What does it mean when bubbles are floating on our tea? Are they trying to tell us something? In their interesting article, "A Survey of the Gelatinous Qualities in Tea," Geng Jian Sing and Jhang Yan Ren postulate a connection between the presence of saponin, a "sticky, as if frozen, congealed substance" found in many well-aged puer teas, and a "rich and substantial liquor." There must be truth to that because a single cup of fine tea contains thousands of chemicals that give it its unique aroma, body, healthfulness and flavor. Bubbles may or may not be a sign of saponin, but lingering, well-formed bubbles usually indicate a desirable brothy-thickness... plus they're totally awesome.
This afternoon I sipped a tasty sheng puer tea (生普洱茶) that I purchased in Yingge, Taiwan (鶯歌,台灣). It was produced in the early 1990's (at least that's what the vendor told me). While drinking, I decided to take a few photos of my gaseous little friends.
1st infusion with a low and slow pour
Bubble Chasin' Vid:
So whenever you're drinking tea, always take a moment to appreciate your bubbles. They are like little tea angels surfing in your cup! Make friends with them. Give them names. Dance with them... and please tune in next week for an illuminating post about Bubbles' equally airy cousin, "Steam!"