Inspired by Tea wrote:So now that I have been converted I need a little more knowledge about loose leaf teas and gong fu/ yixing methods as I simply can't bring myself to microwave another teabag ever again!
Welcome to Teachat! I'm glad to hear that you are interested in loose leaf!
Inspired by Tea wrote:I purchased some China Gunpowder Green Tea from my supermarket and added about two teaspoons in my Beehouse teapot/infuser. After two minutes I poured a cup which tasted nice (nowhere near as nice as my frozen summit though) and it had a yellowish color. It appeared that the water level had gone down below the infuser so I left the leaves in the teapot. My next cup was very bitter however!
Was this just one infusion, or two? If just one, I'm guessing the leaves were still in the water and infusing; if two, I guess you just over-brewed the second cup. How hot was the water you used, and how long did you wait before the second cup?
Inspired by Tea wrote:I would like to purchase a yixing tea pot, two I guess, as I like green and now I think I really like Oolong too.
I think your interest in tea is a great thing, but I would suggest you wait before you get your first Yixing pot. They can be expensive, and people new to tea (no offense intended) are often misled into thinking a teapot is going to be great because it is made from Yixing clay, which is simply untrue.
I think a gaiwan will serve you *much* better for now (especially when it comes to green teas), and after you learn some more about tea and teaware, you might think of trying out Yixing. And, honestly, the difference is not that great– a regular teapot or gaiwan will brew most things almost as well as a Yixing pot. Also, talk to the people in the chat room, some of them know a lot about this stuff and are more than willing to help!
Inspired by Tea wrote:I know that you are supposed to only use one tyoe of tea in each pot but does that mean you can put any oolong in one pot, or only one particular kind of oolong?
This depends on a number of factors. Some teas (such as puerh) leave behind a strong aroma and flavor, so it is generally wise to have at least one Yixing for puerh– I say "at least one" because there are many types of puerh, which you can learn about elsewhere on the forum.
As for oolong, it's really a matter of personal taste. I personally have one pot for Wuyi oolongs, one for medium to high roast oolongs, and one for unroasted oolongs. Many are even more discriminating, with several pots dedicated to individual types of the teas mentioned above, but it's really not necessary. Don't forget what I suggested earlier about Yixing though!
Inspired by Tea wrote:Also for warming your water, does anyone use the stovetop, or is everyone using an electric kettle? I've seen pictures of little candle bowls that kettles sit on top of to keep warm, does anyone use one of those? Where can I find one?
Most use electric kettles for convenience and speed, but some use the stovetop. The most hardcore among us use alcohol or charcoal burners, but those are pretty rare. If you use an electric kettle there's not much use for the candle-warmers, but if you're interested I think Adagio has them.
Inspired by Tea wrote:Ok last question, I have heard round yixing pots are good for rolled oolong, would the classic style work then? Or would the rounder dragon style be better? And what shape would work well for my green tea?
You are really interested in Yixing, aren't you?
This is why I said to wait a bit– you are getting into some complex issues which really only affect gong fu brewing. Yes, many say rounder yixing pots are better for rolled oolongs, as gong fu brewing often results in the entire teapot filling with leaves as they unfurl, and a rounder shape accommodates unfurling rolled leaves better. That said, it's not really a huge deal. There are other properties of yixing pots that are more important-- size, thickness of clay, pouring speed, type of clay, etc.
As for green teas, while it is technically possible to brew them in yixing, most recommend against it. I'm not exactly sure what the argument is, but I believe most thing yixing is too harsh, as far as heat goes, on delicate green teas. Yixing is good at extracting all the flavor possible from more robust teas like oolongs and puerhs, but gaiwans are much better for greens.
We're glad to have you– keep asking questions!