Reasons for smaller volumes?


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Re: Reasons for smaller volumes?

Postby tingjunkie » May 12th, '12, 22:32

#1- F*ck all this calculus.

#2- Get off this forum and go brew some tea! I truly don't mean any disrespect to anyone, but if you can't tell the difference between 7g of tea brewed for 20 seconds in a 100ml gaiwan and 30 seconds in a 150ml gaiwan you're either a rookie, or there's no hope for you. All this theorizing is completely pointless and these things need to be experienced. :mrgreen:
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Re: Reasons for smaller volumes?

Postby gingkoseto » May 12th, '12, 23:17

tingjunkie wrote:#1- F*ck all this calculus.

It's your choice on your own calculus. It's of course ok for you to take your own choice. It's many other people's choice to love calculus and find it everywhere in their lives.

(Oh well I guess somebody would say, where is calculus? I see only kindergarten math in the extraction/infusion discussion :mrgreen: )

tingjunkie wrote:#2- Get off this forum and go brew some tea! I truly don't mean any disrespect to anyone, but if you can't tell the difference between 7g of tea brewed for 20 seconds in a 100ml gaiwan and 30 seconds in a 150ml gaiwan you're either a rookie, or there's no hope for you. All this theorizing is completely pointless and these things need to be experienced. :mrgreen:

Experience is important. But theorizing is not pointless to me and a lot of other people. You don't have to make a point out of it. But making a point out of testable theories is never a bad thing. Besides, whoever can't tell a difference that you can tell, I wouldn't tell him there is no hope for him. Everybody can see a lot of things that other people can't see, that doesn't justify one to tell others they are hopeless. In addition, sometimes one has to be blind to something in order to see something else. The one who "doesn't see it" may see a lot of things from the other side :wink:
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Re: Reasons for smaller volumes?

Postby tingjunkie » May 12th, '12, 23:35

My apologies, I come from a part of the world where people have thicker skins and appreciate a sarcastic sense of humor. The point about theories and kindergarten math being useless in this discussion still stands however. Don't let me get in the way of your verbal adventure though, if that's what gets you going. :wink:
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Re: Reasons for smaller volumes?

Postby TIM » May 13th, '12, 00:31

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Re: Reasons for smaller volumes?

Postby debunix » May 13th, '12, 01:12

gingkoseto wrote:Imagine there is flavor A that has faster infusion rate, say, 10 flavor points coming out in every 10 seconds. There is a flavor B that has a slower infusion rate, say, 2 flavor points coming out in every 10 seconds. Now we assume the flavors come out at a constant rate no matter what the leaf water ratio is (not accurate assumption but I guess it's often close to the reality).

Then by gongfu-ing for 10 seconds, you get a good deal of A and little B. By large volume and long infusion, you get almost equal amount of A and B (assuming in long infusions, the leaf releases all of the A flavor and no more is coming out).

Then imagine A is a good flavor (fruity, floral, whatever), and B is a less preferred flavor (bitter, astringent...). Then you get a better deal with gongfu method. You will manage to extract as much A as possible, but only 1/5 amount of B. In this case you would prefer gongfu.

Sometimes when A and B have equal infusion rate, gongfu and non-gongfu may not make a big difference. An example is some black tea with chopped leaves.

When B is barely available, gongfu may not hold a big advantages, or may even have disadvantages. An example is early spring whole leaf/bud green tea.

Oh my goodness this is fun! :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:


This is how I think about it. I think about it as something that I'd need to formally work out as a calculus problem, because infusion rates won't be constant, and that's bringing in differentials at least.

I also have a fascination with small things, and have acquired a few very small cups by potters whose larger works I could not afford, and those small cups work best with small pots/gaiwans.
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Re: Reasons for smaller volumes?

Postby Drax » May 13th, '12, 07:19

gingkoseto wrote:Imagine there is flavor A that has faster infusion rate, say, 10 flavor points coming out in every 10 seconds. There is a flavor B that has a slower infusion rate, say, 2 flavor points coming out in every 10 seconds. Now we assume the flavors come out at a constant rate no matter what the leaf water ratio is (not accurate assumption but I guess it's often close to the reality).

Then by gongfu-ing for 10 seconds, you get a good deal of A and little B. By large volume and long infusion, you get almost equal amount of A and B (assuming in long infusions, the leaf releases all of the A flavor and no more is coming out).

Then imagine A is a good flavor (fruity, floral, whatever), and B is a less preferred flavor (bitter, astringent...). Then you get a better deal with gongfu method. You will manage to extract as much A as possible, but only 1/5 amount of B. In this case you would prefer gongfu.

Sometimes when A and B have equal infusion rate, gongfu and non-gongfu may not make a big difference. An example is some black tea with chopped leaves.

When B is barely available, gongfu may not hold a big advantages, or may even have disadvantages. An example is early spring whole leaf/bud green tea.

Oh my goodness this is fun! :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:


Haha, yes, that's exactly where I was headed...! :mrgreen: The picture quickly gets complicated because of all the different flavor possibilities and what-not, but I think there are some generalizable rules, as you say.

Ultimately, the proof is in the brewed tea, and I think we develop this basic understanding through much practice -- but knowing or discussing the theory underneath it all can help lead to a deeper understanding, too.

But again, maybe not where yanom was headed..... :lol:
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Re: Reasons for smaller volumes?

Postby yanom » May 13th, '12, 07:41

debunix: yes that's pretty much what I was trying to get at and apologies for not being clearer in my initial question. As you say:
why choose one method over the other?

I think it's fair to ask the question. If the reason someone's doing high-leaf low-water for pu'er is because "that's what everyone else is doing" fine, no harm in that. But as MarshalN points out, it's only very recently that people started doing it and one aspect of the process appears to be connected with the marketing techniques of a large company.

Someone might say "well it tastes better that way" but I don't see the harm in trying to ask why: you can find billions of examples of people conning their tastebuds, taste-experience is extremely easily influenced by what you think "ought to" happen. Look at wine: experienced professional tasters are always getting persuaded to prefer the expensive wine to the cheap one, even if the labels of the two bottles have been secretly switched beforehand and they're actually singing the praises of the cheapo bottle. Or they'll even assume that they're drinking a red wine when it's a regular white with food dye, that's how much external impressions affect our sense of taste.

Now, if someone likes drinking pu'er the way that oolong has been traditionally drunk in the south "because of the centuries-old traditions of ancient mysterious exotic Chinese culture", well, that's bogus, as is saying "well that's how all the people on the English internets are doing it" ... and I don't think it's wrong to try to deploy a bit of thinking and drinking to working out if there are good reasons to go for the oolong-style leaf/water variables when drinking pu'er.

gingkoseto: the idea that different flavours take different amounts of time to emerge from the leaf and by shortening the brew-time you avoid allowing the longer-time ones to get into the water could indeed explain everything! Definitely something to think about. People sometimes make the final brew of a good pu'er by steeping it overnight and I've never got any bitter taste by doing that but I've not heard people doing the same with oolong: maybe that explains the difference I've found between brewing pu'ers and oolongs.

Finally: I agree that experience is crucial but I don't believe most people really rely on it from scratch. I mean, I didn't try one brew of pu'er with water at 10 degrees C, one at 20, one at 30 and so on all way up to 100 before repeating the process several times and finally deciding that boiling water worked best. We inevitably end up trusting what we're told before later (ideally) going back and questioning that early advice. Which is where my initial question was coming from.
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Re: Reasons for smaller volumes?

Postby gingkoseto » May 13th, '12, 11:03

tingjunkie wrote:My apologies, I come from a part of the world where people have thicker skins and appreciate a sarcastic sense of humor.

Oh I don't mind your sarcasm, because I've known you through many of your good posts on the forum, not just by the sarcasm. But I don't think it's a safe assumption that people surrounding you would appreciate a sarcastic sense of humor. It always depends on how well they know you and their own roles in your sarcasm. In this aspect, people from all over the world are not that different.
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Re: Reasons for smaller volumes?

Postby gingkoseto » May 13th, '12, 11:05

debunix wrote:This is how I think about it. I think about it as something that I'd need to formally work out as a calculus problem, because infusion rates won't be constant, and that's bringing in differentials at least.

I also have a fascination with small things, and have acquired a few very small cups by potters whose larger works I could not afford, and those small cups work best with small pots/gaiwans.

That's very true! I kind of wanted to bypass differentials because I'm quite clumsy at it :mrgreen:
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Re: Reasons for smaller volumes?

Postby gingkoseto » May 13th, '12, 11:24

yanom wrote:People sometimes make the final brew of a good pu'er by steeping it overnight and I've never got any bitter taste by doing that but I've not heard people doing the same with oolong: maybe that explains the difference I've found between brewing pu'ers and oolongs.


Actually this overnight steeping thing could be done on both puerh and oolong, depending on the specific tea. Sometimes, it might be because the tea doesn't have a lot of bitterness to begin with (for example I do overnight steeping with Da Yu Ling, just to be stingy). Sometimes, it might be because some "good" type of bitterness or astringency tastes not bad at all in lower concentration. By gongfu brewing, the bitterness or astringency is released little by little in each infusion and may contributes to the sweet aftertaste. Then at the end, there isn't much bitterness left in the tea and the tea can go through overnight steeping without getting overly bitter. But sometimes, if a tea has the bad type of persisting bitterness, it may not go well with overnight steeping.

Only after reading some later comments and going over your original post more carefully, I realized you initially talked about comparing 5g in 100ml and 5g in 150ml with different infusion time. (I was thinking of a much greater contrast of volumes.) Personally I think the difference might be prominent only for certain teas but not for all. In reality, I suspect 5g in 100ml will have less operational error than 5g in 150ml (due to estimation of infusion time for example) and easy to maintain stable infusions.
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Re: Reasons for smaller volumes?

Postby TIM » May 13th, '12, 14:50

tingjunkie wrote:My apologies, I come from a part of the world where people have thicker skins and appreciate a sarcastic sense of humor. The point about theories and kindergarten math being useless in this discussion still stands however. Don't let me get in the way of your verbal adventure though, if that's what gets you going. :wink:


Tingjunkie. You are way beyond the systematic level. So that you know, learning to listen to the leave, water and vessel is just the beginning. Be patience and take it slow. It's a life time of practice ~ T
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Re: Reasons for smaller volumes?

Postby gasninja » May 13th, '12, 17:31

Ting junkie you crack me up!
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Re: Reasons for smaller volumes?

Postby Drax » May 13th, '12, 18:37

Wow, really hard to summarize feelings here, but I'm feeling like a big piece of shit. Forget I said anything...

I guess I'll go back to drinking my tea... :?
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Re: Reasons for smaller volumes?

Postby tingjunkie » May 13th, '12, 18:49

gingkoseto wrote:
tingjunkie wrote:My apologies, I come from a part of the world where people have thicker skins and appreciate a sarcastic sense of humor.

Oh I don't mind your sarcasm, because I've known you through many of your good posts on the forum, not just by the sarcasm. But I don't think it's a safe assumption that people surrounding you would appreciate a sarcastic sense of humor. It always depends on how well they know you and their own roles in your sarcasm. In this aspect, people from all over the world are not that different.


Yeah, I got in trouble for this when I moved out to New Mexico too. Many don't quite "get" sarcasm out there. :lol: In a screwed up way, I find most people who are careful not to offend to be far less genuine than those who step on a few toes. I'm perfectly willing to admit my way of communicating isn't the best one though!
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Re: Reasons for smaller volumes?

Postby yanom » May 13th, '12, 21:36

I think I prefer irony to sarcasm, but tingjunkie if you're from the US that's not something you'd understand. :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
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