Wednesday, February 27, 2013

like a flower

We've been hit by another big storm in Toronto. Started raining hard late last night, turning into snow overnight. Looks like it'll be going all day - wet, heavy, dense snow that's almost impossible to shovel. Fun. Getting into work will be interesting ...

I drink a lot of tea. Most of the time I don't think much about it - just part of my daily routine. But this one was special. My mother brought back this osmanthus oolong tea from Shanghai. She went out with a friend for lunch, and it's common in Shanghai now to purchase quality tea from an outside vendor in restaurants. No more of that cheap (imitation) pu'er or whatever they can find. No, you buy a pack of fine tea and the restaurant brews it for your accordingly, giving you the rest of it to take home. These flower teas are wonderful. Delicate, fragrant, and slightly sweet on the palate. What's critical for these teas is brewing temperature. It can't be too hot - water that's just off boiling will scorch the teas, as unscientific as that concept is, and completely destroy the delicate flavours and aromas. It's too aggressive. I learned this lesson the last time I was in Shanghai. My uncle and aunt took us out to dinner at this restaurant that specialized in roast pigeons. We ordered this kind of tea, and our server brought out a glass beaker of water, and what looked like a temperature-controlled cooking top. She set it at 85°C, and allowed only a short steeping time. My uncle made this offhand comment about how the tea wasn't hot enough (nothing's ever too hot for the Chinese), and she explained that boiling the tea would render it lifeless. I like that a lot. Doing things the right way; aiming for perfection at everything you do.


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