How do you brew?


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How do you brew?

Postby Rithmomachy » May 1st, '10, 15:31

For some reason I always thought gong fu brewing was done for oolong, green and white teas (and pu-erh, though I didn't always know about that)--the ones that typically take mutiple infusions. I always thought black tea could only be infused once (except by Jack Benny) and so couldn't be brewed gong-fu style. But now I see people here saying that gong fu is used for black as well as oolong and pu-erh, and that it isn't really ideal for green!

So here's my survey. What kinds of tea do you drink and how do you brew them? What vessel and utensils do you use? What style do you use?

NOTE: This is a survey, not a request for instruction! If you know how to do a full Japanese tea ceremony, but typically use a Lipton tea bag and water from the hot water tap, tell me about the tea bag!

My answers:
I typically use a mug with a basket infuser. Occasionally a yi xing. I live at altitude, so my water boils at about 198°F. I brew western-style or "semi-gong-fu" at most.
Black (usually keemun, sometimes darjeeling): one infusuon, boiling water, cover the mug and steep about three minutes.
Pu-erh: multiple infusions, boiling water. Brief rinse with boiling water. For raw (sheng): covered or uncovered for 1 - 3 minutes for first infusion. For ripe (shu): covered for 3-4 minutes or until I remember it. (Can't really over steep IME.) Later infusions can go upwards of 20 minutes. (I'll sometimes microwave to keep it hot.)
Green/White: usually multiple infusions. Slightly less than boiling water or boiling water but uncovered. One to three minutes, sometimes longer.
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Re: How do you brew?

Postby AdamMY » May 1st, '10, 15:43

Oolongs and Puerh, I brew semi gong fu, while japanese greens I brew in what seems to be the standard practice around here, kyusu et al.

When I do drink Chinese greens or whites I drink from the gaiwan in which the tea is steeping.
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Re: How do you brew?

Postby debunix » May 1st, '10, 17:09

I brew the same tea different ways depending on the circumstances: home vs work, able to take time vs rushing to fill a thermos with several hours' worth of tea.

For example: at home, midday, lots of time, will brew my favorite puerh with lots of leaf in 60mL yixing, 12-24 short infusions. At work, 10 min to fill thermos, enough leaf to nearly fill the top of the kamjove after it is wetted, then may do one long infusion of 2 minutes (long enough for a brief phone call or e-mail) and then essentially pour a bunch of hot water through the leaves, enough to fill the thermos, without really 'steeping' more than it takes to fill & drain the kamjove each time--5-10 seconds, maybe. And I'll taste the tea in the thermos sometime during the last couple of steeps before it is full, to see if I need extra infusion time or to dilute with a bit more hot water if it is too strong.

The home brewing is pretty much gong fu, the kamjove at work is not really.

So....any white, green, oolong, or puerh tea may get a treatment from the more or less full-on gong fu (variable number of infusions, water temps, and infusion times, but high leaf-to-water ratio and small volume infusions each time) to the variable brews in the kamjove when I just need speed, but still want good tea.

Today I'm at work, covering for the weekend, brewing a nice but not spectacular TenRen Pouchong in a small kyusu, multiple infusions as I ate lunch and am getting back to the paperwork.

Editing to note that I rarely drink black teas, usually drinking golden yunnan infused 'western style' with osmanthus blossoms (a really awesome combination), one steep plus one quick extra rinse or two to fill a thermos. A lovely tea but it doesn't ever get the gong fu treatment.
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Re: How do you brew?

Postby entropyembrace » May 1st, '10, 19:36

You can get multiple steeps from black tea if you use a high enough leaf to water ratio :) For most black teas I use about 7g (guestimating based on size of samples) for 250ml of water and can get at least 3 infusions semi-gongfu.
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Re: How do you brew?

Postby cindyt » May 3rd, '10, 12:00

debunix wrote:I brew the same tea different ways depending on the circumstances: home vs work...


Yes, same for me. For oolong I brew gong-fu style at home, and at work I use a ceramic mug with infuser.

But never gong-fu style for darjeeling and black for me (maybe I should try!). I do use multiple infusions for both though. For darjeeling it is at least 3 infusions for me, and usually 2 infusions for other blacks like assam.
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Re: How do you brew?

Postby Rithmomachy » May 10th, '10, 23:09

Thanks for the answers. I hope I get a few more! This was my first thread on TC!

Entropyembrace, what kinds of black tea do like to do that way? Do you use a western teapot?

Debunix, what is the kamjove? I found pictures on line, but I can't tell what it does. Is it like an ingenuiTea inside a mug?
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Re: How do you brew?

Postby debunix » May 11th, '10, 00:35

There are actually a bunch of kamjove devices. Mine is similar to this one

http://hilocoffeemill.com/images/products/display/KungfuTeaPotTP160.jpg

Inexpensive, plastic, easy: tea in the top section, water with it; steep; use lid to rotate top section a few degrees, that pushes up lever that raises a little metal ball and permits the tea to escape through the filter and down into the collection portion of the cup. Its primary virtue is that is is plastic and doesn't shatter.
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Re: How do you brew?

Postby IPT » May 11th, '10, 03:46

I basically only drink Chinese Tea, but I'm wanting to explore other types. For Dark Tea, Puer Tea, Red Tea, and Wulong Tea, I always do Gongfu style. For White, Yellow, and Green Teas, I use a Gaiwan when I'm drinking by myself. When I'm brewing for others, I use clear glass teaware and do it the gongfu style.
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Re: How do you brew?

Postby entropyembrace » May 11th, '10, 17:21

Rithmomachy wrote:Thanks for the answers. I hope I get a few more! This was my first thread on TC!

Entropyembrace, what kinds of black tea do like to do that way? Do you use a western teapot?

Debunix, what is the kamjove? I found pictures on line, but I can't tell what it does. Is it like an ingenuiTea inside a mug?


I brew in a small glass pot that I use for everything...a fairly high leaf to water ratio seems to work fine for any whole leaf black tea...if the leaves are chopped up a lot I just use one teaspoon of leaf.
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