brewing questions please......


Owes its flavors to oxidation levels between green & black tea.

brewing questions please......

Postby tea.and.peace » Nov 30th, '11, 21:48

Hi,
I'm fairly new still to drinking oolong. Have a few questions. I'm using a gaiwan, and have two sizes. I understand water temp for the teas I drink. I understand amount to use for my brews. My main question is about brewing time for multiple infusions. I have found my fav teas so far are the following- high mountain green, roasted, TGY, rock.

I recently purchased some rock for the first time for the end of year sale at seven cups. Getting Lao Cong (Old Bush) Shui Xian Rock Oolong 2009. I phoned the store to double check on brewing, and they gave me a answer I was not expecting. Telling me as far as brew time first brew 2 min>then add about an extra min for each additional infusion getting about 3-4 infusions. I find I get a nice 4 infusions out of it. I always do the flash wash, heat tea ware first etc.

I have also purchased some 2011 Autumn "Premium AA Da Hong Pao" from Yunnan sourcing. I have not received it yet. Though I contacted them as well to double check on proper brewing. Focusing on the brew times here in this post they responded by saying the following - Rinse once very briefly and then drink the subsequent infusions.
1st - 15s
2nd - 25s
3rd - 35s
4th - 45s
5th - 55s
6th - 65s
7th - 80s
8th -105s

something like that... once you get to know the teas better you can change it up a bit.

So my main question is why our the brew times so different on tea from the same region ? Does it have to do with one is 2009, and the other is 2011 ? What is the general rule of thumb to follow on the brew times ? Once it is more then two years old it requires the longer brew time ?

With the high mountain green, roasted I have done shorter brew times like starting at 10 sec, and working up to last infusions of two min. I've done that with my oldest being 2009 high mountains. That brew time schedule seems to work just fine.

Could the more experienced drinkers please enlighten me a bit more on brew times ? Also I tend to move the leaves around with my fingers between infusions. Is this OK ? Or should I just leave them alone, and try to move the leaves with the pouring of hot water ?

Thanks for helping with this discussion !

Tea.and.peace
Last edited by tea.and.peace on Dec 1st, '11, 01:13, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: brewing questions please......

Postby wyardley » Nov 30th, '11, 22:25

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.
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Re: brewing questions please......

Postby tea.and.peace » Dec 1st, '11, 01:09

wyardley wrote:
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.

You have provided a very interesting response for me to think about. I'll really have to re-read your response over more to let it sink in. I do tell the vendors I'm using a gaiwan, but I do understand what you are trying to convey to me.

My gaiwans are mostly white. I do fill the gaiwan with the hot water so water seeps over top of the lid. I was mostly doing this to try to create a "seal" to help keep the water hot as it brews the leaves. Now I see that can be used to incorporate other tricks. So I can see the tea as it brews. However I don't usually pay attention to the water above the lid. This is a good tip for me to be more mindful of. Watching, and smelling the tea above the lid as it brews.

I do use a thermometer that I poke in my electric kettle. The thermometer I got recently so I can learn what various stages of water temp looks like as it boils. I also use my ipod touch for timing. Both tools I would like to eliminate, but I think they are good tools for the learning stages.

Obviously I need to change my mind set, and gain experience. I appreciate your response, and will ponder over your ideas. Thank you !

If anyone else has anything to add please do. Share what works for you, etc. Love to hear other ideas on what works for the more experienced...
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Re: brewing questions please......

Postby TIM » Dec 1st, '11, 01:14

+1 to Will.
Don't think about the result, but the moment in front of you while brewing.
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Re: brewing questions please......

Postby Oni » Dec 1st, '11, 03:20

Type chinese tea 101 in google, or check out houdeasianart instructions from the blog, that is great for ball shaped greener oolongs.
A few rules that I always use is: quickly wash the leaves, pour hot water and imediately pour it off the leaves, this wakes the tea up, otherwise it won`t give taste, puerh needs to be washed twice if it is machiene compressed, first infusion always longer that the second infusion, and increase the brewing time starting with later infusions.
I give my guidelines to you from fastest to slowest>
1`st 10s, 2`nd 5s, 3`rd 10s, 4`th 15s, increase time with 5 s if nececery for further infusions, this is what I use for sheng puerh that is young and for Dancongs.
1`st 20s, 2`nd 10s, 3`rd 30s, 4`th 40s, 5`th 1 min, 6`th 1min 20s, 7`th 1 min 40s, 8`th 2 min, this is what I use for Wu Yu oolong with packed 6 grams to 120 ml.
1`st 30s, 2`nd 20s, 3`rd 40s, 4`th 1 min, 5`th 1 min 20s, 6`th 1min 40s, 7`th 2 min, this is what I use for Tie Guan Yin, Taiwanese high mountain oolongs.
1`st 1 min, 2`nd 20s, 3`rd 40s, 4`th 1 min, 5`th 1 min 20s, 6`th 2 min, this is what I use for green tea when I am brewing it in a larger gaiwan.
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Re: brewing questions please......

Postby Oni » Dec 1st, '11, 03:26

P.S. Prewarm teaware, and you can judge temperature in a tea kettle from the first noise it starts making, and start warming your teaware when the first sign of faint steam starts to exit the sprout, and start brewing tea when a gentle little steam escapes to sprout of the tea kettle, never let the steam roar out of a kettle, like a steam engines steam, that means you have overboiled your water, just heat it until a gentle steam starts to appear.
If you have a transparent tea kettle judge the temperature from the size of the bubble, do not let water reach a roaring boil, at least I never do, I remove it from the heat source while I am drinkong my tea, and use fresh spring water, preferably bottled, or use a good brita filter.
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Re: brewing questions please......

Postby tea.and.peace » Dec 1st, '11, 11:23

Thanks for the responses ! I'm really sticking with oolong for now. I like the suggestions on cues to note as water temp rises in the kettle. I find using the thermometer is short lived. I also like the idea of focusing on the moment of the brew, and paying less attention to time. Though I will play with your time suggestions above Oni to see what results they provide me. I do normally heat up the tea ware first, but I think I wait too long. As I could do it earlier in time when the water is heating up in the kettle.

I like your ideas, and I will process them. Like to make some changes with relying on my timer less. So my experiments continue. Good ideas for me to think about. Thank you ! Obviously I just have to find what works for me best. That is why it is nice to hear what others do. I can pick, and choose the tricks, methods that work best for me........

Based on what I'm reading of your responses. I feel like I'm certainly on the right track. It's a work in progress. Now that I've learned the oolongs I like most. Now I'm just trying to fine tune my brewing practice. So you all have given me a few aspects to play with more.
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Re: brewing questions please......

Postby ABx » Dec 13th, '11, 14:29

You should really also try using fully boiled water. Using cooler water won't bring out the qualities that make a "fuller" tea, and most oolong can take it.
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