Why went through burning charcoal to boil water for a pot of tea? Or in this case, green tea. Tetsubin has been a necessity for centuries in tea drinkers' spaces. Most of the higher quality Tetsubin could not be used on a stove top, but are recommended only with charcoal fire. This is something I am still puzzled about... perhaps any one could tell me the scientific reason?
What I found as non-scientific fact, only through pure observation and taste, was the charcoal burnt really hot and maintained good heat for a very long time. A pot of 750 ml could bring to a full boil in less than 5 mins. The water boiled this way tastes much more alive, lighter and sweeter. It gives a neutral, pure foundation for making the tea shine.
Here is a couple of braziers I use: 1. A tobacco brazier station for when I am smoking and paring tea. 2. A bronze tabletop brazier for keeping the water in slow/small boiling stage. 3. Pair of Lacquer braziers, one for starting and keeping the charcoal lit and the other for boiling water if I am not smoking.
Starting the charcoal is not that hard, using 3 pieces, place them on the gas stove to start, then pile on top of the well lit pieces with more charcoal in the brazier. Good ventilation and air flow is a must. To burn hot and be ready for boiling, will take around 20 mins. Solid oak charcoal is recommended.
So, all these troubles went into making my first green tea of this year. Thanks to Salsero from TeaChat, a very generous gift of Guo Bin Li Cha Mao Feng from teaspring and 2 other 2009 new harvests.
Floral! Nice light sweetness and Jasmine like aroma. Meaty and fresh like spring blossoms, a cross between Korean Jiri tea and Jade snail spring with some hint of malt/rice in the body. The Tetsubin iron which I believe in this case took the veggie and astringency out, replacing it with a sweet finish.
Building the fire for boiling kind of put me into a meditation, and prepare my mind and body to enjoy a tea moment. Happy Green Tea Season everyone. Enjoy!