packing light


Owes its flavors to oxidation levels between green & black tea.

packing light

Postby teaisme » Oct 14th, '10, 17:50

Recently I have been packing more and more heavy trying to discover hidden flavours and nuances that otherwise couldn't be achieved with less leaf. Late last night/early morning I brewed a couple teas very light to contrast what I had been doing. The minimal leaf really brought out things that I had never tasted from those teas before, because I had never tried brewing them light/very light. One of my hmt I had was distinctly almond in smell, just fantastic. Give it a go, brew very light, you might be pleasantly surprised too.
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Re: packing light

Postby Herb_Master » Oct 14th, '10, 17:54

Worth a try with those teas you have plenty of, try them both ways - Light and Heavy, but if you were given a small amount of an exceptional tea which way would you take it?
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Re: packing light

Postby dylanstea » Oct 15th, '10, 02:08

Herb_Master wrote:But if you were given a small amount of an exceptional tea which way would you take it?


I would always go heavy leaf, more infusions if given a small amount. Your thoughts Herb Master?
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Re: packing light

Postby Herb_Master » Oct 15th, '10, 06:36

Abx on a number of occassions recommended me to try really heavy packing such that the first 5 infusions were all less than 1 second, the next 5 infusions can then be truly memorable.

Something like 17 gm in a 140 ml yixing.

The first time I tried this I was astounded and wondered why more people did not do this.

But it is hard work demanding a lot of work and concentration and takes a long time to get through a session. Occasionally the session proves disappointing and on other occasions it is sublime, often however I fail to get the full session completed.

My starting point a couple of years ago was 1 gm to every 30ml, I know many others prefer 1gm to every 50ml.

With my new 100ml Zhuni I am currently starting with 7 gm so seem to be heading back to heavy packing, that is why I took such interest in this topic. Am I missing anything :D
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Re: packing light

Postby Tead Off » Oct 15th, '10, 11:35

All depends on your tastes. Some teas can take being packed but you've got to have a good quality tea to really enjoy it, IMO. Otherwise, it can be brutal. Many Chinese drinkers like the strong, strong, brews. Not much subtlety but plenty of rush. My suggestion is if you pack heavy, pour water very gently and slowly into the pot.
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Re: packing light

Postby TwoPynts » Oct 15th, '10, 11:56

Herb_Master wrote:...if you were given a small amount of an exceptional tea which way would you take it?


I have 7 grams of Jin Jun Mai that retails for $23. I'm almost afraid to drink the stuff!
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Re: packing light

Postby David R. » Oct 15th, '10, 12:18

I do agree that using fewer leaves sometime leads to very good surprises. This way you also need a good quality tea in order to have a decent cup.

And if I was given a small amount of very good tea, I would use it all. I have had more frustrating sessions when using not enough leaves than the opposite. Sometime, it doesn't pay to be cheap. :wink:
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Re: packing light

Postby tenuki » Oct 15th, '10, 12:43

My opinion is that the whims and ever-changing tastes of the tea brewer are really the biggest variable in the whole time/amount/temp equation. Listening to what you feel is the most important 'variable' to check.

Here's a thought... If the infusion seems too light, add more leaves. Yes, that's right, in the middle of brewing... If it is too heavy remove some leaves from the vessel. Don't forget simple ideas.

It's just tea and hot water, it's not that hard.

Here's another idea, try repacking your brewing vessel when the tea seems to be giving out - sometimes just removing the leaves, fluffing them around gently, then putting them back in gives you another good brew or two. With puerh especially I sometimes just add new tea to the pot and leave the old ones in there still. I've had some sublime experiences doing this.

I futz with the leaves during brewing _all_ the time and it has generally improved my tea experience. Try it before you knock it - YMMV.

ps. packing light is one of my favorites, just like overpacking. variety is the spice of life. some days I need a big hit, some days 2 leaves in a cup grandpa style is what I want. The interesting thing about this is you learn a lot more about the tea this way. For example - I discovered one of my puerh is absolutely heaven with very little (~1.5g/100ml) in the gaiwan while it is truly mediocre at more standard or heavier strengths. I now always brew it light, but wouldn't have discovered this if I had been so strict with my brewing.
Last edited by tenuki on Oct 15th, '10, 13:00, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: packing light

Postby tingjunkie » Oct 15th, '10, 12:53

I'm all for experimentation. I don't think all teas will behave or respond to the same methods across the board. In general though, I tend to agree with TIM.
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Re: packing light

Postby dylanstea » Oct 15th, '10, 13:05

Herb_Master wrote:Abx on a number of occassions recommended me to try really heavy packing such that the first 5 infusions were all less than 1 second, the next 5 infusions can then be truly memorable.

Something like 17 gm in a 140 ml yixing.

The first time I tried this I was astounded and wondered why more people did not do this.

But it is hard work demanding a lot of work and concentration and takes a long time to get through a session. Occasionally the session proves disappointing and on other occasions it is sublime, often however I fail to get the full session completed.



interesting... I will have to experiment with this ultra-heavy brewing style. I imagine the care and attention the brewing requires... but that is why tea is all about is it not? Mindfulness and attention in the preparation and enjoyment of tea is what gongfu cha means to me.

Experimentation! is always the best choice. Herb-master What teas do you practice this ultra-heavy (17g/140mL) brewing style with? I imagine it might backfire with some lightly oxidized oolongs.
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Re: packing light

Postby David R. » Oct 15th, '10, 13:43

I cannot agree more with you tenuki. For my part, I like to begin a brewing session with a gaïwan, using a reasonable amount of leaves, then transfer them into a (smaller) pot when the tea begins to fade a bit, for a better extraction and a lot more cups.

You just have to try and experiment in order to know your tea, and brew according to your mood after that. And experimenting is fun and useful !

Toki/TIM's insights have really inspired me a lot lately.
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Re: packing light

Postby Oni » Oct 16th, '10, 10:32

With ball shaped oolong tea one needs to be careful to let room for the tea to open, if the leaf remains unopen the tea will not be good, I guess around 6 gram to 110 ml teapot is the maximum amount I can use so that all the leaves open at the same time.
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Re: packing light

Postby kymidwife » Oct 16th, '10, 10:58

I'm only a novice on this, but I have to agree on possibly changing brewing vessels with some teas. I've heavily-packed a yixing or gaiwan, and ended up with leaf pushing the lid off and not much room for hot water! Those first few infusions are great, but once the leaves unfurl to a certain point, the quality of the infusions seems to wane. If I dump the leaves into a slightly larger vessel after a few infusions, new life is breathed into the tea and I see the tea flavor improve dramatically.

Sarah
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