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問茶 What’s there to know about Tea

Posted by CRM . on

文 By: 林福南 Lim Hock Lam

茶,按发酵程度来分,可有四类。
不发酵、半发酵、全发酵、后发酵。
发酵是食物生化作用。
杀青是施热阻绝发酵。

茶叶离树,第一时间杀青,或以蒸以烘以锅炒,不让发酵,成茶就是绿茶。
发酵途中,或轻或中或重,再杀青后就是半发酵茶,俗称乌龙,不尽然乌龙。
发酵百分百之后才杀青,就是全发酵茶,通称红茶。
比较有趣的是,已是不发酵茶的命,却还动情再发酵,如此后发,自成一格,普洱归之,湖南花卷、广西六堡伴之。

绿茶茶嫩香高,西湖龍井、洞庭碧螺春、六安瓜片、黄山毛峰、信陽毛尖,都有極品,因未發酵,纯如美少女,闻者逐香,品者動心。
烏龍色、香、韵皆備,如人生中段,歲月歷煉,歷經釆青、晒青,晾青、做青、殺青、揉捻、初焙、復焙、復包揉、文火慢烤、揀簸,痛到沉處,傷到深處,方可甘回,其醇如美少妇,智与慧兼容,品之也宜从容。
閩南鐵觀音、閩北武夷岩茶、潮汕鳳凰單丛、台灣高山茶,還有白毫烏龍,閨名東方美人,依此章法,各自修行,各顯其姿其色。
紅茶则亮亮烈烈,該怎麼着就怎么着,可以卑微,入袋随泡;可以媚俗,调糖兑奶;也可以博雅,入于宫廷。这茶通透世道,入世不隱,处世不惊。
其中一门贵族,源于武夷,自夸正山,谦称小种。
另有一支,粉身碎骨,入袋成仁,化身大千,化名"立頓",已是百萬噸,億兆袋。
至于后发酵茶,出道遇杀,其青不复还在,如小沙弥於世间流转,在漫漫歲月里证道修成。
这一路上,云南普洱灵性几番挣扎,或渥或堆或入倉,成餅成磚還成沱;广西六堡則日习於常,匿伏于箩,成型也行,散處也行;湖南花卷,情怀楚湘,另修法門,千两佇立,默守千年。
如今,后发酵者先至,茶竟倚老可存可卖,无限追有限,有價亦無價。
這一老,非老化非腐化,反是陳化与醇化,如酒、如醋、如陳皮。

人生在世,发酵几分,杀青何时?成了什麼茶?

知来干嘛?且喫茶去!



Tea can be categorized according to its level of fermentation. As such, there are four types of tea under this categorization, namely unfermented tea, partially fermented tea, fully fermented tea and post-fermented tea. The term fermentation when applied to tea refers to the enzymatic oxidation of tealeaves, which may be halted by heating through the process known as fixation.

Green teas are fresh leaves steamed, cured or pan fried – all methods of fixation – immediately after being picked to arrest the action of plant enzymes right from the start.

Partially-fermented tealeaves which have undergone varying degrees of fermentation before fixation are commonly known as Oolong; though there are other varieties as well.

Tea thoroughly fermented before the final fixation is referred to as black tea (or dark tea).

Post-fermented tea is somewhat unusual – it has gone through a round of fermentation after brief withering, contributing to its unique character. The best known example is Pu’er. Other fine examples of teas in this category are Hunan Huajuan and Guangxi Liubao.

The tender leaves of green tea give a fresh aroma and enticing infusion that lures tea drinkers. Examples are Xihu longjing, Dongting biluochun, Liuan guapian, Huangshan maofeng, and Xinyang maojian.

If green tea is an attractive young lady, Oolong would be a captivating woman. Rich in colour, aroma and taste, Oolong has gone through a long process, from tea harvesting, sun-curing and cooling through tossing-airing, fixation, rolling, repeated baking and wrap kneading to slow fire drying and screening. This painstaking tea-making method contributes to the tea’s mellow smoothness that calls for leisurely enjoyment.

Minnan tieguanyin, Minbei wuyi yancha, Chaozhou fenghuang dancong, and Baihao oolong (Dongfang meiren, aka Oriental Beauty) are fine examples of Oolong tea produced in such a manner.

Black tea, on the other hand, is a bright and bold soul. It is amazingly versatile, be it in the form of teabags, served with sugar and cream, or relished by the royal and the noble; it is recognized worldwide.

Among these is Lapsang souchong, one of the high end varieties hailed from Wuyishan.

For the mass market, we have teabags sold in millions and billions under different brand names, including the household name of ‘Lipton’.

Post-fermented tea is a story of graceful ageing. Fermentation after fixation has led this tea down another path – while it is transformed into a fermented tea after a maturation process, it has retained some of its ‘greenness’ at heart.

Along the way, Yunnan Pu'er has gone through a lot of changes by way of repeated wetting and piling or extended period of storage. The finished products could be in the form of discs/cakes (cha bing), bricks (cha zhuan) or small domes (tuo cha). Guangxi Liubao quietly ages in baskets; it may be sold in a variety of compressed shapes or in its loose form. Originated from Hunan, Huajuan is available in cylindrical packaging of a thousand taels.

Over the years, post-fermented tea has built a strong following. It is acquired by collectors and traders alike. The demand is so great that it is both pricey, and priceless. Aging has added to the tea’s mellowness, richness and intensity, the way it does wine, vinegar and tangerine peel.

How can we tell whether the fermentation has reached the right level, or the fixation is done, or the resulting tea is masterfully made?

Why bother? The answer may well be in each sip.
Tea Talk

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