the_economist wrote:decided to revive this topic. im making my first forays into chaozhou style gongfucha and i'm doing something like 60-70% of my gaiwan for rolled teas (roasted dongding/tgy). it has really released quite a different set of flavours although the later infusions settle into what one would taste if one begins with say just 25%. i haven't learned how to crush leaves yet which leads to two issues:
- the lid of the gaiwan won't close. i guess this isn't too much of a problem, but i worry that it loses heat. should i be holding down the lid during brewing?
- some of the rolled leaves don't unfurl.
so basically i'd like to know if crushing would be the way to resolve these issues, and how 'crushed' is crushed?
Keep in mind that in the old days, TGY was much less tightly balled. If yours is tightly balled, I think slightly more than 1/2 full might be a good place to start. If it's two leaves / stem rather than single leaf (as some Muzha TGYs are), I would use even less.
Two ways to crush.
1) Put the tea leaves (about 1/6 of them, maybe) along the first section of your finger (before the first joint). Close your fingers around it and crush. This takes practice.
2) Alternatively, put them in the bottom of a gaiwan and crush with your thumbs.
The crushed leaves won't help much with the upward expansion of the tea leaves. For this type of tea brewing, you'd really like to be using a small shui ping pot or another small round shaped pot, rather than a gaiwan. What I'm told is that the pressure of the tea against the top of the pot pushes out more of the oils. I have no idea how much basis in fact there is there, but that's what I was told.
Even so, if the leaves aren't pushing the lid off your pot, you're not doing it right....