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Brewing Yancha Rock Tea – Shui Xian: A Comprehensive Guide

Today, let’s dive into the art of brewing Oolong tea, specifically Yancha or rock tea. Grab your gaiwan and let’s get brewing!

The Basics of Brewing Oolong Tea

  1. Tea Leaf Measurement: The eternal question – how much tea should one use? The amount of tea leaves should correspond to the size of the brewing vessel. If you’re unsure, a handy trick I often use is to measure the tea leaves using the gaiwan itself (while it’s dry, of course).
  2. Warming Up: Always begin by warming up the gaiwan. A warmed gaiwan intensifies the aroma of the tea leaves, giving you a preview of the flavors that will unfold.
  3. Rinsing the Tea: Start with a quick rinse using boiling water. This brief rinse awakens the tea leaves and primes your teacup for the subsequent infusions. If you’re curious about when to rinse and when to skip, we have a detailed video on that.
  4. Understanding Infusion: The infusion process, especially for rock tea, should ideally yield a deep amber to dark orange liquor. Sometimes, it may even lean towards a ruby hue. Always remember to enjoy the aroma of the wet leaves and the lid of the gaiwan. With rock tea, you often get contrasting notes of creaminess and mineral rockiness, teasing the senses with every sniff.

Warm the Gaiwan

Rinse Gaiwan

Rinse the Tea Leaves

Rinse Tea Leaves

The Intricacies of Brewing Yancha Rock Tea

Rock tea, sourced from the Wuyi mountains, isn’t just one tea. It represents a whole family of teas, with several cultivars. What binds them together is the unique rock tea processing method which involves deeper oxidation and more roasting. This results in notes of dark chocolate, tobacco, and the characteristic rocky flavor.

Each rock tea, from Shui Xian to Rou Gui, looks and tastes distinct. Understanding their differences and adjusting your brewing techniques accordingly can elevate your tea experience.

Consistency is Key

Consistency, in both the tea quality and brewing technique, can make or break your Oolong tea experience. A sign of quality tea is its performance across multiple infusions – it should decline gracefully rather than taking a sudden nosedive. As a brewer, strive for consistent infusion durations and pay close attention to the liquor’s color as it can guide your brewing times.

First Infusion

First Infusion

Sixth Infusion

Sixth Infusion

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re a seasoned tea connoisseur or just starting your tea journey, the art of brewing yancha rock tea is a continuous learning process. Remember, there’s no right or wrong. Experiment, enjoy the little nuances, and most importantly, have fun with it.

If you found this guide helpful and wish to explore more, do check out our detailed brewing videos. Don’t forget to give a thumbs up if you enjoy our content, and consider subscribing for more tea insights. Until our next tea session, keep steeping and savoring the flavors of life. Cheers! 🍵

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