One of my writing students, Juliet, wrote about "old man's tea" for her process essay this last year. I thought in continuing the theme of tea in Taiwan I would share with you her essay. Keep in mind she English is her foreign language and this was an assignment for her class. Otherwise: enjoy learning how to make old man's tea from a Taiwanese young person!
"Old man’s tea" is an old Chinese convention. It is a nice kind of rest and recreation for leisure. Many people in Taiwan like “old man’s” tea and my boyfriend likes, too. He is older that me, so he is an old man, so he enjoys “old man’s” tea. My boyfriend thinks drinking the tea can help our body’s metabolism, and make our spirits become well. Would you like your health to get better? Would you like to learn how to make “old man’s” tea? Making “old man’s” tea is not difficult when you follow these three steps.
The first step to making “old man’s” tea is to get the things you need. You should choose a kind of tea you like because the tea has many different types and tastes. If you like mild flavors you should choose green tea, black tea, or wu long tea for a sweet and sharp taste. If you want to drink a fragrant, sweet tea, try one of the flower teas. They are not dry and coarse. After you choose your tea, then you need to prepare other stuff. You need to have a fire stove for boiling water, some drinking water a tea pot, tongs, tall narrow “smell cups” and a cloth. You need to have them all ready.
After you have completely prepared every thing, with nothing missing, you can start to make tea. First, put tea leaves in the tea pot. Next, boil the water and pour the water in the tea pot. It should soak for about three minutes. Take the first brew and wash the tea cups with it. This makes them hot. Also, pour the first brew into the “tall smell cups” to smell the tea. But, the first brew had is messy, so the first brew is not usually drank. Then put the hot water in the pot again. Remember, do not soak for too long of a time because, the tea will have an astringent taste.
Finally, the last step of making “old man’s” tea is to drink and enjoy the tea. First, give every one a smell cup and a tea cup. Then pour the second brew of tea into the smell cup. Then pour the tea from the smell cup into the tea cup. You can smell the smell cup’s scent. After wards, you can drink the tea. The tea will be hot, so you should be careful not to burn your mouth. When the second brew is gone, you can use the same tea leaves again to brew more tea. But, after soaking about five or six times, the tea leaves will have not taste. There fore you should change to new leaves and repeat the 2 and 3 steps.
No matter what, these three steps are very important: Prepare for, make and enjoy “old men’s” tea. Each one can not be forget on. Making “old man’s” tea is not difficult when you follow these steps. So you can try to learn to make “old man’s” tea and you will feel it is interesting. And, at the some time you will be experiencing a special part of Taiwanese culture.