For all of you who ever wanted to know how to make some homemade HongCha I’ll share today how it’s done. Well, in principle at least, improvements pending. 😉
What you need first is to find some tea-plants at the right time of year where you can pick without getting into trouble. Either be it your own plants, wild ones or an abandoned tea field like this one:
you’ll end up with an respectable amount in no time
Although for simple HongCha less equipment is needed than for various green tea varieties, still a lot of manual work is to be done (if you don’t have any machines or want it handmade anyways).
and still some more, as grandma said if the back of your hand doesn’t get wet, it’s not enough.
Please mind this way your hands are likely to get very stained and you’ll have to live with brownish-yellow hands for a while. I didn’t mind, but be warned!
When you’re done, it all goes in an airtight vessel and is being left alone in a warm place until the tea itself starts to produce some fermentation heat. You’ll feel the bowl getting warmer to roughly know when its ready.
You can of course vary the time you massage the leaves and the time you ferment them according to your taste and desired outcome. If you like your tea stronger, massage more. If you like it to produce more infusions, massage a bit less. Just experiment a bit to find out what you like.