This year, the night on September 10th will see a big full moon. That will be the Mid-Autumn Festival. In this part of the world, people are busy piling up on mooncakes and making ready for lantern parties and dinner gatherings. A good tea is indispensable. Not only is it an entertainment, but also a must have for all those extra calories and fats ingrained in festive eating, including that devilishly delicious and sweet mooncake.
I’d recommend a tea infused to medium strength for pairing with the food, and a stronger brew for a starter and a roundup. Many people, especially those in Hong Kong, easily fall back to pu’er for the pairing choice. Indeed it is a safest choice for it almost always naturally wouldn’t argue in taste with that of most food. So are most black teas. For mooncakes, greasy dishes with lots of tastes, however, there are the great options of Phoenix and Wuyi oolongs. Their notes sing with your food.
For starter, use a sharper tasting selection, such as a deeper baked oolong. Tieguanyin Classic, Lily Eccentric, Honey Concubine etc help to heighten the senses. Serve it up in smaller cups, such as 50 to 70 ml.
To round it all up, get a more complex, rounder oolong, a really matured shengcha, or a deeper black tea. Also serve it up in a small, yet strong, portion. Alternatively, a really floral yet full body selection, such as Aura of the Night, Danhu Old Bush, or Hong Yu Deep White etc does the job well.
For those who are not yet able to prepare a strong tea well, choose a more intense tea and prepare it to a strength you are comfortable in controlling. Honey Orchid Supreme, Red Cloak Grande, Imperial Topaz etc are good examples of such teas.
The morning after is important too. Your systems have a lot of cleaning up to do. Green and white teas do the job well. Don’t do small portions. You should be drinking a lot of tea. Infuse using a longer duration, a smaller leaf to water ratio, and a new batch of leaves every time to maximise the benefits. I myself prefer a cleansing, crispier tea like Longding (Dragon Tips), but there are people who need softer, milder teas like White Peony Classic. Just drink enough of it. Some doctors say 6 cups a day. I do around that number too, just in a bigger cup.
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Enjoy the full moon!