proper brewing of Whites?


White and yellow teas are among the most subtle.

Postby Cinnabar Red » Oct 27th, '08, 10:40

Golden Jade Butterfly is a cool hand tied tea. My last brew was less than satisfying, so I followed the good advice on this thread and got a very good result.

Instead of 165 f, went to 180f. 2 full teaspoons, 14 ounces water, 3 minutes.

Results: big honeyed bouquet with lots of flowers, and nutty, carried to palette and finish.

A nice acid balance near the end.

Second infusion: slightly cooler water, a bit more on the time.

Results: Less nose, a bit lighter, but still very good.
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Postby Chip » Oct 27th, '08, 11:11

Very interesting. I always seem to go low temp wise. I will have to give this a try.
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Postby PaulLev » Dec 22nd, '08, 21:56

I sometimes brew white tea in a clear glass cup - I like looking at the leaves (as a previous poster said), and I even like tasting them, along with the tea, after it's brewed.
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Postby edkrueger » Dec 22nd, '08, 22:40

Chip wrote:Very interesting. I always seem to go low temp wise. I will have to give this a try.

I'm not a huge fan of whites, but a agree they taste better with water around 170. I think that lower temperature was to market their "delicateness." Look the water temperature is lower than green, they must be more delicate!
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Postby TeaCompulsion » Feb 15th, '09, 16:33

In my rather limited experience, whites do well at the same temps or even a bit hotter than Chinese greens, so 170F sounds like a good starting point.

I'm not sure how to explain exactly why the infusion vessel makes such a difference, but my skepticism ended when I realized how similar tea brewing is to baking, which I've been doing since I was seven years old. Years of experience later, I know the same brownie recipe will change abruptly (to my practiced eye and palette, anyway) by changing nothing but the pan material. I'm not always clear on exactly why, but I know what the different pans will do.

A thin porcelain gaiwan, preferably wider and more shallow than a typical gaiwan, seems ideal to me for whites in terms of the results it yields. If I used a pot, I'd want thinner porcelain than I've yet found in a pot of suitable size.

I've yet to try brewing whites in a thin silver vessel, but that would probably work fairly well too.
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Postby PaulLev » Feb 15th, '09, 17:21

TeaCompulsion wrote:In my rather limited experience, whites do well at the same temps or even a bit hotter than Chinese greens, so 170F sounds like a good starting point. ...


I'm glad to read that. I wrote on some other board a few years ago that I actually find Mutan white brews better with water hotter than for green tea, and several people said I was wrong. :)
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Postby Rainy-Day » May 6th, '09, 14:31

If you can find a bodum infuser mug, those are really great and cheap, convenient and make perfect white tea, (or green for that matter). Their only flaw is that you end up with just one mug of tea. The other method is quite a bit more expensive, you need to buy 2 large glass pots (i.e. around 3-4 cups) and brew in one of them without infuser and then decant into the 2nd one. That's the method I use daily for all kinds of teas except puerhs and most oolongs. The key here is that there is no infuser - tea leaves float around the full volume of the pot. I much prefer glass pots because other materials take away too much heat, even if preheated, and this affects whites and greens the most. HTH!
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Postby Salsero » May 6th, '09, 16:01

Here's an article about infuser baskets with a link to several different versions of that concept.

Here's some Finum brand baskets also work well. I have several of those and they can be obtained many sources.
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Re: proper brewing of Whites?

Postby AlexZorach » Sep 24th, '09, 11:34

I find it's impossible to generalize about whites. Some white teas (like a silver needle from Taiwan I recently tried) I like to leave steeping for 15 minutes, and then the water has definitely lost much of the heat...but...I still like the result.

On the other hand, I've had a few white teas (some higher grades of shou mei with less brown leaf) that I found acquired an unpleasant astringency if I allowed them to brew for more than about 3 minutes, however.

I also find that the temperature that works well for one white tea may not work for another.

You need to let your own taste be the guide--don't let others claim you're doing it "wrong"...there's no right or wrong; just find which way works best for the way you want it to taste.
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Re: proper brewing of Whites?

Postby teaisme » Nov 18th, '09, 16:32

someone else did a brewing temp test on some white tea a while ago.
It seems, contrary to what many suggest, that white tea is very flexible and can be brewed at even 200 without tasting bad. Of course you would think that some of the more subtle flavours may have been destroyed but according to his blog not so much the case. I am yet to try this, but will do when I decide to finally break into white tea exploration.
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Re: proper brewing of Whites?

Postby Chip » Nov 18th, '09, 22:01

AlexZorach wrote:You need to let your own taste be the guide--don't let others claim you're doing it "wrong"...there's no right or wrong; just find which way works best for the way you want it to taste.

+1. It drives me nutz when others essentially call you a boob when one's brewing technic defies convention. As much as I love Japanese greens, I seem to be somewhat sensitive to green oolongs and whites that have been brewed hot, or do I simply prefer the more delicate nuances created by slightly cooler water.

churng wrote:someone else did a brewing temp test on some white tea a while ago.
It seems, contrary to what many suggest, that white tea is very flexible and can be brewed at even 200 without tasting bad. Of course you would think that some of the more subtle flavours may have been destroyed but according to his blog not so much the case. I am yet to try this, but will do when I decide to finally break into white tea exploration.

At the same time, I do not dispute this, at least not til I do a lot of side by side comparisons.

There is a lifetime of experiments, etc. :D
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Re:

Postby Tea and coffee » Nov 19th, '09, 01:06

TeaCompulsion wrote:In my rather limited experience, whites do well at the same temps or even a bit hotter than Chinese greens, so 170F sounds like a good starting point.

I'm not sure how to explain exactly why the infusion vessel makes such a difference, but my skepticism ended when I realized how similar tea brewing is to baking, which I've been doing since I was seven years old. Years of experience later, I know the same brownie recipe will change abruptly (to my practiced eye and palette, anyway) by changing nothing but the pan material. I'm not always clear on exactly why, but I know what the different pans will do.

A thin porcelain gaiwan, preferably wider and more shallow than a typical gaiwan, seems ideal to me for whites in terms of the results it yields. If I used a pot, I'd want thinner porcelain than I've yet found in a pot of suitable size.

I've yet to try brewing whites in a thin silver vessel, but that would probably work fairly well too.


To answer your baking question the change in pans but w the same recipe means that the material of the pan is retaining or dispersing heat differently.
Some pans that are darker heatup more i think, while ceramic tends to just stay hot longer even after your cooking isdone, foil also has different properties.
I have even seen "cake insulation" pan strips that help baking.
I used to bake a lot andworked in arestaurant before...

The tips on white tea are all helpful, I can always use more info on white tea.
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Re: proper brewing of Whites?

Postby Seeker » Dec 3rd, '09, 20:59

Just read through this topic - very interesting!

Just opened a bag of Jasmine White Peony from Rishi. This is a first try for me, and I like it.
The leaf is quite broken up for a peony, makes me wonder if adding jasmine to a bunch of white peony "shake"/"leftovers" is a good way to maximize profit/yield from a given harvest. Still, I like the tea.
Very nice, distinct jasmine notes supported by a gentle earthiness from the peony.

I prefer gaiwan to brew white - either glass or porcelain.
A pic:
Image
Cheers.
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Re: proper brewing of Whites?

Postby Chip » Dec 3rd, '09, 21:33

Also in the repeated layering of most traditional jasmine scented teas, more breakage is bound to accur with a fluffy tea like White Peony.
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Re: proper brewing of Whites?

Postby Seeker » Dec 3rd, '09, 22:09

Oooo, didn't think of that.

I always learn here - thx Chip!

:D
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