Brewing sequences


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Brewing sequences

Postby taitea » Sep 18th, '08, 20:08

The more I learn the more confused I am getting. Which oolongs would generally have a longer first infusion than second infusion?

For example, with my dong ding I fill a quarter of the pot with leaves, 95 degree water: 40 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, play with it from here....

My understanding is that the first infusion requires more time than the second one because some extra time is needed to open the leaves? Does this then apply to all rolled oolongs then? What about something like Da Hong Pao? How would that differ? Is it to be treated more like a black tea?

I keep getting infusions that taste like the leaves have been overcooked or something (with many different types of oolong), but my first infusions are always fine. I would like to figure out what is happening. I think what would be helpful would be seeing how the same person would brew a selection of different oolongs so that I (or we) can pick out the basic patterns.
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Postby wyardley » Sep 18th, '08, 20:39

I would do an instant rinse with water as close to full boil as you can get it. If you don't want to do a rinse, maybe it would be a good idea to make the first brew a little longer than the second. Then make the first real infusion almost instant as well. If that's not strong enough, play around with making it a little longer. All of this really comes down to both personal preference (how strong you like your tea, mostly), as well as the amount of leaf you're using. Just keep playing with these variables until something makes you happy.

Personally, if I were using that much leaf of a rolled tea, I would be doing much quicker brews.

Hitting the tea with a lot of force on the first rinse can make a big difference in opening the leaves faster. But I'd suggest using less force after the first time. Maybe watching this is easier than explaining it in words:
http://teamasters.blogspot.com/2005/10/gongfu-cha-brewing-lesson-4-brewing.html

Keep in mind that the speed and height you pour the hot water into the brewing vessel with (as well as the speed with which you pour the tea out) can make a big difference too.

The way I usually brew wiry oolongs like yan cha / dan cong / roasted baozhong is to use a whole lot of leaf, from just over 1/2 to almost completely full, and then do the rinse and first 4 or so brews just about as fast as my fingers / the pot allow. If the leaves are really long, definitely use a lot of leaf. The part that takes some finesse (easier using a pot than with a gaiwan) is managing to skim off the small bubbles of the rinse without hitting the leaves themselves. Some other folks like using a lot less leaf, so again, it's really about personal preference and what works for you.
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Postby taitea » Sep 18th, '08, 21:06

Thanks. I'll check out that link now. And I forgot to mention that I do rinse the leaves as quickly as I can to start off with. Perhaps a quarter pot full of leaves was a bit large of an estimation, but I'm using a wide, short pot and I at least cover the surface of it.

Can you elaborate on the bubble skimming? I don't do this. Why do you need to get rid of the bubbles?

edit: I would like to add that the two problems I'm encountering the most are that "cooked" taste that I mentioned above, and an acidic back of the tongue taste that I seem to encounter randomly.
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Postby MarshalN » Sep 18th, '08, 23:40

Make it 4 seconds, rather than 40. With 1/4 full of dry leaves, 40 seconds can be toxic...
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Postby taitea » Sep 18th, '08, 23:57

I will try that, but I wouldn't say I'm getting "toxic" results. Like I said, my first infusions usually go pretty well. I was basically following the guidelines from the Hou De Tea blog here: http://houdeblog.com/?p=136.

Isn't the general rule that the wet leaves should fill the entire pot without being crammed? That is pretty much what I get with the amounts I'm using.
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Postby Smells_Familiar » Sep 19th, '08, 00:50

taitea wrote:I will try that, but I wouldn't say I'm getting "toxic" results. Like I said, my first infusions usually go pretty well. I was basically following the guidelines from the Hou De Tea blog here: http://houdeblog.com/?p=136.

Isn't the general rule that the wet leaves should fill the entire pot without being crammed? That is pretty much what I get with the amounts I'm using.

Yeah that's about right, somewhat cram packed is just about perfect, sorta. lol
If you're doing .25 of the pot with dry dong ding or other rolled oolong and using boiling water (like me) and doing a fairly quick rinse (~10 seconds) I'd say the first real infusion should be ~20sec. Second, third, and fourth ~15sec, and then move it on up. For roaasted stripe teas like dancong and wuyi oolongs, it depends on the tea and amount but...I normally fill ~ .75 full of dry leaves. Quick rinse, 10 (or even 5), 5, 5, 5, then maybe another 5 sec or 10 and go from there.

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Postby taitea » Sep 23rd, '08, 09:01

Well, I seem to have eliminated the bulk of my problems by using lower water temperatures. Curiously enough, I don't think I have encountered anyone on teachat that uses less than boiling water for pretty much any oolong. However, there are plenty of websites out there that suggest going as low as 80 celsius for some oolongs.

So, does anyone out there use less than boiling (or less than "off boil") on their oolongs? If so, how low and on which teas?
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Postby Beidao » Sep 25th, '08, 16:18

With oolong, I use 80-85 for "Western" brewing and 90-100 for gaiwan brewing. From what I've understood, the idea of gong fu-ish brewing is to combine more leaves, higher temperature and shorter time. In the beginning of my gaiwan-using I had the normal temperature for oolong (85) but it started to turn out much better when I raised it to 95.
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Postby tenuki » Sep 25th, '08, 18:20

this is exactly why I don't weigh the tea, take the temperature of the water or time the brewing, it disconnects you from making good tea.
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Postby Smells_Familiar » Sep 25th, '08, 22:54

tenuki wrote:this is exactly why I don't weigh the tea, take the temperature of the water or time the brewing, it disconnects you from making good tea.


i know what you saying...but for me, when I was getting to know leaf, it was very helpful measuring things out. After experience, I can now rely totally on my mind's judgement and make good tea...estimating leaf weight, effect of leaf preperation, brew time, and water temp, all that shiii
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