Iron Goddess is one of the most well-known oolong teas in China. Oolong tea is characterized by the semi-fermentation of the tealeaves. Iron Goddess differs from all other oolongs in that it is fermented longer and its leaves tend to be more spherical in shape. One intriguing aspect of this tea is its unique name. Such a beautiful name is the result of an old legend that explains the origin of this tea.
Legend of Iron Goddess:
Centuries ago there lived a poor farmer in the Fujian Province of China. He lived by a temple that was dedicated to the Iron Goddess of Mercy. The temple was in poor condition since it wasn’t kept by anyone for a long time. The farmer cleaned the temple and burned incense to honor the Goddess. Touched by the poor farmer’s devotion to her temple, the Iron Goddess appeared to him in a dream and told him to find a treasure left for him behind her temple. The farmer woke up and…
Ever since the first consumption of tea in China dated sometime between 2700 BC and 220AD, tea has became an important component of Chinese daily life. With hundreds of different varieties of green tea to choose from, the Chinese favored the Dragon Well by making it the most widely consumed green tea. When Mao opened China to foreigners during his historically significant first meeting with Nixon, he served him Dragon Well. Below are some of the characteristics to the famous Dragon Well.
There are many different legends all over Asia to explain the origins of Dragon Well. According one legend in China, there was a great drought on Lion’s Peak in 250 AD that threatened crops of tea. A monk went to a dragon residing in a nearby spring to pray for rain. The dragon granted the monk’s wish and the spring never dried out, hence the name Dragon Well. Today, Dragon Well is…
Keep in mind that tea is vulnerable to 5 things: air, light, odor, heat, and moisture. When tea is excessively exposed to these 5 elements, it will gradually lose flavor and become stale.
If you plan on not using your tea for a while, the best place to store it would be in double-lidded, airtight tin canisters or ceramic containers. Another very important rule to remember is to always keep tea at cool and dry places.
In general, oolong and black tea could be kept between 2-3 years under ideal conditions. Tea that is less oxidized has a shorter shelf time. Green and white tea could remain fresh for up to 2 years if stored properly.
Shop for tea storage containers, canisters, and zip pouches.
Gongfu Tea Brewing became popular during China’s Ming Dynasty about the year 1500. The difference between using the regular brewing method and the Gongfu tea method is in the amount of tealeaves used and the steeping duration of the tea. The Gongfu method involves using more tealeaves, but the infusion duration is shorter. This allows for multiple infusions. This method of brewing requires practice and the term “Gongfu style” literally means using great skill to brew tea. This method is great for Oolong teas and good for Black teas, but generally isn’t meant for Green or Scented teas.
Terms and Equipment:
These are the teapots used for Gongfu style brewing. These pots are made from porous purple clay and actually absorb the flavors of the tealeaves to produce a more enjoyable cup of tea.
Serving Pot or Vessel:
Once the tea is steeped for the desired amount of time, then the tea is poured from the…
Before there were Teapots…
Teapots are relatively a new invention compared to the amount of time that tea has been around. In the 7th century, tea came in bricks. A chunk was cut off and then broken up so that it can be boiled in water. They were boiled in cauldrons and then the tea was sipped from wide bowls. Shortly after, powdered tea became popular. The grounded tea was mixed with hot water in a deep and wide bowl. This type of bowl helped facilitate the whipping of the powder to a froth with a whisk. When the powder settled, the tea was drunk out of the bowl.
Early forms of Teapots
The traditional teapots weren’t needed until the type of tea changed. In the 1300′s, leaf infusion started and now teapots were necessary to allow for the tea to steep. Teapot-like vessels have been around in China for thousands of years, but they were used for wine and water. These vessels had a spout and handle and eventually were adopted for the steeping…
Accidental Discovery of Tea
In 2737 BC, legend has it that leaves from a tree dropped into Emperor Shen Nung’s cup of boiling water. The servant had boiled the water for hygienic reasons before the emperor was to drink it. But this time the water was turned brown by the wayward leaves. Being a scientist, the emperor was curious and decided to try some of this new liquid. He found the liquid aromatic and refreshing. Since that serendipitous beginning, tea has been part of many cultures down through the years.
Tea moves to Japan via Buddhist Priests
2000 years after the beginnings of tea, Buddhist priests traveling between Japan and China introduced this drink to Japan. The priests brought tea seeds back to be cultivated in Japan. This was such a success that tea quickly became an integral part of Japanese life. The Japanese Tea Ceremony was soon perfected with the help of Ch’a Ching (The Tea Book, written by Chinese Scholar Lu Yu).
Tea Leaps to Europe through Trade
Tea reaches Europe…