Why rinse?

One of the intentionally aged teas, Pu-Erh has a loyal following.

Why rinse?

Postby Saayuq » Feb 3rd, '12, 00:38

In Yup'ik culture we are taught not to let anything go to waste. The bowl is always cleaned completely, nothing is left on the plate. Having lived here for a long time I have become somewhat acculturated, therefore I have a hard time rinsing the leaves. My tendency is to throw that into my first cup and drink it. Help me understand the purpose of rinsing before the first infusion.

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Re: Why rinse?

Postby shah82 » Feb 3rd, '12, 01:37

Newer boutique puerh does not need rinsing.

Older, particularly warehoused tea, probably could use a rinse, and big factory sheng/shu might deserve rinsing. However, for the most part, I think people rinse because there isn't usually much going on in the first cup and they want to save the bladder space from being spent on tea water that's really about getting the action going than it being action itself.

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Re: Why rinse?

Postby debunix » Feb 3rd, '12, 02:02

Occasionally, I do a long first rinse and discard it on very aggressive young sheng, so I can get quickly to the infusions I like best without having to put up with the bitterness that results from any carelessness with the first infusions.

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Re: Why rinse?

Postby Tobias » Feb 3rd, '12, 13:45

I usually rinse to "wake up the leaves" and o get rid of the smaller tea particles.

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Re: Why rinse?

Postby TomVerlain » Feb 3rd, '12, 19:07

I do it to "wake the leaves up" too. It also helps heat up pot and leaves, so the second infusion does not lose heat doing that, but brings the hotest water to the leaves.

Generally, pour in and imeadiately out, for most tea. Younger tea (greenish sheng), I use cooler water and longer time. The first pour of young tea is not the greatest.

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Re: Why rinse?

Postby gasninja » Feb 3rd, '12, 20:26

I would rinse with all big factory (plantation ) sheng to help disapate the residual pesticides fertilizers and other such nastyness. But latelty with old tree pu-er I have very rarely been rinsing.

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Re: Why rinse?

Postby brandon » Feb 3rd, '12, 20:36

Where do I get old tree tea not from big factories?
Thanks!

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Re: Why rinse?

Postby xiaijipincha » Feb 4th, '12, 01:49

I concur with all I have read. Rinsing is not absolutely necessary (I don't think), however, EVERY tea shop who has served me a sample of tea rinses once.

I don't always rinse, but I try to because there must be a reason why opening the tea leaves is necessary (even if it doesn't make any sense and isn't really a reason). I don't know why beyond this (yet).

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Re: Why rinse?

Postby oeroe » Feb 6th, '12, 03:12

I have also been wondering this. Fer me, rinsing also feels like waste. Fairly often the first brew is much lighter than those which follow, but that doesn't justify throwing it away. Yeah, it's ligher, but it's also different, tells something else about the tea, gives you a different taste, different story. It almost feels disrespectful to skip first steps of the journey.
I think rinsing is a cultural thing, I haven't found any reason for it tastewise. Maybe I'm not just getting what you mean with "opening up the leaves"? Without rinsing, they're open with the second brew, why hurry?

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Re: Why rinse?

Postby xiaijipincha » Feb 6th, '12, 05:32

oeroe wrote:I think rinsing is a cultural thing, I haven't found any reason for it tastewise. Maybe I'm not just getting what you mean with "opening up the leaves"? Without rinsing, they're open with the second brew, why hurry?


You might be right, as I have not rinsed sometimes (and it has not bothered me at all). But it might be that because the first brew is so light, it is always discarded. And if they have been doing it for years, it shows me perhaps it ought to be done still (but then, I don't have any reason to believe the tradition is good beyond the number of years it has existed).

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Re: Why rinse?

Postby beecrofter » Feb 6th, '12, 11:49

To remove the dust of storage and rinse out the mouse pee.
A good rinse with water that has boiled more or less pastuerizes the tea or heats it enough that the next infusion is as well as showing that your brewing vessal has been sanitized.

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Re: Why rinse?

Postby oeroe » Feb 6th, '12, 16:09

I haven't found any dusty notes in teas I haven't rinsed. So if there's dust that could be removed with rinsing, I haven't tasted it so I don't care about it. If there are mouse pee and pesticides in pu'ers, I find it hard to believe that flash rinse with hot water would remove them...

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Re: Why rinse?

Postby wyardley » Feb 6th, '12, 17:41

Especially when using mostly or partially intact chunks of compressed pu'er (depending on how tight the compression is), a couple rinses will be needed before the tea will release much flavor.

I agree that it's unlikely that a quick rinse with boiling water will remove all pesticide residue or rodent droppings, or kill any possible contaminants. However, one or two rinses may get some of the dust, bug droppings, or other small particles that may be in the tea, and may also help to reduce any storage taste the tea might have.

In any event, the tea police aren't going to come arrest you for drinking your rinse, so if you feel bad about dumping the rinse, and / or you like how it tastes... by all means, drink it.

I will admit that habit and custom are probably the main reason I rinse tea, though some of the other reasons people mentioned are also contributers.

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Re: Why rinse?

Postby JRS22 » Feb 6th, '12, 20:23

wyardley wrote:I agree that it's unlikely that a quick rinse with boiling water will remove all pesticide residue or rodent droppings, or kill any possible contaminants. However, one or two rinses may get some of the dust, bug droppings, or other small particles that may be in the tea, and may also help to reduce any storage taste the tea might have.


If the first rinse is primarily for cleaning then I would think it would be more effective to do it in a strainer rather than the pot. And after reading your description of possible contaminants I might not have the stomach for puer without giving it a 'bath' first!

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Re: Why rinse?

Postby wyardley » Feb 6th, '12, 20:48

JRS22 wrote:If the first rinse is primarily for cleaning then I would think it would be more effective to do it in a strainer rather than the pot. And after reading your description of possible contaminants I might not have the stomach for puer without giving it a 'bath' first!

I hope you don't ever eat, say, peanut butter....

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