How to brew Black Tea Gongfu style?


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How to brew Black Tea Gongfu style?

Postby JeffMI » Dec 14th, '13, 00:39

Since I am still somewhat of a novice to brewing tea Gongfu style, I was wondering if I could get some recommendations on how to brew Black tea using this method. I have some Lapsang Souchong that I would like to brew in this fashion rather than the Western style of brewing that I normally use.

I am eventually getting one of those Sama pitchers with a removable infuser that is made specifically for Gongfu style brewing. The infuser holds approximately 170 ml and based on this volume I was wondering how much tea I should use and what the steep times would be like. I know I need boiling water but still can't find a "rule of thumb" when it comes to the other parameters such as amount of tea and steep times.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Thanks.
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Re: How to brew Black Tea Gongfu style?

Postby chrl42 » Dec 14th, '13, 00:58

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Re: How to brew Black Tea Gongfu style?

Postby JeffMI » Dec 14th, '13, 13:01

I appreciate the link to the video but I don't understand Chinese so I have no idea what she is recommending as far as amount of tea and steep times. I understand the general steps of brewing Gongfu style but what I am looking for is more of the amount of tea I need as well as how long to infuse it.
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Re: How to brew Black Tea Gongfu style?

Postby Chip » Dec 14th, '13, 23:00

JeffMI wrote:Since I am still somewhat of a novice to brewing tea Gongfu style, I was wondering if I could get some recommendations on how to brew Black tea using this method.


JeffMI wrote:I appreciate the link to the video but I don't understand Chinese so I have no idea what she is recommending as far as amount of tea and steep times. I understand the general steps of brewing Gongfu style but what I am looking for is more of the amount of tea I need as well as how long to infuse it.

Sorry, had to laugh ... :mrgreen:

However, I will let someone with more experience answer this for you.
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Re: How to brew Black Tea Gongfu style?

Postby Joel Byron » Dec 15th, '13, 14:53

I sometimes use one of those Sama pots for traveling but I just use the infuser into a mug. If you are brewing at home, I'd get a smaller gaiwan, 100-120ml. I don't have much experience with black tea gongfu, but for oolongs I use about 2g per 30ml. Steep times vary, but I ususally do a quick rinse to heat up the teaware, then 1st steep is pour in pour out. 2nd steep is for a few seconds, then gradually up the time from there. You have to get a feel for the specific tea you have, every tea is a bit different even from lot to lot, year to year.

I'm sure others are more meticulous than me about brewing parameters. I drink tea for enjoyment though, so too much fussing over it makes it into a chore. Some would also say that what I do is not gongfu but just flash steeping, and I might tend to agree.
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Re: How to brew Black Tea Gongfu style?

Postby PurplePotato » Dec 15th, '13, 21:42

I brew a lot of black tea gongfu style, but I never measure, and I use a 60ml pot, so I don't know how helpful describing my brewing process will be.

But I may be able to help with some logic. Suppose you now brew your Lapsoang Souchong for six minutes, and can only get one steep out of it. If you were to now use six times as many leaves (in the same vessel), you could logically expect to get six brews out of it, with an average steep time one minute each. So you want to make your first steeps significantly shorter than one minute, and your later steeps will be longer than one minute. I don't expect the math to quite work out in practice, but you can get the general idea, and experiment and adjust appropriately to taste.

One catch is, six times your normal amount for one steep is a major increase in the amount of tea you're drinking. Hence why many of us choose to decrease the size of our brewing vessel when gongfuing. I'd second the advice of getting a 100-120ml gaiwan; you should be able to find one that's cheap.
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Re: How to brew Black Tea Gongfu style?

Postby chrl42 » Dec 19th, '13, 09:41

JeffMI wrote:I appreciate the link to the video but I don't understand Chinese so I have no idea what she is recommending as far as amount of tea and steep times. I understand the general steps of brewing Gongfu style but what I am looking for is more of the amount of tea I need as well as how long to infuse it.

The video actually didn't mention the amount and the time. Those strict intructions are not taken seriously in China, and you will get the different answers from different tea masters.

There are something called tea variables, when you want your teas stronger you insert more leaves or if you want it plain you insert fewer leaves. Brewing tea is like playing music, you get different idea and interpretation every second you are participated,

Keeping the instructions is like you'd wanna drink in a coffee shop, but sometimes it's good to be a barista yourself :mrgreen:
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Re: How to brew Black Tea Gongfu style?

Postby Alucard » Dec 19th, '13, 10:21

I've been doing a quasi-gongfu brew over the years and as soon as I get my Yunnan and Taiwanese black teas and high mountain oolong delivered I will try the real thing. I will follow the merchants recommended temperature and use the table provided in the link below to determine amount of tea and brewing time. Do you think this table is a good starting point?

http://www.inpursuitoftea.com/The-Gong- ... a-s/99.htm
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Re: How to brew Black Tea Gongfu style?

Postby Peacock » Dec 19th, '13, 13:44

That's a good place to start, and if you want you can change it from there. It's a joy to use different variables and see how the tea changes.
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Re: How to brew Black Tea Gongfu style?

Postby JeffMI » Dec 22nd, '13, 19:51

Alucard wrote:I've been doing a quasi-gongfu brew over the years and as soon as I get my Yunnan and Taiwanese black teas and high mountain oolong delivered I will try the real thing. I will follow the merchants recommended temperature and use the table provided in the link below to determine amount of tea and brewing time. Do you think this table is a good starting point?

http://www.inpursuitoftea.com/The-Gong- ... a-s/99.htm


Actually, I don't seem to be getting email notifications about new posts on my thread so I kind of forgot to check back for new posts.

What's really interesting is that I recently found this exact table and was going to use that as a reference. So, I was kind of surprised to come back to this thread and find your post recommending the exact table I have been thinking of using as a reference lately. Kind of an interesting coincidence, even though I don't really believe in coincidences.
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Re: How to brew Black Tea Gongfu style?

Postby wyardley » Jan 7th, '14, 16:07

I think you get less benefit by brewing red (black) tea this way, that is, it doesn't have as much durability as oolong or pu'er, and doesn't change much across multiple infusions, and won't really benefit from a super controlled pour, etc. I usually use similar types of teaware (gaiwan or Yixing pot) with black teas, and I do brew multiple infusions, but I typically use less leaf by weight. To put it differently, I think you can use some similar techniques, but there isn't really a "right" way to do it.

Traditionally, I think gongfu brewing is generally used for oolong tea, even though people may use similar techniques for other teas. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe that so-called gong-fu red (black) tea refers to the skill / difficulty of production, and not to the way the tea is prepared.

Most red teas have fairly small leaves, so if you measure / eyeball leaf ratio by volume, you will probably want to make sure not to use too much leaf.
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Re: How to brew Black Tea Gongfu style?

Postby William » Jan 7th, '14, 16:41

As for me, regarding the black teas that I am currently drinking (Taiwan), I must say that I find one session much more enjoyable with multiple infusions instead of a single long infusion, especially since I found the right teapot that matches particularly well with this type of tea.
I also noticed that I tend to use fewer leaves than usual.
Usually these are my parameters: 4 grams in Andrzej Bero's 120 ml teapot (red clay from the central part of Europe, really excellent heat retention), 95/100 C°, quick rinse, 10' 20' 30' 45' 60' 90' [..] up to infusions of 20/30 minutes.
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Re: How to brew Black Tea Gongfu style?

Postby chrl42 » Jan 8th, '14, 22:54

You will find more bigger leave Blacks in China, nowadays even Qimen makes big leaf version as Gongfu has popularized thoughout the nation. There are as durable as Oolong or Pu IMHO, I see no problem why Blacks shouldn't be prepared in Gongfu, no taste difference on my tongue :D


Even the Japanese used small Yixings to prepare Sencha back then, those Edo-Meiji exportations are often alternative to using as Gongfu device.
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