Dogma had to leave early, and we stayed on for another hour or so before heading out our respective ways.
It was definitely a fun time, and I wish we had more free time to drink teas. Oh well, that will probably have to wait till next time.
When we were leaving the table — requisite fortune cookies plus a lot of used teapots 🙂