The short answer to the question is yes it can.
I was born in Yerevan, Armenia. At the time it was USSR. Many would agree that people from that part of the world are very much tea drinkers. In Russia, there is the traditional Samovar.
A samovar is a device traditionally used to heat and boil water for tea. The word samovar in Russian is derived from “сам” meaning self and “варить” meaning to boil. The name can be loosely translated into English as “self-boiler.” A google search would reveal several videos demonstrating how samovar works from traditional wooden to electric ones. For a cup, we used anywhere from fine china (think Royal Albert style) to glass with a silver holder (image 2). As for the tea, it was mostly black with a little bit of sugar or fruit jam. It was delicious! Little did I know that I would later be in the premium Chinese tea business in the US.
This opened up a new world for me from the cultural point of view as well as artisanal.
One day my wife and I were at a tea tasting event in Ningbo, Zhejiang, China. Ningbo is my wife’s birthplace which is located about 100 miles south of Shanghai. It is one of the main naval and commercial ports of China.
Tea drinking in China is very ceremonial. They take you to sit down around a special tea table, oftentimes made from a block of solid one-piece wood. There is a built-in tea boiling system connected to the drainer. In the middle of the table, they place tea tray茶盘 – to “wash洗茶” and “awaken醒茶” tea leaves before serving. The master decided to offer us aged Pu-er tea and aged “golden flower金花白茶” tea. Both of them were in a form of a pressed brick. Suddenly I realized that the master was going to boil the tea.
During the initial steeps, he boiled the tea for only a few minutes, but towards the tenth steep, he kept it for at least five minutes and more.
As the tea was boiling, we were having a conversation about tea and other things. I was trying to be engaged in the conversation without constantly interrupting my wife for translation. Besides, I wanted to follow all the traditions not to come across as rude or impolite. I found Chinese people to be forgiving as long as you express transparency and willingness to learn. As we communicated, the master took the cattle from the boiler, filtered it, and served the tea in traditional Chinese very tiny teacups. The “Golden Flower” tea is considered to be a type of aged white tea, but once it’s boiled and brewed, there is nothing “white” about it. It turns into a very deep amber color in the meantime maintaining crisp clear visibility, almost shiny. It has a very delicate sweet flavor, floral, but somewhat earthy. The aged aspect of it gives it a special complexity. This tea can be enjoyed by a beginner as well as a tea connoisseur. Immediately after taking my first sip, that tea became one of my favorite teas for a special occasion. And now, whenever I am fortunate to be offered white tea or aged Pu-er tea, there is a sense of excitement and suspense in me.
— By Andy Hakobyan (HER-CHA co-founder)