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Tea Cooking in the Ancient Times

Spring water is the best for cooking tea. The river water is the second best, followed by well water. Among spring waters, the one gushing out or slowly flowing through the rocky pond is the best. The water rushing out and flowing rapidly is no good and will lead to neck ailment if drunk for a long time. Water from river should be taken at the places far away from human activity. If well water has to be used, the well from which people frequently take water should be chosen.

During cooking, when bubbles the size of fish eye begin to emerge with small sizzling sound, it is the first boil. When bubbles appear in rapid succession from the rim of the kettle, it is the second boil. When the water rolls in the kettle, it is the third boil. The third-boil water is too old to be worth drinking. At the first boil, some salt can be added based on the quantity of the water. At the second boil, a ladleful of water should be taken and put aside for future use. Then, stir the boiling water with a bamboo stick and add proper amount of tea leaves. When the tea water begins to roll and some water foam spills out, immediately add in the ladleful of water taken moments ago to stop boiling and cultivate the Foam Dough, also known as Water Bloom. In fact, the thin substance in the water bloom is called Foam, the thick one is called Dough, and the fine and light one is called Bloom. The Foam should be evenly distributed to individual bowls.

The freshly cooked tea has the best taste. If put aside too long, the tea will taste lighter. The best tea soup should be light yellow with fresh aroma. The tea water tastes bitter at first but turns sweet after being swallowed.