Makes: 6 to 8 eggs
6 cups water
3 pieces star anise
3 bay leaves
3 garlic cloves
1 cinnamon stalk
1 cup regular soy sauce
2 tablespoon dark soy sauce
½ tablespoon citron peppercorn
1 ½ teaspoons five spice powder
¼ cup Yunnan Mountain Black tea
3 pieces dried hot chill (optional)
6 to 8 large eggs
Make the tea soup: In a medium saucepan combine the water and all the remaining ingredients except the eggs. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
Cook the eggs: In a small saucepan combine the eggs with enough of the tea soup to cover them and boil for 7 minutes. Meanwhile, chill the remaining tea soup. After 7 minutes, transfer the eggs with a slotted spoon to a bowl of ice and water and chill completely.
For the marbling effect, tap to crack eggshells with a spoon or, for a smooth brown appearance, completely remove the shell. Add the eggs to the chilled tea soup. Steep for a minimum of 4 hours. Chilling them overnight will give them more flavor and color.