Continued from Ceno-Tea – An Experiment – Part 1

The following day I set up a table and my traveling gaiwan set in a nice spot by the beach. I boiled the water then let it cool to about 170 F. The tea I wanted to try is a personal favorite of mine, the Kenya Hand-Rolled; a tea which the factory calls a white tea but it is clearly a black tea. ( Robertson Tea Kenya Hand-Rolled ) I’ve tasted this tea in Japan, India, and China and I brought some along on this sojourn so it seemed a likely candidate. The taste is light but full and has both fruity and floral notes. The aroma is similarly complex. Using short brewing times and a bit more leaf, it really brings out the layers of each infusion.

The Yorkshire Tea Company (among others) makes a tea blend specifically for hard water. On their website it states that, “Hard water … has filtered through rocks, like limestone, picking up calcium and minerals on the way. So the water is ‘denser’ and creates more residues caused by polyphenols in tea reacting with calcium.” Hard water can reveal flaws or undesirable elements in the tea so there can be something to learn by testing a tea in hard water. 

I am happy to confirm their assertions. Although a bit disappointed that the taste of one of my favorite teas did not amaze me, I could still tell it was that tea, albeit a bit flat and not as ebullient in its flavor. The color was still bright, though a bit darker than I’m used to. The aroma, I’m pleased to say, was still as indicative of this special tea as always. This reminded me to remember to appreciate the fragrance of the leaves in addition to the infusion. So, while I’m still in love with the Riviera Maya and the Yucatan cenotes, I think I’ll use a different water the next time I make this tea. “On the rocks” has a different (more concrete) meaning now rather than just ice cubes in my glass of tea. Agrrgh. Sorry for the bad pun but I couldn’t resist.

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