I just don't get this about brewing


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

Re: I just don't get this about brewing

Postby edkrueger » Mar 28th, '11, 16:11

TIM wrote:there are many ways and one Clear way

I like that.
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Re: I just don't get this about brewing

Postby Tead Off » Mar 29th, '11, 00:25

TIM wrote:
Tead Off wrote:
TIM wrote:
Tead Off wrote:
Oni wrote:There are some teas that can be made using less leaf and long infusion time, those are the teas that do not get bitter, and there are some teas that can be made only using gong fu method, like puerh or Dancong.

If your definition of gongfu brewing is to pack the pot and use hot water, I'm not ready to do this with my $800 bing of Shou Puerh or 50g/$150 Dancong tea. :D


Sorry to said this Tead, but you are really wasting your $800 bing or $3/g DC then.... I know we kind of know each other for a wait here on the chat... but its not to late to see the light 8)

I'm cheap, Tim :roll:
Believe me, I'm not wasting my good tea. Do you really think I've never tried packing the pot in over 20 years of drinking good teas? C'mon now. If you think that this technique is used by every knowledgeable tea drinker you might be mistaken. I don't think this is a case of the 'only' way to do it. I also think we all don't taste the same. Body chemistry, sensitivity, and, many other variables.


You are not cheap, Tead... no way :D just conservative :lol:
What is absolute or 'The' only way.... And 'knowledgeable' tea drinker anyway? Nothing is impossible... there are many ways and one Clear way :wink:

Since you insist that your way is the best way, please tell us why you think packing the pot full of high quality dancong is better than packing 1/3 to 1/2 of the pot. Beside it lasting longer due to more leaf and perhaps getting more of a caffeine rush, what is it that you think you get that you can't get brewing it with less leaf? The same properties of water and leaf are in play. The difference in time of brewing can be adjusted. I can understand one becoming used to a certain style and expecting certain results. Memory plays a big part. But as someone who has experimented with both ways, I find more or less the same result with flavor and aroma. In fact, I just tried it your way once again to see if I really was missing something. I enjoyed it but there was nothing significantly different in the way of flavor or aroma from the way I usually brew it except what I noted above, more brews, less brewing time for each brew, and, more caffeine rush. And then, the most important thing, :D twice the price doing it your way.
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Re: I just don't get this about brewing

Postby TIM » Mar 29th, '11, 11:38

poof
Last edited by TIM on Mar 30th, '11, 10:19, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: I just don't get this about brewing

Postby tea-awed » Mar 29th, '11, 15:03

During the day I rarely have time to brew my tea other way than in a western way. I don't use my best teas for that. It is only when in the evenings I can sit and concentrate on my brewing is it that I take out my gaiwan and best oolongs and brew gong fu style.
Having said that,I have found that some very good tea comes out better western style. Maybe it is my lack of skill but I think that western style shouldn't be dismissed or looked down on.
I think that gong fu(or skillfully) brewing may include knowing what method is best for each tea.
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Re: I just don't get this about brewing

Postby tingjunkie » Mar 29th, '11, 18:17

tea-awed wrote:Having said that,I have found that some very good tea comes out better western style.


I think one point Tim made is extremely important. When stuffing the pot and using shorter infusion times, you can get many more good/great infusions than using less leaf and longer times. Gongfu Cha is all about the journey the tea takes you on- noticing how the aromas and flavors change from infusion to infusion, tuning in to your body to see how the tea makes you feel infusion to infusion, noticing the change in your mind and mood infusion to infusion. If you only brew the tea 1- 3 times in a western style, as opposed to 7 - 50+ times in a gongfu style, how can you appreciate all the tea has to offer? Instead of spacing out all of the nuances and taking your time, you are getting all the flavors, aromas, energies, and (what should have been) subtleties muddled all together at once.

So, taking a single high quality tea... can western style brewing make it "taste better" if you compare a single sip to any single sip of that same tea over the course of a gongfu session? It's possible, but taste is only one small element of what great tea should be about... perhaps the least important element when coming to the highest levels of appreciation. If the tea doesn't change and take you many different places, then what's the point? The more leaf, the more good/great infusions you get, the more places a tea can take you. Figuring out how to make each infusion "great" is where the skill, dedication, and art come in.
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Re: I just don't get this about brewing

Postby the_economist » Mar 29th, '11, 20:13

Tim that must have been an unbelievable experience :)

As a tribute to your post, I upped the leaf ratio today for a tea I had previously dismissed as rather lacklustre and it worked pretty well!
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Re: I just don't get this about brewing

Postby gingkoseto » Mar 29th, '11, 20:44

My comments to op - I think many vendors and tea producers have given up offering understandable brewing instructions. Most tea packages from China have very strange tea brewing instructions too and seem totally random. I think it's partially because few people really follow instructions anyway, and partially because most people know how to brew a tea only from their experience, which is more convenient and less confusing than brewing instructions.
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Re: I just don't get this about brewing

Postby gingkoseto » Mar 29th, '11, 21:20

Since Tead Off and Tim's discussion is not about a contrast between big pot brewing and gongfu brewing, I don't think there must be a "good" amount of leaves in the brewing vessel. I don't think there is a clear "threshold", above which it's gongfu or better, below which there is non-gongfu or less good. Even when we look toward the tea farmers who make the tea, not all tea farmers are from the same gang, some of them don't have as tough stomach as the rest of them, and they didn't reach any universal agreement on how much tea/water ratio to use :mrgreen:

Besides, people's tea drinking habits are more or less related to their lifestyle. I see myself as a student of tea, but to be honest, my purpose of drinking tea is not to challenge my mind or skills. I would rather use tea to pamper myself :oops: Sometimes I am pushed around by fate, and I hope I can respond well. But I don't want to give myself any additional push, not for tea and not for anything else. It's not my lifestyle. And for this, I blame bad influence from some tea friends and all those tea loving poets who were not diligent students :mrgreen:
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Re: I just don't get this about brewing

Postby Tead Off » Mar 29th, '11, 23:01

gingkoseto wrote:Since Tead Off and Tim's discussion is not about a contrast between big pot brewing and gongfu brewing, I don't think there must be a "good" amount of leaves in the brewing vessel. I don't think there is a clear "threshold", above which it's gongfu or better, below which there is non-gongfu or less good. Even when we look toward the tea farmers who make the tea, not all tea farmers are from the same gang, some of them don't have as tough stomach as the rest of them, and they didn't reach any universal agreement on how much tea/water ratio to use :mrgreen:

Besides, people's tea drinking habits are more or less related to their lifestyle. I see myself as a student of tea, but to be honest, my purpose of drinking tea is not to challenge my mind or skills. I would rather use tea to pamper myself :oops: Sometimes I am pushed around by fate, and I hope I can respond well. But I don't want to give myself any additional push, not for tea and not for anything else. It's not my lifestyle. And for this, I blame bad influence from some tea friends and all those tea loving poets who were not diligent students :mrgreen:

Gingko, gang is correct. Religions are like gangs, you join up and begin to believe that you are living life correctly. Tea drinkers seem to fall into a similar trap.
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Re: I just don't get this about brewing

Postby tingjunkie » Mar 29th, '11, 23:35

Ok Tead, your turn... Why is using less leaf good, aside from saving money? How does it make your tea sessions better?
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Re: I just don't get this about brewing

Postby Tead Off » Mar 30th, '11, 04:41

tingjunkie wrote:Ok Tead, your turn... Why is using less leaf good, aside from saving money? How does it make your tea sessions better?


Ting, i have nothing against using more leaf if one wants to. I merely questioned why it was considered better by some. I never got a convincing reply from anyone why I should begin doing it that way. I am not saying one way is better than the other. I am saying, from my own experience, that I have not noticed any difference, any obvious difference, save for getting more brews out of one sitting by packing the pot. The tea did not magically change. For myself, I usually don't want to sit through more than 7 infusions of any tea unless I'm with friends and we're rambling on about things. Also, as Gingko points out, one may not want the jolt that often comes from this style. I think a lot of this is what one is taught and the gang one belongs to. :D I am also not on any kind of 'path of tea' trying to understand anything deeper. Some teas require more leaf, I think, but, in general, the flavors and aromas that I get from the way I prepare tea, is not really different from the 'packing the pot' style. And, I do save some money. Hope this answers your question clearly.
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Re: I just don't get this about brewing

Postby TIM » Mar 30th, '11, 10:18

Tead Off wrote:
tingjunkie wrote:Ok Tead, your turn... Why is using less leaf good, aside from saving money? How does it make your tea sessions better?


Ting, i have nothing against using more leaf if one wants to. I merely questioned why it was considered better by some. I never got a convincing reply from anyone why I should begin doing it that way. I am not saying one way is better than the other. I am saying, from my own experience, that I have not noticed any difference, any obvious difference, save for getting more brews out of one sitting by packing the pot. The tea did not magically change. For myself, I usually don't want to sit through more than 7 infusions of any tea unless I'm with friends and we're rambling on about things. Also, as Gingko points out, one may not want the jolt that often comes from this style. I think a lot of this is what one is taught and the gang one belongs to. :D I am also not on any kind of 'path of tea' trying to understand anything deeper. Some teas require more leaf, I think, but, in general, the flavors and aromas that I get from the way I prepare tea, is not really different from the 'packing the pot' style. And, I do save some money. Hope this answers your question clearly.


Great Tead off. Thank you for answering your position in tea. Now I know where you are coming from. Enjoy ~ T
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Re: I just don't get this about brewing

Postby teaisme » Mar 30th, '11, 14:33

This conversation is turning awkward. :?

different brewing techniques for different situations and moods...
how well it tastes and how much you appreciate it mostly just comes down to you (as long as leaf isn't absolutely abysmal)

Also...imo it is easier (at least for me) to get many consistent good infusions from a high packing/small pot vs a bigger pot. Is it because this method is better or is it because I lack the skill in understanding how to brew optimally for the bigger pots or using less leaf. I think the latter. (I would not think the latter if I had not had some perspective changing tea sessions). Maybe people knock brewing the 'non gongfu' way because they themselves have had poor experiences. After a few of those they moved to the gongfu method because it offered consistently good results.

Yes I agree high packing small pot lets you notice the flavour shifts more easily in your tea, as well as sometimes showing you flavours you had not noticed with lighter packing, but I also think that with the right intuition and awareness you can get great results brewing in many different ways. Try try try, explore a little, play around with all those variables, that's part of the fun of tea. I would go nuts if I was only allowed to brew the high packing small pot way.

TIM wrote:Sorry to said this Tead, but you are really wasting your $800 bing or $3/g DC then.... I know we kind of know each other for a wait here on the chat... but its not to late to see the light 8)

whoa...how do you know this are you him?
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Re: I just don't get this about brewing

Postby wyardley » Mar 30th, '11, 15:14

I also find that some teas, with too little leaf, end up a little thin and watery, even if brewed longer. This is not to say I'm advocating the "you must always pack the pot" theory, and in fact, I've seen people coax extraordinary fragrance and flavor out of surprisingly small amounts of tea leaf. But I do not agree with the statement that brewing less tea for more time gives equivalent results to a very short brew with a packed pot... the results can be very different.

While I will not go so far as to say that all exceptional oolongs and puers can handle being brewed this way, I would say that, despite the cost, I am more apt to use proportionally a lot of leaf with a good quality or rare tea. It seems backwards, maybe, since these teas are often expensive, but I do think there can be a benefit. I'd rather drink the tea less often, or use a smaller brewing vessel, than make the tea with insufficient leaf to brew that particular tea to its potential.

Probably obvious to most, but if you're measuring tea leaf by volume / by sight, you need to also consider the type of tea and leaf size.

I don't stuff the pot all the time, but it's not so much out of concern for wasting tea; I drink plenty of teas that, for me, don't benefit from this method of brewing. There is also, for me, such a thing as "too much" leaf, and when serving guests who don't drink strong tea all the time, this needs also to be taken into consideration.
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Re: I just don't get this about brewing

Postby rabbit » Mar 30th, '11, 15:58

I like small teaware... I pretend I have big muscles while I'm drinking.
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