tea.and.peace wrote:Could the more experienced drinkers please enlighten me a bit more on brew times ?
There isn't a right or wrong answer. The brewing time depends both on the ratio of tea leaf to water, and on your personal taste. Personally, I don't think in terms of time, or even in terms of breaths. When brewing tea with a lot of leaf, the first 5-6 brews are more or less going to be "water in, tea out", maybe with some pausing for skimming bubbles off the surface on the first couple brews, or showering the teapot with water. Later on, I just wait til it seems like the right time to pour. This is something you can develop a sense for with some practice (there are a few tricks too; for example, if your gaiwan lid is white, you can look at the color of the tea that shows above the lid while it's on, or if the gaiwan lid is fragrant, the tea is ready to pour).
Think of it this way... if the tea isn't strong enough for your taste, try letting the tea brew longer for the next infusion. If the tea is too strong, use less tea leaf or pour more quickly. If you want to have some sense of timing, try pouring the water in, waiting three slow breaths, and pouring the tea out. If an infusion doesn't taste as good as it possibly could, well... there's next time.
I know maybe you want some guidance on how to brew the tea how it "should" taste. But, as corny as it may sound, there is no "should"; you are trying to suit your taste, and the tastes of any other people you're serving. The difference between 15 seconds and 30 seconds is not even worth thinking about. Other factors will have more to do with the taste of the brewed tea.
My best advice to you is to ignore any brewing instructions from a vendor. This is not because vendors are clueless or because they want you to brew bad tea, but because vendor recommendations tend to be targeted towards people who are brewing tea with less tea leaf and more water.
I recommend the same approach with temperature - start with water that's very hot, maybe just off the boil. If you don't like the results, then start backing off a little.