zhi zheng wrote:If I inadvertently poured 180F (80+C?) water onto the leaves in the first few steepings, I'd probably just throw it away and start again as the deleterious effect on the tea's fragrance is obvious and irreversible.
Perhaps you would be as horrified to see the abuse I put tea through as I am to think of throwing tea out because it was started brewing cooler than desired. I often have very limited time to prepare my teas at work, and at times I have started a tea soaking in cold tap water while waiting for the water to heat up. This is particularly helpful in speeding things up with very tightly compressed puerhs, when the goal is to prepare a full thermos of tea to take with me in 5 minutes. The various infusions are combined, but the result can certainly be a thermos full of lovely tea.
I've also started some greener young shengs cooler to minimize the startup bitterness, and haven't noted that the later infusions are 'ruined'--it seems more that the early infusions are not as interesting, in addition to being less bitter.