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岩茶泡品的修煉與境界 The Refinement and Finesse for the Enjoyment of Crag Tea

Posted by CRM . on

岩茶做青发酵的阶段。

文 By: 許玉蓮 Hooi Yoke Lien

武夷岩茶之所以是武夷岩茶,屬於它的精魂,統統藏在發酵、焙火、隔年陳三種修煉。我們喝岩茶,是要喝發酵足、焙火足、至少放了一年的陳茶,才能體會岩茶的濃醇與韻味。

先說發酵,岩茶發酵不足,其葉青味無法消除,成茶後會帶著這股臭青味。發酵太輕的岩茶不利於焙火,其耐火程度較低,會導致茶質變空。發酵程度到位的岩茶,耐火程度才較高,在焙火過程中的轉化也較為豐富,如發酵程度低一點的可得花香味,如發酵程度高一點的可得熟果香味。

焙火是什麼?包括毛茶的走水焙,再經過復火,燉火等細膩繁複手法,歸納成中火烘焙與熟火烘焙(也叫做足火烘焙),即鑄造成岩茶坐不改名站不該姓的風骨。武夷岩茶通過低溫久焙,以火調香,以火調味,焙掉了青臭與苦澀,焙掉了輕浮與鋒芒,熟化香氣,醇化滋味,使茶性更濃稠。飲時香氣必從味裡出來,滋味中帶綿綿岩韻,舌面喉底皆留余甘,並且清得不得了。

走水焙:武夷岩茶從採摘至初制完成,再進行烘乾即是可飲用的毛茶,毛茶如做得好喝來素雅純淨,帶薄荷般清涼的鮮葉香,微微的苦苦得多好啊,毫無修飾的天然茶味,無韻也無火,那是毛茶中的含水量與走水焙時的火,結合後的香味。

中火烘焙:想要改變毛茶風格至更成熟更溫暖,可將茶葉拿去精製焙火,繼續把茶葉中含水量於適當火候中揮發掉,經過如此火與水的物物關係,岩茶就轉變成有花香特質的中火岩茶。

熟火烘焙(也叫做足火烘焙):焙火時實施低火溫長時間烘,在約60°火溫烤十小時,如是者分開二、三次做,讓葉子裡的水慢慢走得清清楚楚,所得岩茶就是物與物關係臻至爐火純青的寶物,綿綿韻味濃得化不開,轉變成熟果味的特質,絲毫未沾火味,但覺有股暖香幽幽纏着茶湯的身骨頭,有那麼一絲炭火香,就像本來應該屬於它的樣子。

急火烘焙出來的岩茶,比如高溫約100°c焙三小時,此種火與水之物物關係會將茶葉表面“烤死”,但水還囤積在茶葉裡,此種茶沖泡出來的效果就會有強烈刀斧味的火味,有些甚至拿起壺蓋便感覺一股刺鼻的熱氣,失去活性的岩茶則只能有“死火味”了。

人們在焙茶時如忽略了心感、手感、觸覺、嗅覺及視覺盲目做,茶品出來沒有生命力,焙火的時間不夠,不夠溫度,或焙過頭,亂七八糟的味道就會出來了。要用心感應茶葉的變化,用手試探它的呼吸,整個身體感同身受室溫的冷暖,聞它的香,時時觀察它才可得好茶。

隔年陳:岩茶焙好後,裝入木箱放置在黑暗、空氣流通的環境,慢慢退了火,茶香會留在水底,茶水才會更滋潤圓滑,味道回甘,韻味強。所以說,焙火、發酵和陳放是品飲岩茶的三種必要修煉,因為期間充滿變動因素,岩茶的滋味在種種交叉影響下才形成豐富的風格。

泡岩茶三種境界是選壺,擇水和泡法。選哪一種壺來泡岩茶:一把紅泥壺或瓷壺皆屬於必要的,燒結溫度高的器物,才能發揮香的清揚和味的鮮活,岩茶的香味要能掛杯底才好,韻味必能回甘在喉底才行。
用什麼水泡岩茶:要是在武夷山,我們務必跑到天心永樂禪寺附近盛山泉水,在家的話務必用瓶裝純淨礦泉水不可,其他類型水不合岩茶的性格。煮水時須慢火細燉,水才能燒得真正“開”,煮成軟水。無論如何,都不能用猛火催急,那只能讓水變熱吧了。水燒開後即滅火,開水不能一直重複煮不停,這樣會變成硬水,茶泡出來又苦又澀難喝得胃痛。每一泡茶,必須用新鮮燒開的水,這樣的水,容易滲透茶葉的心,使之釋放原本真味,茶味才能入口即化。

沖泡岩茶時注意:茶葉不可折斷,第一泡需浸夠時間才出湯,不要倒掉,這時品飲最香。岩茶沖泡需要浸泡使茶葉溶出內涵物,味道不可過濃,過濃則品不出岩茶的真味,岩茶滋味一個清字了得,特徵是岩韻綿長,滋味細柔,濃郁回甘。


The quality of crag tea (or yancha) hailed from Mount Wuyi is refined in three ways: fermentation, roasting, and storage and ageing. Typical full-bodied mellowness and lingering aftertaste are characteristics of crag tea that is adequately fermented, roasted, and aged for at least a year

Under-fermented leaves retain the green grassiness which would infuse the final product. Inadequately fermented leaves are less heat-resistant and promise nothing but a flat flavour after roasting. Crag tea that has undergone proper fermentation (or enzymatic oxidation) is more heat-resistant, allowing more flavour to be developed and released during the roasting process. Normally, tea with lower level of fermentation has a floral accent, while higher level fermentation gives a distinct ripe, fruity aroma.

What does the roasting process involve? Basically, there is the initial roasting for removing the moisture from the raw materials (or maocha, semi-finished tealeaves), followed by the more meticulous processes of medium roasting (or reheating) and slow roasting (or extended roasting). Roasting determines the character of the crag tea. Its flavour and aroma improve in the course of roasting with low heat over an extended period of time; done right, the grassiness, bitterness and astringency will be eliminated. The sharper flavour and more pronounced aroma are mellowed, revealing an intriguing and well-rounded character. The mouth-filling bouquet intertwines with the taste to bring out the allure of the rocky terroir. The finish, as the tea flows down the throat, is exceptionally clean and clear.

Initial roasting: When tealeaves are picked, processed and dried, they become the raw materials. Properly prepared, this will yield an aromatic infusion with a clean palate and mint-like freshness. The moisture in the raw materials interacts with the heat, releasing a hint of pleasant bitterness and delicate, natural flavour.

Medium roasting: The raw materials can develop a warmer and mellower character by way of a meticulous roasting process. The moisture of the tealeaves is further reduced in the course heating at an appropriate temperature. The interaction between fire and water results in medium-roasted crag tea with a distinct floral note.

Slow roasting: This refers to heating at low temperature for considerably longer time – it can last up to 10 hours at about 60°c, which can be done in 2 to 3 rounds. This way, moisture would have been removed thoroughly and the crag tea would have transformed into the ultimate treasure and pleasure embraced by tea aficionados. The ripe fruity flavour is intense with a long finish, while the subtle warm fragrance would have fully infused the tea. There is no harsh roasted smell; only a hint of charred aroma as if inherent in the tealeaves.

On the contrary, using high heat to speed up the process (such as roasting at 100°c for 3 hours) ‘kills’ the interaction between fire and water; the moisture would still be locked inside the tealeaves. Infusion made with such will have a strong smell of ‘fire’. In some cases, smothering heat would assail the nostrils as one lifts the lid of the teapot. The liveliness of crag tea is replaced by a ‘lifeless, roasted smell’.

The roasting process should be carried out with one’s feeling, touch, smell and sight, lacking of which the finished product will be lifeless. The temperature will fall short of the required if the duration is too short; on the contrary, over-roasting will yield tea infusion with a muddled taste. Pay attention to the changes in the tealeaves; touch it to gauge its breathing; feel the temperature in the room; note the smell and constantly observing it are some of the ways to ensure good quality crag tea.

Year-old aging: Roasted tealeaves are kept in wooden crates stored in a shaded but airy place. Allow time for the heat to dissipate; this way, the aroma of the tealeaves will stay in the infusion when steeped, yielding a nourishing and smooth beverage with sweet, lingering aftertaste. That is why the technique of fermentation, roasting, and storage and ageing need to be refined when it comes to crag tea. There are a lot of variable factors through the entire processes; it is the ways in which they react to each other that help develop the rich and complex character crag tea is famous for.

The finesse for the enjoyment of crag tea lies in three aspects: the choice of teapot, the preparation of water and the way of brewing. A red clay pot or a porcelain pot is a must – only teapots fired at a very high temperature could bring out the mesmerizing clarity and liveliness of its unique flavour. The aroma should linger on at the bottom of the cup, and the finish should be long enough to stay in the throat.

Water for brewing: At Mount Wuyi, the unanimous choice will be the spring water near Yongle Monastry. Pure mineral water is acceptable for brewing at home. Other types of water are simply not up to the task. Use low heat to boil water to retain its ‘softness’. Do not use high fire – turn it off once the water is boiled; repeated boiling will transform it into hard water. Brewing with hard water will only produce inferior infusion that is bitter, astringent and stomach-twitching. Use freshly-boiled water for each brew. This way, the water gets to penetrate the tealeaves readily, releasing the authentic flavour for a ‘melt-in-the-mouth’ sensation.

Brewing tips: Keep tealeaves intact; do not crush or break them. Make sure the steeping time is long enough for the first brew. Do not pour away the infusion as this is the most aromatic brew. It takes time for the soluble compounds of crag tea to dissolve in water; however, the tea infusion should not be too strong, as this will overshadow the original flavour of crag tea. Essentially, the enjoyment of crag tea is about the lingering flavour and aroma characteristic of the rocky terroir typical of Wuyi, which is marked by cleaness, clarity, refined taste and a long and intense finish.


岩茶准备焙火阶段。

Oolong Tea Tea Tips Wuyi Cliff-Grown Tea 乌龙茶 武夷岩茶

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