HELP!!! My wuyi samples arrived...


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HELP!!! My wuyi samples arrived...

Postby RussianSoul » Apr 12th, '08, 10:56

My wuyi samples arrived from TeaSpring last night and now I have to brew some tea. It is very exciting - my first wuyi, - but I have a very vague idea how to brew them. I got several dark ones: Da Hong Pao, Shui Xian, Rou Gui.

Could someone help, please? I have a 3.5 oz gaiwan, so I can try gongfu. But I am also interested in a more western method if possible. Some general brewing parameters would be so great!
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Postby Victoria » Apr 12th, '08, 11:07

I am just learning gongfu, so I'm no help there. I'm sure others will fill that in. I usually go 3min on all wuyi, just off boil and depending on how big the leaf, 1.5 teaspoons for 12oz. This would be for a strainer basket and a cup or for ingenuiTea.

I think you are going to like this darker oolong.
Report back!
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Re: HELP!!! My wuyi samples arrived...

Postby Salsero » Apr 12th, '08, 14:48

RussianSoul wrote: I have a 3.5 oz gaiwan, so I can try gongfu.
That's the perfect size gaiwan.

It is not unusual with the darker Wuyi teas to fill the pot or gaiwan 50% to 90% with dry leaves and then do short infusions - starting as short as 5 or 10 seconds - with boiling water, increasing the infusion times gradually as you feel your way through the session.

For lighter oolongs, like TGY and Formosa oolongs, it is more common to use enough dry leaves that - once they are fully spent - they will finally fill the vessel, maybe even raising the gaiwan lid a bit. I think starting with about one-quarter to on-third full will get you there. Then use longer brew times, starting out at 30 s or more.

Practice, however, varies.
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Postby RussianSoul » Apr 13th, '08, 18:39

Thank you, Victoria and Salsero!

Here's the first report.

The first wuyi I tried was Da Hong Pao. The leaf itself is just beautiful, long, spidery, almost shiny, absolutely no dust. Dry it smells toasty and warm.

I brewed my first trial western style, like Victoria suggested: 1.5 tsp, 10 oz water just off boil, 3 min.

First infusion smelled and tasted a little too much of a burnt wood. There was sweetness in it, as if a little caramel there. But there was too much of burnt wood present, and it made the tea taste sharp. I was afraid that I won't like it after all.

Second infusion, 4 min, produced one of the best cups I ever had. Burnt wood went away and left a wonderful warn toastiness behind. Caramel was present as well as some other slightly spicy sweetness that I can't identify. it was full and round.

Third infusion, 5 min, was almost the same as the second, a little more mellow perhaps, the toastiness got reduced further.

Fourth infusion, 6 min, produced sweet tea water with almost no toastiness left, but still fairly strong tea color and delicate taste. If timed right through the day the forth infusion can make a great last cup of the day, just before bed.

I then examined the spent leaf. These leaves are huge! 1 to 1.5 inches in length, fully formed, practically no pieces. The color is dark green-brown, very pretty.

Thinking back about my disliking the sharp woodsiness of the first infusion I am wondering if I should try rinsing this tea first or perhaps reduce the time of the first brewing.

I will try to gongfu it next.
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Postby Salsero » Apr 13th, '08, 19:20

Russian Soul,

That is a fantastic review. It is very rare for someone new to a tea to describe their first experience of it so perfectly. Now you've got me all hot and bothered about the TeaCuppa Wuyi I have on its way.

Thanks for sharing with us. I am really excited about seeing your gong fu experience side by side with this. I'm really curious what is similar and what is different. I have never really run such an experiment for myself, but may have to now that you have blazed the trail!
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Re: HELP!!! My wuyi samples arrived...

Postby wyardley » May 8th, '08, 17:15

Salsero wrote:
RussianSoul wrote: I have a 3.5 oz gaiwan, so I can try gongfu.
It is not unusual with the darker Wuyi teas to fill the pot or gaiwan 50% to 90% with dry leaves and then do short infusions - starting as short as 5 or 10 seconds - with boiling water, increasing the infusion times gradually as you feel your way through the session.


Yeah - in that area, most people fill the gaiwan or pot almost to the very top (80-90%). The main difference I think is not so much whether a tea is light or dark, but how big the leaves are - I was told that very large leaves mean you need to fill it even fuller - with some of the really long-leafed teas, I'll fill it to the very brim. Do a very quick (instant) rinse (this takes some finesse; bonus points if you can skim off the foam in the process), then do your first brew literally as fast as you can. Don't count the 5 seconds, because it will take you about that long to pour. For later brews (after the first few), you can sniff the gaiwan lid; if it's fragrant, it's time to pour. You'll know you're doing it right (and have good tea) if you have a strong aftertaste and sensation in your mouth *after* you slurp the tea. And people in Wuyishan are crazy about the slurping thing (the way you'd slurp wine or something) - slurp the tea across your tongue when you're drinking it.

The people I saw in Wuyishan (these are people who brew tea all day, every day, so they're very good at it) had a very fluid motion - filling the gaiwan to the very very top with water, - skimming the leaves and dropping the lid, tilting to the side to push off the extra water, and then pouring into the cha hai.

BTW, with the really roasted yán chá, you will get a more pleasant smell by sniffing the gaiwan or pot lid than you will by smelling the wet leaves. Smell both, but you'll enjoy the former a lot more.

Another cool trick that someone taught me - when smelling the dry leaves... blow on them slightly. Probably not too polite if you're having tea with a lot of friends, but it really does make it a lot easier to smell the fragrance of the dry leaf.

If you don't want to waste so many leaves, or don't think you're fast enough, fill it 50-60% full instead and do slightly longer brews.
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Postby Salsero » May 8th, '08, 17:46

You are the Will of the L A Tea Affair, right? How about posting occasionally on the group. They've sort of disappeared from the public eye, but I loved Phyll's posts and Imen's. You guys rock!
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Postby tenuki » May 8th, '08, 17:51

That 'charcoal' you tasted is very common in WuYi teas, you will like it next time you have it now that you expect it, and soon you will start craving it... ;)

The Shui Xian should be less 'burnt' wood than the others IIR, please report your exeriences, they are interesting. :D
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Postby wyardley » May 8th, '08, 19:06

Salsero wrote:You are the Will of the L A Tea Affair, right? How about posting occasionally on the group. They've sort of disappeared from the public eye, but I loved Phyll's posts and Imen's. You guys rock!


Yeah - same one. Imen's still writing a little on her site (tea-obsession.blogspot.com), but she's pretty busy with her shop.

We are still having informal tastings in LA now and again, though I believe Phyll has been pretty busy with work and family stuff, so he hasn't really been involved for a while... we miss him!
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Postby ABx » May 8th, '08, 19:25

The charcoal taste is actually something more common to young Wuyi; with age it mellows out to a much nicer balance with the deeper flavors. Not every Wuyi is made with such a strong roast, there is a pretty good spectrum available in pretty much all the different types of Wuyi. You can get 10 different DHP or Rou Gui from different shops and they can all be distinctly different. Though they should still have the defining characteristics of that tea, the charcoal taste may be overwhelming until it's a couple years (or so) old.
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ABx Rou Gui blog

Postby Salsero » May 8th, '08, 19:32

No one more qualified to say this than ABx. Check out his marathon review of 8 premium Rou Gui teas from last August.

http://abx-tea.blogspot.com/2007/08/rou ... athon.html

You'll know a lot more after reading that!
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