gong fu cha-ish


One of the intentionally aged teas, Pu-Erh has a loyal following.

gong fu cha-ish

Postby puerhking » Jan 7th, '09, 19:51

When I brew pu I use a 150ml gaiwan and pour into a 200ml chahai. My cup holds about 125ml. So I brew twice to fill the chahai and pour that combined 1st and 2nd infusion into the cup which leaves the chahai about half full at which time I brew a third infusion and pour it into the chaihai for the next cup. All infusions end up mixed....which to me makes them more complex and interesting.

Does anyone else do this kind of thing? Or do you all primarily do one infusion and drink it before another brew?
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Postby wyardley » Jan 7th, '09, 19:56

Usually, the only time I see people combine two brews entirely is if there isn't enough for everyone at the table from the first brew.

I do sometimes see people hedging their bets (and avoiding wasting tea) by combining a small amount of the previous (decanted) infusion (i.e., whatever's left in the bottom of the pitcher) with the new infusion. I usually prefer to try each infusion entirely by itself (after all, that's kind of part of the point), but it's important to be flexible and not too dogmatic.

One other trick I've seen is what Michael at the Tea Gallery in NY does -- save the rinse, and then drink it at the end, to kind of see how the tea st
arted compared with how it ended. Of course, it'll usually be pretty cold by that point.
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Postby Proinsias » Jan 7th, '09, 20:45

Yeah, I tend to make it up as I go along.

If the first cup's a little strong I'll make the next brew a quick one and mix it with what's left in the pitcher similarly if the first brew's a little weak I'll mix in a stronger one.

It's not something I tend to do if I'm sitting down to drink tea. But if I'm working on the computer, or browsing, in the attic I have a little gong fu set to my right and it's a nice way to ensure a consistent and unoffensive flow of tea when attention is not always on brewing.
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Postby shogun89 » Jan 7th, '09, 20:56

I sometimes do this with shu but not sheng. The flavors usually do seem more full/complex.
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Postby Space Samurai » Jan 8th, '09, 00:18

I've done this sort of thing when serving tea to large groups of people, classes and demonstrations and what not, when the goal is more to demonstrate the general flavor of the tea rather than appreciate nuances and variations between infusions.
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Postby Drax » Jan 8th, '09, 07:49

I've done this a couple times when I brew black tea, because the pot I use for that is only 120mL. But I do it when I also know what the tea pretty much tastes like, and so I'm not caring to do a progression.

I have not combined steeps for pu-erh, though. I think that's also because my pu-erh pots are in the 150-180mL range, which is good enough for me to do multiple infusions, but not drown myself (unlike my 250 mL pot for oolongs :D )
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Postby hop_goblin » Jan 8th, '09, 09:42

I only do it for shupu as I want to taste the transition of Shengpu.
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Postby puerhking » Jan 8th, '09, 13:07

Thanks for the replies guys. Heres my problem. When I first started drinking sheng I would do two brews of my gaiwan for a mug. I would just add the gaiwan lid to my mug to keep it warm. Now that I have smaller cups...chahai etc. I tried just one brew and was startled because of the lack of flavor. I did this on a couple of bings I like and....the same deal. I went back to two infusions and wow what a difference. I guess the flavor transition....which I still get but a bit more exaggerated.....is not as important to me as the potency of the flavor. Who knows perhaps that will change over time and or aquiring a good aged sheng.
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Postby pb2q » Jan 8th, '09, 13:55

I remember being surprised when an employee at a high profile Hong Kong teashop (Tsim Sha Tsui branch just off Nathan Rd.) did this. I was a stickler for trying to appreciate nuances between brews and she's mixing brews for a medium aged sheng!

Looking back now I doubt her skill and intent: the shop was slow that day and she was entertaining us, and probably really bored at the same time. And not expecting a big sale. All was well: my friends and I left with a good puerh buzz.
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