New to loose leaf tea, a few questions...


Discussion on virtually any teaware related item.

New to loose leaf tea, a few questions...

Postby tean00b » Apr 3rd, '13, 09:58

Hey everyone,

I'm pretty new when it comes to brewing tea that didn't start as a mass produced teabag. I've always enjoyed the ritual aspect of drinking certain things (I buy all the good absinthe I can get my hands on for this reason) and sort of on a whim bought a yixing teapot primarily based on looks from Teavana.

Having dug around I see tons of people have issues with that place and I'm guessing it's not a very authentic pot, but for $44 bucks I'm not overly concerned. Maybe I can use it to learn and then seek out a more authentic version.

Next comes maybe my next mistake? I bought their Maharaja Oolong Chai to use in the pot, and have used it twice now. Both times I haven't had all that much flavor in the tea compared to when I use my gravity tea pot at work. I've noticed that there doesn't seem to be much leaf tea even in the blend, so maybe I'm not using enough (tried 2 tsp for 16 ounces, and 3tsp the second time)?

Not really knowing anything about tea, should I not have used a blended Oolong for the pot? If not, does anyone have any tips to make the tea stronger in case I'm making it wrong? I basically heat the pot with boiling water, then I add new hot water and steep per the instructions on the tea. Should I switch to a different type of oolong now or just use this pot for the Maharaja?

I know that's a ton of questions and probably mistakes, but hey that's how ya learn :) Thanks for any info/advice!
tean00b
 
Posts: 6
Joined: Apr 2nd, '1

Re: New to loose leaf tea, a few questions...

Postby theredbaron » Apr 3rd, '13, 10:49

tean00b wrote:
I know that's a ton of questions and probably mistakes, but hey that's how ya learn :) Thanks for any info/advice!



Welcome to the world of tea.

Well, first of all, i would suggest to watch some videos on youtube on Gong Fu Cha, or Chinese tea art and culture, as a sort of tutorial on how to brew Chinese tea.
You pot, if it has 16 oz, if i understood you correctly, is way too big, unless you drink with a large group of people. Usually people use pots of the size of 80 to 120 ml (or even smaller).
As to the basics - with Oolong, or better termed "semi-fermented" teas, depending on what kind of leaves, you fill the pot with about one third to half (if the leaves are just normal leaves), or the bottom fifth (if the leaves are tightly rolled), use very short steeping times. Begin with a so called wash - meaning that you steep the leaves briefly, and discard the first steep. Second steep, maybe 10 to 20 seconds, or so, then drink, then third steep, etc. The weaker the tea becomes, the longer you steep it. Depending on tea, you can steep it 6 times, or even up to 20+ times.

As to buying tea - there are proper teashops, with pure teas. In the forum here many shops are talked about from which you can order real teas.

Good luck. :D
theredbaron
 
Posts: 466
Joined: Aug 1st, '1
Location: Bangkok

Re: New to loose leaf tea, a few questions...

Postby tean00b » Apr 3rd, '13, 12:37

Thanks for the info, I'll be sure to check out youtube.

After looking around I see that this pot is way to large to use in the traditional sense...the American in me saw it as 2 8oz cups of tea, which I usually drink easily in the morning at work.

Before I purchase a smaller pot to work on Gong Fu, is there anything I can do with this pot, or are they mostly decorative?

http://www.teavana.com/tea-products/teapots-teapot-sets/artisan-teapots/yixing-teapots/p/tricolor-yixing-teapot-set-with-two-cups

That's the one I got. I'm sure it's more gimmicky than traditional anything, but if I can still use it I'd like to.
tean00b
 
Posts: 6
Joined: Apr 2nd, '1

Re: New to loose leaf tea, a few questions...

Postby futurebird » Apr 3rd, '13, 13:06

Don't buy that pot. It's not evil... you'll just come to hate it.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/200867678665?ss ... 1439.l2649

is more useful so is

http://www.ebay.com/itm/271029021544?ss ... 1439.l2649

that.

The second one is not yixing so you can use it with a wide variety of teas... yixing needs to be paired (over time) with one tea. (it won't explode if you use it for the wrong tea once... but in the long run if you end up liking oolong or puerh they are enjoyable.)

You could also get a gaiwan. They are really cheap.

But whatever you do don't buy that tevana pot I owned one like it and it's just too big. Also, yixing cups are not that useful. They also need to be paired...(though cups that are yixing only on the outside, can be fun)


Also be careful on ebay. Lots of unusable pots, but also the best deals if you are spending less than 50.
futurebird
 
Posts: 593
Joined: Feb 12th, '
Location: South Bronx, NYC

Re: New to loose leaf tea, a few questions...

Postby teaisme » Apr 3rd, '13, 14:00

You could make that your chai tea pot if it ends up working ok

Chai can be good to drink in one big infusion

May want to try comparing water, or adding 2 more tsps. Brew for about 4-5 mins.
User avatar
teaisme
 
Posts: 1390
Joined: May 27th, '

Re: New to loose leaf tea, a few questions...

Postby Devoted135 » Apr 3rd, '13, 14:12

teaisme wrote:You could make that your chai tea pot if it ends up working ok

Chai can be good to drink in one big infusion

May want to try comparing water, or adding 2 more tsps. Brew for about 4-5 mins.



Yeah, I was going to suggest that, or use the 16oz pot for black teas, which I still prefer to drink in the western style. :)
User avatar
Devoted135
 
Posts: 285
Joined: Sep 8th, '1

Re: New to loose leaf tea, a few questions...

Postby rdl » Apr 3rd, '13, 14:16

teaisme wrote:You could make that your chai tea pot if it ends up working ok

tean00b,
there are as many ways to prepare and drink tea as there are people to prepare and drink it.
since you own the pot already teaisme has good advice. once this pot takes on a chai-like taste only use it for similar teas. you may want to increase the amount of tea however, i think for 16oz you're not using enough. i am sure you can come up with a quantity/time ratio you like.
as others have and will say - there is a higher art to tea drinking that this pot will not allow you to discover. if that's the route you want to take next, teachat is the right place for the resident experts to help quide you along.
Last edited by rdl on Apr 3rd, '13, 14:20, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
rdl
 
Posts: 311
Joined: Feb 24th, '

Re: New to loose leaf tea, a few questions...

Postby theredbaron » Apr 3rd, '13, 14:18

tean00b wrote:Before I purchase a smaller pot to work on Gong Fu, is there anything I can do with this pot, or are they mostly decorative?

http://www.teavana.com/tea-products/tea ... h-two-cups




Not being American, i never came across teavana other than what i read on this forum here. But everything i have read about, or seen from them - including that pot of yours - sorry for being a bit direct here :wink: - would put me right off.

Starting to drink Chinese and/or Japanese tea you enter a wonderful world. Just let that pot of yours be a first lesson... :wink:

I woud suggest to buy yourself an inexpensive Gaiwan set to start off (over ebay or some internet store, here an examples: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Travellers-Bamb ... 35bd62297f
or: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Bamboo-Pattern- ... 3354be4148 (I am sure of you google a bit there'll be more around), samples of different teas, play around, see if this way of tea drinking suits you, and if it does - then take your time and find a good Yixing pot.
theredbaron
 
Posts: 466
Joined: Aug 1st, '1
Location: Bangkok

Re: New to loose leaf tea, a few questions...

Postby theredbaron » Apr 3rd, '13, 14:28

teaisme wrote:You could make that your chai tea pot if it ends up working ok

Chai can be good to drink in one big infusion

May want to try comparing water, or adding 2 more tsps. Brew for about 4-5 mins.



Well, the right way to make Indian style Chai is boiling over fire a very strong broken black tea in a mixture of water and milk while adding the massala and sugar. The best Chai was drunk from unfired earthen cups that were thrown away right after drinking - a tradition that has almost died out now in India (and with it the potter cast has lost its last regular income - the first downfall of the potter cast was when the traditional earthen cooking ware - which was destroyed every year - was replaced by aluminium and stainless).
These earthen cups added a very special taste to the Chai. For nostalgic reasons i have kept a few of those very fragile cups.
Anyhow, sorry to divert...
Last edited by theredbaron on Apr 3rd, '13, 14:34, edited 1 time in total.
theredbaron
 
Posts: 466
Joined: Aug 1st, '1
Location: Bangkok

Re: New to loose leaf tea, a few questions...

Postby tean00b » Apr 3rd, '13, 14:32

Thanks for all your replies, they're very helpful. I can be somewhat impulsive when it comes to this stuff and I made a snap decision that I figured wouldn't work out perfectly. I can handle the $40 buck hit so I'll keep it and use this experience as a learning point. I'll probably use it to play around with some chai's like you mentioned.

I'm going to start learning about correct yixing pots, and look into making a much much more educated decision in the future. If anyone else has any suggestions for me I'm happy to hear them, and I appreciate what everyone's said so far!
tean00b
 
Posts: 6
Joined: Apr 2nd, '1

Re: New to loose leaf tea, a few questions...

Postby yalokinh » Apr 3rd, '13, 16:10

tean00b wrote:Hey everyone,

I'm pretty new when it comes to brewing tea that didn't start as a mass produced teabag. I've always enjoyed the ritual aspect of drinking certain things (I buy all the good absinthe I can get my hands on for this reason) and sort of on a whim bought a yixing teapot primarily based on looks from Teavana.

Having dug around I see tons of people have issues with that place and I'm guessing it's not a very authentic pot, but for $44 bucks I'm not overly concerned. Maybe I can use it to learn and then seek out a more authentic version.

Next comes maybe my next mistake? I bought their Maharaja Oolong Chai to use in the pot, and have used it twice now. Both times I haven't had all that much flavor in the tea compared to when I use my gravity tea pot at work. I've noticed that there doesn't seem to be much leaf tea even in the blend, so maybe I'm not using enough (tried 2 tsp for 16 ounces, and 3tsp the second time)?

Not really knowing anything about tea, should I not have used a blended Oolong for the pot? If not, does anyone have any tips to make the tea stronger in case I'm making it wrong? I basically heat the pot with boiling water, then I add new hot water and steep per the instructions on the tea. Should I switch to a different type of oolong now or just use this pot for the Maharaja?

I know that's a ton of questions and probably mistakes, but hey that's how ya learn :) Thanks for any info/advice!


Hey, many of us has gotten into to tea through teavana.
I also bought one of their pots and found out that there is better stuff out there. generally I look for transparency, where something came from, when, by whom? quality, and etc...
doing this is easy in the teamarket since more and more people want that sort of transparency.
User avatar
yalokinh
 
Posts: 289
Joined: Feb 19th, '
Location: Florida, Minnesota

Re: New to loose leaf tea, a few questions...

Postby tean00b » Apr 3rd, '13, 17:14

yalokinh wrote:
Hey, many of us has gotten into to tea through teavana.
I also bought one of their pots and found out that there is better stuff out there. generally I look for transparency, where something came from, when, by whom? quality, and etc...
doing this is easy in the teamarket since more and more people want that sort of transparency.


Yeah that place seems like a huge mass market sales pitch...it's amazing how they always over-weigh tea and then ask if that's "ok". I'm assuming most of their teas don't really count in the eyes of actual connoisseurs.
tean00b
 
Posts: 6
Joined: Apr 2nd, '1

Re: New to loose leaf tea, a few questions...

Postby futurebird » Apr 3rd, '13, 17:24

tean00b wrote:Yeah that place seems like a huge mass market sales pitch...it's amazing how they always over-weigh tea and then ask if that's "ok". I'm assuming most of their teas don't really count in the eyes of actual connoisseurs.


They have a lot of flavored teas, which are fun...I think they try to make quality products, and they try to make things "american friendly" --there's nothing really wrong with them, it's just there a whole universe of
tea that goes far beyond what they have.
futurebird
 
Posts: 593
Joined: Feb 12th, '
Location: South Bronx, NYC

Re: New to loose leaf tea, a few questions...

Postby yalokinh » Apr 3rd, '13, 18:50

exaclty,
they have good stuff, but its overpriced in my opinion.
while flavored stuff tasted good, i have no problems with it, but its directed towards people who are used to extreme sweet drinks, so their tea samples are extremely sweet, and don't really know anything beyond that.
User avatar
yalokinh
 
Posts: 289
Joined: Feb 19th, '
Location: Florida, Minnesota

Re: New to loose leaf tea, a few questions...

Postby tingjunkie » Apr 3rd, '13, 19:39

tean00b wrote:I've always enjoyed the ritual aspect of drinking certain things (I buy all the good absinthe I can get my hands on for this reason)


Welcome to the forum! I'm an absinthe lover too. :mrgreen: There are so many on the market to try now.

In terms of the variables you control, tea is on a whole other level compared to absinthe. If you have the palate to appreciate absinthe, then you're already off to a good start though. Enjoy!
User avatar
tingjunkie
 
Posts: 1432
Joined: Jul 8th, '0
Location: NYC

Next

Instant Messenger

Permissions
You cannot post new topics
You cannot reply to topics
You cannot edit your posts
You cannot delete your posts
You cannot post attachments
Navigation