Hello from all over the place.


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Hello from all over the place.

Postby JordanGoRetro » Feb 2nd, '13, 09:42

Hello everyone,

I'm really excited to join this community so I can truly explore the world of tea with such knowledgeable and interesting people. I'm very new to this but I'm eager to learn so I'll explain a little about how I got into this and where I'm at.

A friend of mine had been telling me about how he'd started drinking tea and found it to be a really satisfying experience and urged me to start. I was more interested in my coffee though and never really payed any attention to it.

A year or so later and his unit is replacing mine in Afghanistan and so we get a few weeks to hang out together. He'd packed his whole tea set in his ruck; tea, tea tray, kettle, cups, the lot. I saw just how involved he was and it really peaked my interest but after going home I forgot about it again.

Fast forward about 2 years and I'm up in Seattle visiting family and he calls and says he's just there for a little vacation. We meet up in the city and pretty soon we're hunting for a tea shop. We wander into Vital T Leaf and immediately the guy there, Tim, asks us to sit down and sample some tea. It was over. We spent the next two hours drinking tea talking with him. He was so excited to meet people who showed a genuine interest in tea he seemed to forget about trying to sell us anything. It almost felt like he was trying to shove every bit of information in there before he closed. He could have stopped half way because I'd already fallen in love. In the end I bought a Piao I, a tasting cup?, a Gaiwan and some Blue People Oolong and Jasmine King. He gave me a bag of Jasmine Pearl and Monkey Pick too. He suggested I start with the Piao I because it is easier to use and once I get better and learn more, I can move up to more expensive tea pots and teaware.

Here I am now back in Florida with my stuff and brewing every morning before the sun comes up and in the evening before bed. I enjoy the therapeutic nature of brewing almost as much as the drinking.

I apologize if that was a little long but I'm just so excited I want to tell you everything.

There are a few questions I had and if anyone could answer them or point me in the right direction I would really appreciate it. I've tried to use the search but the results are often not what I'm looking for.

The first thing is I think the way Tim was brewing was gongfu. Maybe I'm using the term incorrectly. He would warm all the teaware with the water, then rinse the tea and pass it from cup to cup before pouring it down the tray, steep the tea for a short time and ultimately serve it in quite small tasting cups. So my question was if this is the usual way to brew it at home? I have a tasting cup that is a little bigger than his but Ive been doing it pretty much the same way. Do people generally drink from bigger cups at home?

The other thing was the steeping time. I see a lot on the internet about 3 minutes for this and 5 minutes for that, but on the bags of tea I have it suggests 30 second brews with multiple infusions. Is this the "correct" way or just one way you can do it?

This leads me neatly to my last question which concerns the Gaiwan. I used that to brew my Jasmine Pearl but wasn't sure if the short steep time still applied. I would let the tea steep for 30 seconds, pour as much as I could from the gaiwan to the cup but of course once I'd finished the cup, the remaining tea and water had continued to brew so unless I brew tiny amounts at a time, the tea will brew longer and longer the more I drink. So, for a gaiwan, should one just brew for a longer time and serve it all at once?

Again, I apologize if this was a lengthy post. I'm really looking forward to speaking with you all and sharing more.

Jordan
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Re: Hello from all over the place.

Postby Chip » Feb 3rd, '13, 03:13

Hello JordanGoRetro! Glad you found TeaChat and I am looking forward to seeing you around.
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Re: Hello from all over the place.

Postby AdamMY » Feb 3rd, '13, 11:57

Welcome, and thank you for serving our country ( if I read into your statement correctly).

Regarding a few of your questions... Small cups are fun at first, but quite a few of the forum members only bring out the small cups now when they are serving multiple people, or when they just feel like using the small cups. A larger cup usually works just fine, and it cuts down on all of the non stop pouring. That being said sometimes the small cups really are beneficial because they can help offer the best tasting experience.


Vendor brewing suggestions are sometimes the biggest joke when it comes to tea. Not to put the vendors down, but they often aim their recommendations to the non gongfu-esque brewers. As such they are using very little leaf for a lot of water and a long steep to get a satisfactory flavor out. They do this because that is how many people brew their tea in the US, or even most(if not all) of Europe. So honestly with brewing procedures you tend to figure out a place to start with certain teas and fine tune from there.
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Re: Hello from all over the place.

Postby BioHorn » Feb 3rd, '13, 13:25

Hi Jordan,
Don't worry about the length of your post! We all understand and share your enthusiasm.

By washing your brewing vessel you are basically trying to raise the resulting water temperature for your brew. The ratio of leaf to water to brewing vessel size is something that gets bantered about quite a bit here. There are many tips on the forum. Once you have some basic techniques, "brew as you like" is one of the best pieces of advice.

I have enjoyed drinking with other people and seeing how they make their tea.

Welcome and enjoy!
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Re: Hello from all over the place.

Postby debunix » Feb 3rd, '13, 16:31

Welcome! This is a great place to share your passion for tea.

JordanGoRetro wrote:Do people generally drink from bigger cups at home?


Since I was just rearranging all my teawares, I've got a good sense at the moment of my cup assortment. At home, I drink most often from 4-8 ounce cups. I have some smaller cups, and they do get used, but less often. When I'm taking my time on a fine puerh or oolong, I'll bring out the little cups, or when I'm tasting and comparing multiple teas and want to keep the infusions small for each one.

I also have some cups that are quite small because, quite frankly, those are cheaper and for some particularly well-known ceramicists, I could only afford their tiniest cups.
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Re: Hello from all over the place.

Postby Vermont Cathy » Feb 5th, '13, 11:51

Hi Jordan. Welcome. I'm quite new at this whole loose leaf tea thing myself. I actually had to Google some words in your post (Gaiwan, Gongfu, Paio I). After a visit to wikipedia, I'm now more knowledgable. :)

I just use a mug with a steeper basket. So far, so good. I, too, get confused by conflicting steeping times and temps that I find online and on packages. Can anyone suggest a "tea 101" book, blog, or post (that talks about things like Gaiwans and Gongfu, not just the difference between green, black, and white tea, etc.)? I think I should stick with my current simple setup until I gain experience with different teas, but it would be nice to know what y'all are talking about. :)
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Re: Hello from all over the place.

Postby Chip » Feb 5th, '13, 13:33

Cathy ... tea is a journey to best be taken one step at a time! There is no need to run or attempt to flap your arms to fly to your destination which of course would be folly. :mrgreen:

By taking one step at a time you can see more (and learn) with each step before taking your next step.

(this also keeps so called "tuition" costs down by not making too many unwise purchases early on)

"Flocks" of tea drinkers are often spotted at Teavana ... :lol:
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Re: Hello from all over the place.

Postby JordanGoRetro » Feb 7th, '13, 20:43

AdamMY wrote:Welcome, and thank you for serving our country ( if I read into your statement correctly).


You're too kind.

AdamMY wrote: Small cups are fun at first, but quite a few of the forum members only bring out the small cups now when they are serving multiple people, or when they just feel like using the small cups. A larger cup usually works just fine, and it cuts down on all of the non stop pouring. That being said sometimes the small cups really are beneficial because they can help offer the best tasting experience.


I've started using the gaiwan as a cup because as you said, it does cut down on the pouring but I'm still going for short, 30 second steeps.


AdamMY wrote:Vendor brewing suggestions are sometimes the biggest joke when it comes to tea. Not to put the vendors down, but they often aim their recommendations to the non gongfu-esque brewers.


I would tend to agree but I got the opposite feeling from this guy as he was pretty much exclusively brewing gongfu. He just seemed interested in getting me to enjoy tea and have the best experience I can.

Vermont Cathy wrote:Hi Jordan. Welcome. I'm quite new at this whole loose leaf tea thing myself. I actually had to Google some words in your post (Gaiwan, Gongfu, Paio I). After a visit to wikipedia, I'm now more knowledgable. :)


We'll have to learn together. The reason I'm showing a lot of interest in the teaware and gongfu brewing is just because I find the ritual so therapeutic. I'm sure you'll enjoy your tea just as much with a more minimal set up.

Thank you everyone for being so welcoming and for all the advice. Sorry I took so long to reply but I've been busy at work. Still finding time for a little brewing at sun up though :)

See you all around on the forums.
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