REALLY STEAMED!!!

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

REALLY STEAMED!!!

Postby Chip » Jan 10th, '08, 15:41

This discussion started somewhere else, but I have been thinking about it ever since. So, I figured I would open it up here and get some real "perfessionals" opinions.

The question of steaming rolled oolongs to I guess wake up the leaves and start the process of unrolling the tightly rolled leaves. Has anyone heard of this practice, is anyone a practitioner of this?

As I was listening to the discussion, a few things went through my head. One, water will boil at 212* at sea level and will not get hotter than this at this pressure. Steam on the other hand can get much hotter as it is released by boiling water, up to 350 some odd degrees (don't quote me on that). So the steam released by boiling water can be the same temp as boiling water or much hotter.

My question, well first of several, what effect does this very high temp have on the more green oolongs...or any oolongs? And how does one even begin to regulate the steam temperature?

The steam will of course then condense on the cooler leaves as the leaves cool the steam. So, is this an indication that the leaves are not getting scalded?

This is very interesting and seems like it has a lot of potential, actually.

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Postby Wesli » Jan 10th, '08, 16:09

So this has to do with solid-liquid-gas business. Below 0°c, water is a solid, after 100°c, water is a gas, and between these two temperatures, it's a liquid. While water sits or heats up, molecules of H2O are constantly being kicked out of the water. You could call this water vapor, and it is below 100°c, so I guess water vapor can be below 100°c, but liquid water cannot be above 100°c unless subjected to high pressure. Essentially, steam should be able to go well above 350°, and up to the point when it turns to plasma(the next phase).

To answer your question, steam cools off very quickly. You can notice this by holding your hand at different heights well above the steaming cauldron. You may even be able to hold a thermometer directly in the steam stream, and move it closer and further away. You are right, that the steam will condense onto the cold leaf, thus re-hydrating the leaf. I would suggest holding the leaf above very cool steam, or well above hot steam. Essentially, somewhere you would be comfortable holding your hand.

The leaves can still get scalded even if condensation takes place. The same way your hand can get burnt if you throw it right into a hot steam. I'm not sure I understand what you're asking on that one though.

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Postby Victoria » Jan 10th, '08, 16:30

Very intriguing idea. But how would this be done?
Would you wet the tea first? I have some ideas but not sure they would work.
I wonder if the effect would be worth the process? I doubt my pallet is that discerning.

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Postby scruffmcgruff » Jan 10th, '08, 16:32

It is a fairly common practice to steam densely compressed puerh as a non-violent way of separating the leaves of a brick/beeng/what have you, so in theory it should work.

However, it's not really necessary or practical for oolong IMO– the leaves open up just fine with a longer first steep, and it's a lot easier than setting up some complicated steaming rig. :)

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Postby Mary R » Jan 10th, '08, 17:03

Tomorrow I shall try this and report on my findings. :twisted:

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Postby Chip » Jan 10th, '08, 17:09

Victoria's Own wrote:Very intriguing idea. But how would this be done?
Would you wet the tea first? I have some ideas but not sure they would work.
I wonder if the effect would be worth the process? I doubt my pallet is that discerning.


If you have one of those mesh strainers with a longer handle, that would be good to hold the leaf. From what I heard, the steaming is less than a minute.

Then I guess brew as normal, maybe even a little shorter.

I want to try this as well, Mary, but oolong is not in my plans since it is already evening, maybe tomorrow.

I would think, that if one became a master of this technique, the results could be excellent.

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Waking up the leaves

Postby Angela Justice » Jan 10th, '08, 20:05

I wouldn't call this steaming per say, but perhaps will be helpful.

When making tea in a teapot or gaiwan, I always wake up the leaves.

First you pour water of the correct temp into your steeping vessel to heat to the proper temperature.

Pour all that water out.

Put in tea leaves of choice.

Swirl or shake leaves in heated pot.

Remove lid.

Appreciate fantastic aroma.

For oolong and pu-erhs:

Pour water of correct temperature over awakened leaves in pot. Immediately pour water out to rinse leaves and begin the opening process. If you do this, don't let water sit on leaves. Otherwise you will have an infusion of tea rather than rinse water.

Finally pour correct temp water over awakened and rinsed leaves and steep.

For green, white, and black teas:

Pour correct temp water over awakened leaves and steep.

Pour water of correct temperature over leaves

This process helps you better appreciate and analyze every nuance of the tea.

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Postby Chip » Jan 10th, '08, 20:22

Yowza!!!

I always preheat the pot, then put the leaves into the steamy pot, swish them around in the otherwise empty pot with the lid on, capturing all the aroma in the pot and not allowing any of it escape, then hold the pot to my ummm...nose, and slowly breathe in the aroma. This is perhaps my favorite part of my personal tea ceremony. The warmed leaves give off an incredible aroma as they awaken.

If the tea experience ended there, I would be happy, but then there is much much more.

So, revelation, I have already been doing this without really thinking about it. :shock:

I are happy!!! :D

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Postby skywarrior » Jan 13th, '08, 01:55

Chip is easy to please. :lol:

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Postby tenuki » Jan 14th, '08, 00:05

Ya, I preheat, swirl, and then wake up my leaves too with a quick wash. I think it gets rid of the dust too, seems to remove a bit of bitterness from the first brew.

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