|The other side of the store is just as full of interest|
"Always two rinses," Michael said, although he was always quick to point out (in his typically humble way) that this is just the way he does things and not some kind of "expert rule." With well-aged puerh he rinses once (just in-and-out with the water) and then puts the lid on the yixing to let the leaves sit inside the warm moist cavity for a minute or two before giving it a second quick rinse. This allows the old leaves to swell and rehydrate, he explained, preparing them to give their best. I've tried this a few times since our meeting and I must say it really makes a difference. With younger sheng he doesn't do the "letting it sit in the yixing" part. In fact, he doesn't use a yixing for younger sheng, at all. If the puerh is ten years or younger he brews it with a gaiwan. He also mentioned he likes to match the age of the yixing with the age of the tea, although he gave a big laugh when he said this, again noting it was just the way he liked to do things and not a rule you have to follow for good tea.
|seat of honor|
|all the goodies I came home with|
Being the fragrance lover I am, I asked Michael if he ever used an aroma cup. "Never for puerh," he said, but he does when tasting oolongs. I was surprised to hear this and was puzzling over it when he handed me the freshly emptied fairness pitcher, which puzzled me even more! I had no clue what I was supposed to do with it or why he was even handing it to me. Noting my cluelessness (hard not to miss!) he showed me how to hold the pitcher under my nose to take in the aromas. Like other things I learned from him this day I've been incorporating this into my practice at home, as well. Enjoying aroma in this way has a lot of advantages over the aroma cup. No fussing with little cups (which always used to burn my fingers) and you get to enjoy those heavenly evaporative fragrances throughout the whole session and not just one time at the start. Yes, there's always the yixing lid to offer some of this, but using the fairness pitcher in this way is superior I think, in that the shape of the pitcher naturally funnels the aromas in a particular direction, especially if you hold the cup like Michael showed me (I'm kicking myself now that I didn't get a photo of this, sorry). Essentially, the pitcher is held nearly sideways by the handle, with the handle below and the opening held just under the nose. It takes a bit of practice to locate the upward flow of aroma and hold it under your nose just right, but once its there its full of reward. The 2001 Bok Choy was truly amazing when appreciated this way (and all the other ways, too)!
|Michael and Patricia Fung, valued friends :)|