Best site for brewing info?


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

Best site for brewing info?

Postby Bubba_tea » Dec 3rd, '08, 15:09

Before you say wikicha - check it out: http://www.wikicha.com/index.php/Brewing_your_oolong_tea._._. . And get the preliminaries out of the way - no absolute right way yadda yadda yadda. OK - let's start.

There's lots of bits and pieces here there and everywhere of info on ways to brew tea - and for most teas, adding 1 tsp of leaves for 3 minutes to boiling water is probably a lot more basic than anyone here is looking for since this is a site for obsessive tea people anyways :lol: I assume many people already here have a scale, thermometer and timer, so we can get specific / accurate.

So... is there a particular website that you like that consolidates proper information on brewing tea the gong fu way or euro way or etc? If not, I would think the braintrust here could come up with some ideas... :wink: FAQ... sticky's... ?

It would be nice to have a centralized source of info for us beginners. For instance, I found the common suggestion of 1gm / oz of water to be very helpful getting started. But then it gets confusing when you have a green TKY where brewing should be cooler because it's green, but then knowledgeable sources say to brew it as hot as possible.
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Postby ABx » Dec 3rd, '08, 15:18

Kam's site is pretty good :) http://www.chineseteas101.com/

Generally pretty much any oolong can be boiled with boiling water, with exception (perhaps) to the really cheap ones.
Last edited by ABx on Dec 3rd, '08, 15:21, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Salsero » Dec 3rd, '08, 15:21

WikiCha is a place that could have that info, but someone has to write it up. Like other wiki's, it is written by the users.
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Postby Oni » Dec 3rd, '08, 15:41

I learned from Kam chinese tea 101 is very good for starters, but after that there is no specific way you just have to figure it out as you go with each tea, everybody does it diffrently, but if you calm down and really focus on tea after a time all will go very easily it will be like riding a bike, you will never forget.
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Postby ABx » Dec 3rd, '08, 17:33

That's pretty much it - you can use as much or as little leaf as you want to, you just have to adjust steeping times accordingly. Clearing your mind and focusing just on the tea is usually the best way to do it; it often comes more naturally that way.
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Postby pb2q » Dec 3rd, '08, 17:56

Stephane Erler posted some basic gongfu instructions and videos on his Tea Masters site some time ago. oolong specific, even.

http://teamasters.blogspot.com/2005/10/gongfu-cha-brewing-lesson-4-brewing.html
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Postby Bubba_tea » Dec 3rd, '08, 19:59

Good suggestions all. Unfortunately for some of us - clearing your mind and experimenting is harder to do with expensive teas and starting points are helpful to reduce the costs and to make sure you get in the ballpark :) Kam's site has lots of good info, but has anyone figured out his tea : water ratios? IIRC, I calculated that for TKY, you would need 35 gms of tea for a 150 ml pot - and that would be almost overflowing with the dry tea before adding water!

Sure would be nice if one of our resident brainchilds would write up some info for the wiki :D
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Postby wyardley » Dec 3rd, '08, 20:11

Bubba_tea wrote:IIRC, I calculated that for TKY, you would need 35 gms of tea for a 150 ml pot - and that would be almost overflowing with the dry tea before adding water!


Well TGY is pretty compact when dry because it's ball-shaped, and if you're brewing traditional gong fu style and crushing some of the leaf, it will be even more compact. Making the tea this way, you can fit quite a bit of leaf into the pot. I've never weighed, but I would guess I can fit 15-20g of tea in a 70-80 ml pot with the pot only getting 1/2 to 3/4 full. I'll measure sometime to get a more exact number.

The pot should be somewhat ball-shaped, so while the leaves will push the lid off somewhat, mostly, the leaves will push against each other and squeeze all the juices out. At least that was the explanation I heard.
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Postby Proinsias » Dec 3rd, '08, 20:38

Gong fu is a discipline I've never found quantitative measurements much use for obtaining results, hence I don't own a scale or thermometer and never intend to.

Bubba_tea wrote:Unfortunately for some of us - clearing your mind and experimenting is harder to do with expensive teas and starting points are helpful to reduce the costs and to make sure you get in the ballpark


That's why I wouldn't start with expensive tea. If you want to learn how to brew a particular genre of oolong buy a big bag of moderately priced stuff and play around with it, once you're comfortable you can get a decent cup move up a notch. If you don't know how to brew da hong pao don't remortgage your house for a small pack in the knowledge that someone on the net will tell you what to do with it.
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Postby thanks » Dec 3rd, '08, 21:04

There's always the case of just finicky brews. Teas that are hard to learn. Sometimes I've passed off a few teas as being really bad, but kept trying just to drink it off, and through experimenting have made some amazing cups with what I originally thought to be really bad tea. Then again, there's other teas that are just plain bad. I've noticed, at least with oolongs specifically, that as long as it's somewhat decent, it's hard to brew a bad cup.

Just recently I had a Rou Gui that some people have recommended around the forum, and I at first tried to brew it like I would any yancha. Lot's of leaf, boiling water and flash infusions. It was really bland and bitter, and it tasted similar to a cheap shui xian. Then I tried all sorts of ways to brew it, and still, I've not had a cup that was beyond, "meh". If I don't brew a good cup by the end of the 50 grams, I'll just write it off as bad tea.
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Postby Bubba_tea » Dec 4th, '08, 00:19

thanks wrote:If I don't brew a good cup by the end of the 50 grams, I'll just write it off as bad tea.


Yes, yes, yes! Exactly why the wiki needs revamping. Feeling the tea can come after us noobs have the basics down.

Mr. Yardley - If you have all that tea in a small space, doesn't that violate the *rule* (I know, I know) that the leaves should have some room to expand? I've found that even less than 1/4 of a gaiwan with some tky's will still push the lid up after unfurling.
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Postby stanthegoomba » Dec 4th, '08, 01:21

You are brewing tea correctly if it tastes good.

A personal example is the way I brew roasted TKY: with fewer leaves in a larger capacity pot than what most posters here would suggest. This way I minimize the charcoal and encourage more of the sweetness that usually shows itself in later infusions. It took a number of misfires, many decent brews, and the rare undrinkable sludge to figure out what I liked about this particular TKY, and how to enhance those qualities.

And this is why vendors will tell you to go with "1 tsp for 3 minutes." You're guaranteed to end up with something inoffensive. :D

Edit: OK, I read that over and it sounds a little lame and unhelpful, but it really is all about experience. Scales and thermometers and timers would not have helped me much at all. I drink the tea I make and compare it to tea I've made before. And then I make some more.
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Postby Bubba_tea » Dec 4th, '08, 02:56

If one hasn't had (or *experienced*) a properly prepared cup of tea though, they don't know how good something *should* be. IMO they are disrespecting the people who picked it... and that's just one reason why many farmers reserve the best for themselves and their buddies. Trust me, I understand the 'feel the good cup of tea' idea, but not what I was interested in this thread. As in health, healthy is not just the absence of disease, nor should proper tea be just inoffensive! 8)
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Postby Pentox » Dec 4th, '08, 03:20

Personally I believe that most general cases or rules of thumb do more harm than good. It's only when you start getting into the more tea specific settings that a generality helps a lot. When I try out a new tea though most often if I don't have experience with that kind of tea I will stick to the vendor's suggested parameters. They have experience with the tea and know what is going to be best for it. If they don't publish them, then ask. I haven't run across many tea sites that don't offer instructions on how to brew a particular tea. A good deal of vendors that I run across nowadays are heavily focused on education and teaching for their clients.
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Postby stanthegoomba » Dec 4th, '08, 13:42

Bubba_tea wrote:If one hasn't had (or *experienced*) a properly prepared cup of tea though, they don't know how good something *should* be.


You *have* experienced a proper cup of tea. Guaranteed. Otherwise, you wouldn't be posting here trying to figure out how to make your tea even better. :cool:

"Feeling the cup of tea" is a cop-out; but experience simply means brewing and drinking the stuff.
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