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Xiao Qing Gan Tea is a product of aged ripe pu-erh tea cured in fresh king orange fruit. The tea comes from small green oranges originally from Vietnam. However, these oranges are also grown in China.
These king oranges are the pride of Tianma village, where high-quality fruits, especially oranges, are grown. The pu-erh is an aged 10 years old chatou, clotted parts of the ripe pu-erh tea, that crumble off during fermentation. Chatou is sweet and aromatic.
This article will take you through all the steps needed to make xiao qing gan tea. These include the selection of leaves, how to keep them fresh, ingredients, ideal temperature, and how best you can serve them.
Understanding the Ingredients
Different types of tea leaves can make xiao qing gan tea
Xiao qing gan is an unripe green, small orange whole peel with ripe Puer Tea, staffed in it. You can also use it as a dried orange peel.
The ideal water temperature and quality for brewing
The ideal water temperature should be about 95-100℃. Anything lower than that gives you undercooked tea. If it is hotter than that, you get burnt tea.
Any additional ingredients added to enhance the flavor
Add your preferred sweetener a little bit at a time and taste as it cooks. That prevents over-sweetening the drink. Be careful so that you do not over boil the tea. Keep the pot simmering rather than boiling to stop the bitterness from overtaking the tea. You can also add spicy herbs, such as Cinnamon bark.
Preparing the Tea Leaves
They pick green oranges every July and August when the Xinhui oranges are still underaged. At this time, the oranges feel hard on the outside with thin green peel. The content of the natural aromatic oils of these baby oranges is higher and fresher and has more flavor than that of mature ones.
The fruits are picked in the afternoon to maximize the preservation of the fragrance when the following process is done in the evening. After picking the oranges, rinse the fruits. Some large factories utilize machines for rinsing, while smaller ones rinse them by hand.
Washing and rinsing the tea leaves
Pour hot water into the teapot, stay for a few seconds, and discard the soup. The first tea brew may contain harmful substances. It should be abandoned. However, some tea has been washed clean during the processing, and there is no need to get rid of the water.
Importance of removing any impurities from the leaves
Tea leaves are contaminated by dust and dirt during cultivation and processing, and there may be pesticide residues on the surface of tea leaves. These are harmful enough for your health.
Outline the steps for shaping and rolling the leaves.
The tea leaves are hand rolled into a ball-like shape if you do not have a rolling machine. This method gets the tea leaf’s natural oils and juices to seep out, enhancing the final flavor (Pathfcha.com).
How to make xiao qing gan tea
The process of brewing the tea, including the number of leaves and water to use
You can brew it in several ways, depending on the feature you prefer to enjoy. For a citrusy taste, brew it as it is. The first short flushes should be about the orange peels, and the complex citrusy-woodsy aromas it can release.
The tea soup is pale orange, silky and pungent, sharp with tangerine, cedar, and cypress. However, if you decide to brew it longer, it has to be 4 minutes first steeping to let all the aromas come forward and blend. Break the orange in half for the later flushes to allow the pu-erh tea to do its part.
To enjoy the full body of the pu-erh right away, break the orange in half before steeping. For smaller tea sessions, use only one half and keep the other for later. The citrus aroma will be present, although fainter.
However, it becomes more prominent in the fragrance than in the taste. The tea turns into a dark brown, creamy liquor steaming herbs and raw vanilla. Like timber, the flushed leaves are fresh and woodsy, but the liquor is round and steady in flavor. It is herbal and earthy. It is ideal for larger tea sessions you can share with your tea friends. Each piece is wrapped individually.
- Remove the lid of the citrus and put it in a teapot.
- Take out and put some tea leaves from the citrus so that the first brew will have the right thickness and flavor at the appropriate time. Use one ball of tea per serving.
- Wash tea once or twice.
- Slowly pour hot water toward the opening of the citrus. The water has to occupy 4/5 of the teapot, leaving some space for tea leaves to spread.
- After some time, pour hot water toward the edge of the bowl. Since outer tea leaves are easy to open, do not impact directly with water pressure.
- When the outer tea leaves are soaked, pour hot water toward the inner tea leaves again.
- Pour toward the inner tea leaves until it is full. The upper is weak, and the lower is darker.
- Tea water is mixed, and the color/taste becomes perfect.
Proper steeping time and temperature
The temperature should be about 95-100℃ (203-212℉). Infuse the tea for 2-3 minutes and steep it 5-8 times. The longer you brew tea leaves, the stronger the taste (Artfultea.com). This tea requires longer steeping of 4 or 6 minutes in a mug or large teapot. The orange peel releases flavor quickly, but it takes more time for the water to penetrate the tea inside the fruit. That is how the orange flavor balances the earthy taste of pu erh.
Tips for achieving the perfect balance of flavor and aroma
- The number of tea leaves varies with different tea types and personal preferences. If you like your tea strong, put more; if you prefer light tea, put less.
- Make Chinese tea right before drinking. Do not keep tea soup in thermos cups.
- The water temperature to make Chinese tea depends on the tenderness of the tea leaves. Old tea can be directly brewed with hot water of 95℃ (203℉), while fresh tea is better brewed with water of 80℃ (176℉).
- Pu erh tea of good quality is brewed about 10 times.
- Do not drink overnight tea.
Serving and Storing the Tea
How to properly serve and present the tea
The tea should be poured into the cup first, shaken evenly, and then pour into the serving cups. That way, the tea tastes the same, either early or late. After the tea is served, first observe the shape and color of the tea instead of drinking it immediately. Smell its fragrance holding the teacup. Taste it.
Best ways to store the tea to maintain freshness
Xiao Qing Gan can keep for three years and even 10-20 years. However, drink it as soon as possible without long-term storage. A better storage environment is one of the conditions for the tea to become delicious over time.
There has to be a fixed temperature and humidity. Mold is dangerous if tea absorbs moisture in the air under high temperatures. For long-term storage, avoid exposing it to moisture. Keep it in a room where the temperature does not change so much.
Offer suggestions for pairing the tea with food
You can have the tea with pan-fried chicken, turkey, potatoes, stir-fry, and pizzas with root vegetable toppings.
In conclusion, xiao qing gan tea can be served delicious if you follow the proper steps. You should know how best to keep the tea fresh and what to add for better taste. Keep tasting as you steep the tea until it is satisfactory. Experiment with different variations of xiao qing gan for an interesting experience.
How to make xiao qing gan tea with loose leaves?
To make xiao qing gan tea with loose leaves, follow these steps:
- Boil water in a kettle or pot.
- Rinse the tea leaves with hot water to remove any dust or impurities.
- Add the tea leaves to a teapot or tea infuser.
- Pour the hot water over the tea leaves and steep for 2-3 minutes.
- Strain the tea leaves and pour the tea into a cup.
- Serve the tea plain or with sweeteners like honey or rock sugar, according to personal preference.
It’s important to note that the water temperature and steeping time may vary depending on the quality of the tea leaves and personal preference. Generally, xiao qing gan tea should be brewed with water at around 185-195°F (85-90°C) for 2-3 minutes to bring out the best flavor and aroma. Over-steeping or using too hot water may result in a bitter taste.
What is the difference between xiao qing gan tea and green tea?
Xiao qing gan tea, also known as sheng pu-erh tea, is a Chinese tea produced through natural fermentation and aging. The tea leaves are hand-picked, sun-dried, and then pressed into cakes or bricks for aging. The taste and aroma of xiao qing gan tea can vary depending on the age and quality of the tea leaves, but it typically has a light and fresh taste with floral and herbal notes.
Green tea, on the other hand, is made from unfermented tea leaves that are heated to stop the oxidation process. The leaves are then rolled and dried by machine or by hand. The taste and aroma of green tea can vary depending on the variety and processing method, but it typically has a fresh and vegetal taste with a slightly bitter finish.
How long should xiao qing gan tea be steeped?
Xiao qing gan tea should be steeped for about 2-3 minutes in hot water at a temperature of around 185-195°F (85-90°C) for the first infusion. This will bring out the best flavor and aroma of the tea without causing it to become bitter or astringent. For subsequent infusions, the steeping time can be gradually increased by 10-15 seconds each time, and the water temperature can be slightly higher to extract more flavor from the tea leaves.
The optimal steeping time may vary depending on personal preference and the quality of the tea leaves. Generally, a longer steeping time will result in a stronger and more pungent taste, while a shorter one will produce a lighter and more delicate taste.
It’s important to note that xiao qing gan tea leaves can be steeped multiple times, with each infusion producing a slightly different taste and aroma profile. The number of infusions that can be made from the tea leaves will depend on the quality of the leaves and the brewing technique used.
Can xiao qing gan tea be resteeped?
Yes, xiao qing gan tea can be resteeped multiple times, with each infusion producing a slightly different taste and aroma profile. The number of times the tea leaves can be resteeped will depend on the quality of the tea leaves and the brewing technique used.
For the first infusion, xiao qing gan tea should be steeped in hot water for about 2-3 minutes at a temperature of around 185-195°F (85-90°C). For subsequent infusions, the steeping time can be gradually increased by 10-15 seconds each time, and the water temperature can be slightly higher to extract more flavor from the tea leaves.
What are some recommended food pairings for xiao qing gan tea?
Xiao qing gan tea has a light and fresh taste with floral and herbal notes, making it a versatile tea that can be paired with various foods. Here are some food pairing suggestions that can complement the taste of the tea:
- Steamed or pan-fried seafood: The delicate flavor of seafood such as shrimp, scallops, or fish can complement the light and refreshing taste of xiao qing gan tea.
- Grilled or roasted chicken or turkey: The savory and umami flavors of poultry can balance the herbal and floral notes of the tea, creating a well-rounded taste experience.
- Stir-fry or sautéed vegetables: The crisp and fresh taste of vegetables such as snow peas, broccoli, or bell peppers can complement the light and vegetal taste of the tea.
- Root vegetable-based dishes: The earthy and sweet flavors of root vegetables such as sweet potatoes, carrots, or beets can harmonize with the herbal and floral notes of the tea.
- Light or vegetable-based pizzas: The light and fresh taste of the tea can complement the flavors of pizzas with vegetable toppings such as mushrooms, onions, or spinach.