Today I drank a sample that I got recently, without any real labels or anything. All I can remember (and discern) is that it’s some sort of an aged oolong — not really aged, just a few years under its belt, with a little sourness in the smell and that characteristic aged smell. I brewed it up normally, did not think much of it — seems a little hollow, and one note, but not particularly interesting. I brewed two kettle worth of water with it, and decided to basically call it a day.
Then, late night, I thought I wanted some more tea, but adhering to my one-tea-a-day rule, I had to just boil more water for my tea, instead of using new leaves. For some reason, I picked up my silver kettle instead of my usual tetsubin for the water. In the water goes, out comes the tea…. and the tea seems to have gained new life. All of a sudden, the taste is richer, with a fuller body and a deeper penetration into the back of the mouth and the throat area. The high note, which was already present in the original brewing, is now really obvious, but has undertones to support it so that the tea is not bland and hollow anymore. All in all, the tea is now good, and I want more.
This of course confirms what I already know, but sometimes forget – silver tends to be better for the teas with lighter notes. Sometimes, when faced with teas like aged oolongs, it’s not always easy to tell what’s going to happen, and experimentation is necessary. Now I wonder if I should go back and test some other recent teas with the silver kettle, which, until today, has been neglected in the back of my teaware cabinets. I think it’s time to work on water again.