How can I improve my tea making skills?

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

How many times do you like re-steep your (if at all)?

I don't like re-steeping my leaves
No votes
I re-steep 1 times
No votes
I re-steep 2 times
No votes
I re-steep 3 times
I re-steep 4 or more times
Total votes: 21

How can I improve my tea making skills?

Postby aandrewmendez » Nov 24th, '12, 13:21

I have been purchasing a good amount of tea lately from, and have been experimenting with Green, Oolong, Black, Mate, and some herbals.

Some of the tea comes out really well, which I am happy about. But I have been noticing that some of the tea has been tasting the same lately, even though they are different teas. I think it may be because of how I am preparing them. I'm not sure if I should be rinsing them beforehand, or if the temperature of the water is correct.

If I should be rinsing the leaves:
- How long should I rinse them for?
- Does this affect the health benefits of the tea?
- Should it be hot water or cold water?
- Should I do this with all my tea?

In regards to the temperature of the water:
- What is the best way to measure the temperature if you are using a pot for heating the water?

Thanks for reading!

Let me know what you think,

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Re: How can I improve my tea making skills?

Postby JRS22 » Nov 24th, '12, 13:30

I started out with a lot of of Adagio samples and I suspect much of the tea was wasted because the instructions on the tins in those days were not really specific to the particular tea. I found a lot of the teas bitter because the temperature was too high or the steeping time to long.

My advice to you would be to focus on one tea at a time. Research the tea here, and then experiment. Look for posts about the specific tea - e.g. Oolong covers a lot of ground, so look for posts about the particular oolong you've got in hand.

I use a Varietea kettle instead of a thermometer, but some teachatters manage to do without either. I think the temperature measurement is most important for greens but YMMV.

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Re: How can I improve my tea making skills?

Postby MIKE_B » Nov 24th, '12, 15:41

Like JRS22 is saying, different teas need to be treated differently. You could ask about a specific type of tea in a thread here that pertains to that type.
I don't rinse all my teas, but when i do, it is just a flash rinse. I use water just off the boil. I have no idea how this effects any health benefits.
Most of the tea I drink takes boiling water or just off the boil. For Japanese tea that I want to be picky with I use an instant read thermometer.
As for the survey above, it also depends on the tea and how you are brewing it. Black tea brewed western style, I might only steep once or twice. I usually steep sencha 3 or 4 times. Oolong and puerh, I will go 6+. I've steeped some quality tea over 20 times.

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Re: How can I improve my tea making skills?

Postby Devoted135 » Nov 28th, '12, 16:19

I'm wondering how you determine if you rinse the tea? Is it generally that you rinse darker or lighter roasts of oolong? Or is it based on another factor?

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Re: How can I improve my tea making skills?

Postby javi_sanchez » Nov 28th, '12, 23:25

I never rinse my greens. Whenever I try a new oolong or black I do an immediate rinse (ie pour in pour out) and taste the rinse. If the rinse has lots of flavor, I take that as a sign that the rinse is not needed and would "waste" a bit of the flavor of the first couple of infusions. If the rinse tastes too bitter I'll pour the hot water into an empty porcelain cup before performing the rinse the next time to avoid scorching the leaves. I don't know if this helps or not. I have not experimented enough.

I always do a quick rinse of pu'er out of habit. I don't know if this helps or not.

Also, don't be afraid to just try more leaf. I've noticed certain taste change dramatically the more leaf you use up to a point and then just start tasting more like sour or bitter tea.

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Re: How can I improve my tea making skills?

Postby wyardley » Nov 28th, '12, 23:41

I almost always rinse tea at least once. I think the logic of when to rinse or not has to do with the reason one rinses in the first place.

As far as oolongs (since that's the forum we're in), rolled oolongs would be an obvious one that one might want to rinse for the purpose of opening up the leaves a bit. Tightly compressed tea like some pu'ers would be another example. In both cases, the amount of broken up and / or less compressed leaf would be a factor here.

I'm not totally convinced that rinsing tea either removes pesticide residue or kills cooties, but even so, rinsing seems like a good idea to me most of the time, if only to rinse off dust and other small particles. I have heard it suggested to rinse some teas like liu'an basket tea and ripe pu'er twice. While I can only guess at the reasoning here, it's never something I've really felt like questioning.

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