How much tea ratio is too much, or not enough?


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Re: How much tea ratio is too much, or not enough?

Postby the_economist » Oct 14th, '12, 13:45

Forums filled with generic Chinese folk.

Haha teadoff you don't like the CZ style of brewing eh? I suppose its a fairly acquired taste. With tea you can always brew lighter as you wish.

Brewing leftover gongfu tgy as we speak...9g to 90ml. I think perhaps it was not enough (slightly).
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Re: How much tea ratio is too much, or not enough?

Postby gingkoseto » Oct 14th, '12, 15:29

Tead Off wrote:
gingkoseto wrote:
Tead Off wrote:I have found very few Chinese Gong fu style brewers able to make tea I like. Bitterness is almost always a problem. The 2 major reasons for this are low quality tea or too much time infusing in the pot. In and out is almost never practiced and the Chinese drinkers, for some reason, have gotten used to this kind of taste and tea rush to the head. Not much subtlety in their drinking. Of course, there are exceptions but not so easy to find commercially.

My experience is just about the contrary. Many Chinese drinkers I know of brew tea in a lighter way than western tea drinkers. I've been thinking it might have something to do with diet and what people have in their stomachs :D
There was once a puerh tea water ratio survey on teachat. I compared it with a puerh tea water ratio survey on a large Chinese tea forum. The difference of response modes was big, with much smaller tea water ratio on the Chinese side.

Can't really comment on your experience. Mine is mostly with Chao Zhou people who have been drinking gongfu style all their lives. Are you talking about Chao Zhou people or northern Chinese?

I'm talking about gongfu style drinkers, not the green tea style brewing. Even among the gongfu style drinkers, I have the impression that westerners brew more concentrated tea than Chinese. But of course in both populations, there are heavier drinkers and lighter drinkers.

The vote I spoke of, is from a puerh forum, and both that forum and teachat can be seen as the "connoisseur" type of tea forums, I guess. It's not about oolong. But it did me give an overall impression that western tea drinkers have averagely tougher stomachs :P

A lot of older Chaozhou people drink "old tea flakes" (bigger, older leaves) that infuses more slowly than high end tea made of younger spring tea leaves. So if their tea water ratio and infusion time is used without modification on some other dan cong or oolong, I would feel the tea could kill...
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How much tea ratio is too much, or not enough?

Postby debunix » Oct 14th, '12, 16:17

Too much, to me, is having to dilute even flash infusions. Too little is having to use long infusions early or having the session end before I was ready. It's so variable based on tea, mood, cup and teapot, but my pot/gaiwan/shibo/kamjove is rarely more than 2/3 full at the end of brewing.

It's all about brewing a cuppa I will enjoy.
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Re: How much tea ratio is too much, or not enough?

Postby wyardley » Oct 14th, '12, 17:46

Tead Off wrote:I have found very few Chinese Gong fu style brewers able to make tea I like. Bitterness is almost always a problem.

Well, I think their argument would probably be "don't like bitter? don't drink tea". That bitter-sweet taste is, in a lot of cases, what a lot of people look for.

This recent post of Tim's seems very apropos:
http://themandarinstea.blogspot.com/201 ... rness.html

That said, the kind of high-fire teas these people usually make tend to be relatively sweet and smooth, with just a hint of bitterness, even when brewed pretty strong.

Anyway, when brewing for yourself, you only have to please yourself. I think the trickier thing sometime is brewing in a way that will please other people, and being sensitive to the preferences of your brewing companions.
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Re: How much tea ratio is too much, or not enough?

Postby chrl42 » Oct 14th, '12, 22:23

wyardley wrote:
Tead Off wrote:I have found very few Chinese Gong fu style brewers able to make tea I like. Bitterness is almost always a problem.

Well, I think their argument would probably be "don't like bitter? don't drink tea". That bitter-sweet taste is, in a lot of cases, what a lot of people look for.

This recent post of Tim's seems very apropos:
http://themandarinstea.blogspot.com/201 ... rness.html

That said, the kind of high-fire teas these people usually make tend to be relatively sweet and smooth, with just a hint of bitterness, even when brewed pretty strong.

Anyway, when brewing for yourself, you only have to please yourself. I think the trickier thing sometime is brewing in a way that will please other people, and being sensitive to the preferences of your brewing companions.

It seems people are designed to seek stimulation which then becomes a pleasure and addiction. The more they do, the stronger they want - like smoking, alcohol, drugs or even sexual activities. Stimulation, liquors lies with alcohol, smoking with nicotine, tea and coffee with coffeine and chaozhou people with bitternes :lol:, I often imagine gongfu drinking similar with sake or Chinese hard liquor, mini cups paired with a small vessel - no one's addicted to plain water.

Everyone's addicted to something in some way, just objects are different because their values are different, thinkings are different, way of life is different...some addiction can make you money..some can make you end up in hospital :mrgreen:
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Re: How much tea ratio is too much, or not enough?

Postby gingkoseto » Oct 14th, '12, 22:59

chrl42 wrote:Everyone's addicted to something in some way, just objects are different because their values are different, thinkings are different, way of life is different...some addiction can make you money..some can make you end up in hospital :mrgreen:

Addictions can be fundamentally different though, or it depends on the definition of addiction. For example, marijuana doesn't cause physiological or neurological addition (as caused by many other illegal drugs such as heroine or morphine). The concern is limited to mental attachment, which is many levels less severe than physiological addiction and isn't found on all the people (or most of the people). That's why marijuana has a chance to be legalized, and tea and alcohol are legal to begin with. :mrgreen:
But how did we end up talking about addiction... :lol:
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Re: How much tea ratio is too much, or not enough?

Postby Tead Off » Oct 14th, '12, 23:40

the_economist wrote:Forums filled with generic Chinese folk.

Haha teadoff you don't like the CZ style of brewing eh? I suppose its a fairly acquired taste. With tea you can always brew lighter as you wish.

Brewing leftover gongfu tgy as we speak...9g to 90ml. I think perhaps it was not enough (slightly).

Gongfu style brewing is my preferred style. What I'm saying is that many commercial brewers (sellers & demonstrators) don't brew well. Chrl42 complained of bitterness when he attended an event for his company where gongfu style was demonstrated. Here in SE Asia, we have predominantly Chao Zhou people who have been drinking this way their whole lives. They get used to bad tea and bad brewing methods. Of course there exists great gongfu brewers but I find it not so common.
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Re: How much tea ratio is too much, or not enough?

Postby wyardley » Oct 15th, '12, 00:16

Tead Off wrote:Here in SE Asia, we have predominantly Chao Zhou people who have been drinking this way their whole lives. They get used to bad tea and bad brewing methods. Of course there exists great gongfu brewers but I find it not so common.

"Bad tea" and "bad brewing methods" are both pretty judgemental. Given that gongfu tea comes from Chaozhou, maybe you shouldn't be so quick to dismiss their method of brewing tea. On top of that, you said it yourself: "...drinking this way their whole lives".

Your point is taken in the sense that yes, some people in those communities have gotten used to a certain style of tea, and probably some people's everyday drinking tea is not the highest grade (whether out of habit or out of financial necessity). But I think given a really good tea, even pushing it by using a ton of leaf will not stress the tea too much -- in that sense, using a lot of leaf is similar to competition style brewing - they both stress the tea, albeit in different ways and with different results.

Drinking strong tea daily of course does habituate one to strong tastes, but doesn't mean it's a bad taste - just not your preference.
Last edited by wyardley on Oct 15th, '12, 00:42, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: How much tea ratio is too much, or not enough?

Postby the_economist » Oct 15th, '12, 00:25

Tead Off wrote:Gongfu style brewing is my preferred style. What I'm saying is that many commercial brewers (sellers & demonstrators) don't brew well. Chrl42 complained of bitterness when he attended an event for his company where gongfu style was demonstrated. Here in SE Asia, we have predominantly Chao Zhou people who have been drinking this way their whole lives. They get used to bad tea and bad brewing methods. Of course there exists great gongfu brewers but I find it not so common.


Oh. Have you tried enlightening these Chaozhou people about proper Chaozhou gongfu brewing? Perhaps bringing them some of your better tea?

三杯浓茶一苦二甜三回味
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Re: How much tea ratio is too much, or not enough?

Postby dchew78 » Oct 15th, '12, 01:33

wyardley wrote:
Tead Off wrote:Here in SE Asia, we have predominantly Chao Zhou people who have been drinking this way their whole lives. They get used to bad tea and bad brewing methods. Of course there exists great gongfu brewers but I find it not so common.

"Bad tea" and "bad brewing methods" are both pretty judgemental. Given that gongfu tea comes from Chaozhou, maybe you shouldn't be so quick to dismiss their method of brewing tea. On top of that, you said it yourself: "...drinking this way their whole lives".

Your point is taken in the sense that yes, some people in those communities have gotten used to a certain style of tea, and probably some people's everyday drinking tea is not the highest grade (whether out of habit or out of financial necessity). But I think given a really good tea, even pushing it by using a ton of leaf will not stress the tea too much -- in that sense, using a lot of leaf is similar to competition style brewing - they both stress the tea, albeit in different ways and with different results.

Drinking strong tea daily of course does habituate one to strong tastes, but doesn't mean it's a bad taste - just not your preference.


I'm with wyardley here- it's just a matter of preferences. Chaozhou people- I'm half CZ incidentally- traditionally like a really thick brew.

When I was with an bona fide CZ born and bred producer, he told me "You guys won't be used to our style of brewing, we like it really bitter" but he adjusted his style when brewing for me, even though he was talking to 2 people (my wife included) of partial CZ descent. There's no condescension, just a matter of preference. No nonsense about how my partial Hakka descent diluted my ability to enjoy real tea. :lol:

Point is, it's not good or bad tea, good or bad brewing but really the local style. Like the_economist said '三杯浓茶一苦二甜三回味'.

Tea is always known for the 苦尽甘来 element, just some people like bitterness more than others. Bitterness is not indicative of low-quality if there's 'hui gan' which authentic dancongs do.

That's why authentic CZ dancong are so finicky about temperature and steeping times, the producers like it strong, most of us don't.

No big deal, we can adjust, it's not like you're using a Breville or something :lol:
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Re: How much tea ratio is too much, or not enough?

Postby Tead Off » Oct 15th, '12, 03:26

wyardley wrote:
Tead Off wrote:Here in SE Asia, we have predominantly Chao Zhou people who have been drinking this way their whole lives. They get used to bad tea and bad brewing methods. Of course there exists great gongfu brewers but I find it not so common.

"Bad tea" and "bad brewing methods" are both pretty judgemental. Given that gongfu tea comes from Chaozhou, maybe you shouldn't be so quick to dismiss their method of brewing tea. On top of that, you said it yourself: "...drinking this way their whole lives".

Your point is taken in the sense that yes, some people in those communities have gotten used to a certain style of tea, and probably some people's everyday drinking tea is not the highest grade (whether out of habit or out of financial necessity). But I think given a really good tea, even pushing it by using a ton of leaf will not stress the tea too much -- in that sense, using a lot of leaf is similar to competition style brewing - they both stress the tea, albeit in different ways and with different results.

Drinking strong tea daily of course does habituate one to strong tastes, but doesn't mean it's a bad taste - just not your preference.

When it comes to tea, can anyone NOT be preferential? I was merely pointing out that most gongfu brewers churn out teas on the bitter side. Sure, if someone likes it this way, I have no problem with that. Personally, I don't.

OTOH, how many people are really using high grade leaf for their tea? There is a difference. It's not being an elitist or being judgmental to notice the difference between good tea and not so good tea. We see it in all teas produced everywhere.

Someone mentioned addiction and bitterness is a form of addiction or habit that you learn. When you get used to bitterness, you often lose your sensitivity to subtler flavors. Your memory plays a big role in appreciation of taste. You measure things against what you know. If someone who is used to bitter tea drinks a not bitter tea, they may very well think it is not to their taste based on what they expect a tea to be. And tied into this, is the tea rush that one can get from strongly brewed tea. People are also addicted to this. This seems quite common amongst Puerh drinkers who talk about Puerh cha like its dope. It gets them high or buzzed and they consider that type of tea great not because of taste but because of effect.

The mind is capable of dreaming up just about anything. :D
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Re: How much tea ratio is too much, or not enough?

Postby ethan » Oct 15th, '12, 12:24

Tead Off, Your comments on bitterness might explain a lot very well. An example for your theory is USA & coffee. Standard restaurant coffee was weak but somewhat bitter to very bitter. Europeans mocked the USA, a strong country w/ the weak coffee.

Out of Seattle came a few companies to change that, but one has become the leader for the new type of coffee, Starbucks, w/ its very bitter coffee (when prepared in their shops). Most of their competitors fall by the wayside or eventually adopt the selling of similar tasting coffee, strong & bitter.

This must bother more than a few people; yet, it remains how it is w/ coffee. Some people look to tea. Unfortunately, it is often botched. As we know, at many places all teas are served the same way, water comes that is not hot enough for black tea & too hot for others. A selection of teas are presented in prettily-wrapped bags that mix anything & everything...

No problem, something to drink that is sour or bitter presents an opportunity to add sugar, honey, milk, cream, ..... the other "addictions".
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Re: How much tea ratio is too much, or not enough?

Postby gingkoseto » Oct 15th, '12, 13:49

I feel it's all relative.
Although some older Chaozhou people would say, "if it's not bitter or astringent, it's not tea", I doubt the "bitter" everybody speaks of is the same kind of bitterness. There is a wide spectrum of bitterness, some favored by a lot of people, some favored by almost none. When person A says, "bitterness is good", and person B says "bitterness is bad". How do we know they are talking about the same bitterness anyway?

Similarly, although Tead Off says he doesn't like too much tea water ratio, I have an impression that his tea water ratio is not low at all (maybe I got the impression from some other discussions?) and is just not as high as some other people.

Besides, when we talk about what's the brewing style of most Chaozhou people or what's the favored coffee style of Americans, it always depends on which section of Chaozhou people or Americans we talk about (unless it's covered by 2020 census? :mrgreen: ) and how many people count "most" :mrgreen:
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Re: How much tea ratio is too much, or not enough?

Postby wyardley » Oct 15th, '12, 14:07

I do think that a lot of people tend to mix up or conflate astringency and bitterness, which may be part of the reason that people ask for teas which "aren't bitter". And, while tea generally has bitterness, it's true that depending on processing and other factors, some teas are more strongly bitter than others.

A lot of tea drinkers I know are brewing for the tastes and sensations that come after the taste of the tea itself (that is, the tea is a little bitter or astringent going down, but yields a sensation you wouldn't get otherwise immediately after).
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Re: How much tea ratio is too much, or not enough?

Postby the_economist » Oct 15th, '12, 14:12

I think Chrl mentioned

chrl42 wrote:Another, Weng Hui-dong of late-Qing pointed out to (in his chaozhou chajing)
1. take water when it boils to 'fish-eye'
2. take leaves and let it on top of chaozhou stove, to be awaken
3. put it on white paper, seperate thick and thin leaves
4. insert the thickest leaves first, then thinnest one, then thick leaves on top of pot
5. fill a pot with 7~80% of leaves

It's just one of old-fashion style..in present day, manufactering tea is different, pot is different..many people just fill 4~50% when it comes to yancha


Let's start here. Is something like what Weng HuiDong described considered 'bad brewing'? Suppose I do this with something like Seadyke Lao Cong Shui Xian (a popular choice among South East Asian Chaozhou people). Would that be 'bad tea' and 'bad brewing', with too much bitterness for you TO?
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