Any other minimalists out there?


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Any other minimalists out there?

Postby Zanaspus » Aug 16th, '09, 12:31

I see several topics on this board currently discussing thermometers and timers. It seems most folks brew that way, and that is fine by me.
However, being the son of a Slovak mother who measured or timed nothing, I can't do it that way.

Sure, when I started out, I owned a timer, but anymore, I measure water temperature by sound (unlike most, I am not a visual, but an aural person), and brew time by "feel." Sure, it produces varied results, but I rather like that aspect.

So I was just curious; anyone else do it this way?
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Re: Any other minimalists out there?

Postby Proinsias » Aug 16th, '09, 15:08

I've never used a thermometer or scale.

I tend to prefer blagging it and playing around with teas.

I am thinking about going over to the darkside and investing in a thermometer and scale solely for Japanese greens though.

Generally though it's throw in some leaf, pour on hot water and pour off. Taste and adjust next brew accordingly. If you get one parameter off you can adjust the others to get something nice.
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Re: Any other minimalists out there?

Postby Zanaspus » Aug 16th, '09, 20:47

Heh, I didn't want to mention the way I generally brew green for fear of stoning. Chinese peasant gaiwan method. :shock:
Last edited by Zanaspus on Aug 16th, '09, 21:15, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Any other minimalists out there?

Postby Proinsias » Aug 16th, '09, 20:58

You tricked me!!

*throws stones*
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Re: Any other minimalists out there?

Postby ABx » Sep 23rd, '09, 23:17

I have a scale and thermometer, but I think I was too lazy to really use them very often. I used the scale when taking people's recommendations when I was starting out, as well as measuring out samples and the like, but I measure mostly by volume now. For telling when the tea is done I just look at how hydrated the leaf is, how dark the infusion is, or just flat out guess :)

I suppose I could say that I just throw water on leaf and call it good (that's what it seems like), but there's a fair amount of intuition involved that's just based on experience. Sometimes I could swear that I do things the exact same way from the start, but get better results each time. The truth is probably that you end up making small adjustments that culminate, and the more that happens the less useful things like scales and timers become.
Last edited by ABx on Sep 26th, '09, 23:14, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Any other minimalists out there?

Postby Victoria » Sep 23rd, '09, 23:37

I only use a scale and thermometer for Japanese greens. I use a timer for English brewed pots, which I tend to forget if not timed. Otherwise, I don't really like using any of those. But then oolongs by nature lend themselves to more relaxed brewing styles.
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Re: Any other minimalists out there?

Postby ABx » Sep 24th, '09, 04:11

Victoria wrote:But then oolongs by nature lend themselves to more relaxed brewing styles.

I think I'd actually say that Chinese tea in general does :) I generally do glass brewing for greens, and whites, hong cha, and hei cha (incl puerh) are all pretty easy. Granted, it's very rare that I drink greens, whites, or hong cha.
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Re: Any other minimalists out there?

Postby JazzNGreenTea » Sep 24th, '09, 22:27

Victoria and ABx, perhaps it is my lack of experience brewing a lot of Oolong and other Chinese teas, but I have found them much more difficult to properly brew than Japanese greens. I'm actually thinking a thermometer would help me with these.

Can you explain "relaxed brewing style" Victoria? I do have a Gaiwan but actually find it rather difficult to get consistent results with and to utilize properly. Do you think that there is a steeper learning curve with Chinese teas, and then once you learn it's no problem? I'm sure I need a lot of practice, but thought I'd ask your input since I saw this comment.

To answer Zanaspus and stay on topic I have learned by kind of "winging it".... I like this approach, but I think for unfamiliar new teas I'd like to go with a thermometer when I get one to kind of learn more about how each tea does with particular temperatures. I have also taken to using a stopwatch just to keep an eye on how long teas brew, but I am not exact, rather I look at the tea and judge by color first and foremost.
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Re: Any other minimalists out there?

Postby ABx » Sep 26th, '09, 23:17

It's probably just what you're used to. When it comes to wulong, if it's decent quality then it will usually benefit from fully boiled water. Low quality wulong and certain Dancong are the only ones that I've found that don't benefit from lots of heat. For more specific help you should probably just start a thread with the specifics of what you're brewing and how. As far as consistency goes, it just takes practice; that's why it's called gong fu :)
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Re: Any other minimalists out there?

Postby JazzNGreenTea » Sep 27th, '09, 13:05

Thanks for your input ABx. I suspect that I do need lot's of practice, and that I am not used to the Chinese teas. Gong Fu is right. I happen to also have an interest in martial arts, including the Chinese variety which are of course described overall as Gong (or Gung, or Kung) fu..... Nothing can be accomplished over night, or without the proper intent or time.

I have not been brewing much oolong these days so I am not ready to make a specific post yet, but once I get back to it, I could make a more specific post if I am struggling.

I think I didn't word my post very well because I rushed it, but I was really inquiring about the learning curve. Do you find that Chinese tea brewing takes more effort and more time to get right consistently as opposed to other types? However I think your answer tells me that. I have to get used to the different method because I started elsewhere. I guess each tea really is a study by itself. So it might have been overly simplistic for me to ask such a broad question.
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Re: Any other minimalists out there?

Postby AdamMY » Sep 27th, '09, 18:06

JazzNGreenTea wrote:I think I didn't word my post very well because I rushed it, but I was really inquiring about the learning curve. Do you find that Chinese tea brewing takes more effort and more time to get right consistently as opposed to other types? However I think your answer tells me that. I have to get used to the different method because I started elsewhere. I guess each tea really is a study by itself. So it might have been overly simplistic for me to ask such a broad question.



I think everyone tends to brew certain teas better. But as for a learning curve I think Japanese greens have a smaller time frame in which they will be acceptable than Oolong Teas.

But then again to get an amazing cup out of either of them requires a lot of practice and getting to know that tea.

So to answer your question, in my experience it has been Chinese teas tend to have less of a learning curve to get it to taste acceptable. But all teas have a rather steep learning curve to make an absolutely amazing cup of tea, and to do it consistently.
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Re: Any other minimalists out there?

Postby JazzNGreenTea » Sep 27th, '09, 23:06

Thanks for your input AdamMY. it's much appreciated. That makes a lot of sense to me. :D
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Re: Any other minimalists out there?

Postby JillDragon » Sep 29th, '09, 03:00

I'm sort of in-between, I don't have a lot of time or money to get fancy with my tea, especially in the morning when all I want is a stiff cup of black tea. I don't bother measure water temperture, I just use boiling water for herbals and black teas and steaming water for green, white, and oolong. I'll generally add one teaspoon of tea, give or take.

The time of the steeping is the only thing I'll really get anal about - mostly because I've had a lot of green teas that have wound up tasting godawful because I accidently oversteeped them.
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Re: Any other minimalists out there?

Postby depravitea » Sep 29th, '09, 10:54

I'm with Victoria on this one.

If I don't set a timer (except for Gong Fu) I'll forget that I have tea steeping.
Other than a timer, I keep it really simple. I have a thermometer that I haven't used in a while and never quite made a scale a purchasing priority. I usually use my tea budget on tea, or books on tea.
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Re: Any other minimalists out there?

Postby judyw » Oct 14th, '09, 13:53

I time my teas by the microwave clock, but don't test the temperature. maybe I really should, but so far I am making fine tasting tea.
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