Separate leaves from stems prior to steeping?


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Separate leaves from stems prior to steeping?

Postby Noonie » Jan 20th, '14, 10:49

I have some Da Yu Ling from DTH. In 2 tsp of tea I find about 5-10 stems that avg a cm in length. First few sessions I left them. Today I removed the rolled tea from them before brewing, though I did find the leaves didn't want to separate...after the first brew I found a couple more and (more easily) removed the leaves.

Questions:

- do you do this...does it matter? after doing it I might say the tea is a little smoother, but not dramatic
- if you do remove the stems, do you do it before the initial steeping, or after (when, to me, the leaves come off easier)

Thanks
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Re: Separate leaves from stems prior to steeping?

Postby Teaism » Jan 20th, '14, 11:13

It is good that you think of this. You are in the learning curve. Separate all the stems and different leaves sizes and brew them separately to understand how each of them taste individually then you can move forward with this understanding. Once you can get the taste and aroma of each profile, you will get your answer. :wink:
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Re: Separate leaves from stems prior to steeping?

Postby the_economist » Jan 20th, '14, 12:32

I might be overthinking but I suspect stems add body to the liquor, although they can also add sourness.
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Re: Separate leaves from stems prior to steeping?

Postby Noonie » Jan 20th, '14, 14:21

Teaism - there are not many stems, but I could separate them and brew a very small amt of water for the normal time to understand the taste profile. Good idea.

Economist - when I separated them the tea did taste less sour...and now when I brew a batch of stems :lol: I'll know if that's the reason.
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Re: Separate leaves from stems prior to steeping?

Postby Teaism » Jan 20th, '14, 21:00

Very good. You are starting to learn about tea. It is very important to do all sorts of experiment and work hard to understand tea. If you can guess the taste of tea by evaluating the dry tea leaves even without brewing then you are on higher level of tea knowledge. Work hard!
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Re: Separate leaves from stems prior to steeping?

Postby hopeofdawn » Jan 24th, '14, 11:52

I could be wrong, but I suspect Teaism is being sarcastic. :)

That said, I have a white tea that consists of nothing but stems, and have drunk kukicha with is (again) roasted tea stems rather than leaves. I would say if it's a good tea, leave the stems in--a lot of plunking techniques include them intentionally, from what I've read, especially the new spring flushes, and they can add to the tea.
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Re: Separate leaves from stems prior to steeping?

Postby Teaism » Jan 24th, '14, 12:05

hopeofdawn wrote:I could be wrong, but I suspect Teaism is being sarcastic. :)


Wooow....you really floored me. I am far from being sarcastic...not a single thought of it. I am not sure what is your term of reference to come to this conclusion.

I just shared my experience and I really went through all those hardship to learn about tea and I was glad to hear someone is so eager. I thought I was perhaps more encouraging than being sarcastic.

Well, I guess perhaps writing on forum has its disadvantage. You can't really see or hear the friendly tone or gesture and sometimes can be easily misunderstood.

Hmmmm...I better add in all the gestures... :D :) :lol: :mrgreen: :wink: :lol:
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Re: Separate leaves from stems prior to steeping?

Postby Ursinos » Jan 24th, '14, 12:10

Teaism wrote:
hopeofdawn wrote:I could be wrong, but I suspect Teaism is being sarcastic. :)


Wooow....you really floored me. I am far from being sarcastic...not a single thought of it. I am not sure what is your term of reference to come to this conclusion.

I just shared my experience and I really went through all those hardship to learn about tea and I was glad to hear someone is so eager. I thought I was perhaps more encouraging than being sarcastic.

Well, I guess perhaps writing on forum has its disadvantage. You can't really see or hear the friendly tone or gesture and sometimes can be easily misunderstood.

Hmmmm...


perhaps it's just the fact that it's so common that a response like that on other forums WOULD be sarcastic. The trolls breed like bunnies on the internet so its hard to get used to a place where respect prevails :D
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Re: Separate leaves from stems prior to steeping?

Postby hopeofdawn » Jan 24th, '14, 12:18

I apologize if I was mistaken. I was inferring from your earlier posts by the fact that you added a wink-- :wink: after your instructions, which I thought might mean it was a joke. That and I've never heard anyone tell someone to sort out the different sizes of leaves and stems and brew them separately in order to taste the difference! That one was definitely new to me ...
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Re: Separate leaves from stems prior to steeping?

Postby Teaism » Jan 24th, '14, 12:28

hopeofdawn wrote:I apologize if I was mistaken. I was inferring from your earlier posts by the fact that you added a wink-- :wink: after your instructions, which I thought might mean it was a joke. That and I've never heard anyone tell someone to sort out the different sizes of leaves and stems and brew them separately in order to taste the difference! That one was definitely new to me ...


No worries, I think both of us misinterpreted the "wink" icon. I thought it meant that the answer is there after sorting and drinking the different sizes and leaves. The wink is to say that the answer is there. My apology if I am mistaken in putting in the wrong icon, but I meant well. I did this often, learning the tea by sorting them and tasting them to get the understanding. There are a lot of methods and ways to evaluate tea and some would be seem as 'crazy' e.g. Gargling loudly to detect pesticides and guess the age of the tea....etc. The wine sommelier do this often too.

Anyway, thanks so much for your candid remark and it make me think a lot more on what I want to say in future and what it can mean to different people and culture. English is my third language, so sometimes it is harder for me to say it so naturally compared to native speakers.

Cheers and have a good day. :D
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Re: Separate leaves from stems prior to steeping?

Postby sherubtse » Jan 24th, '14, 13:08

Here is an article on the presence of stems in Taiwanese oolongs:

http://eco-cha.com/blogs/tea-culture/11 ... -and-stems

Best wishes,
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Re: Separate leaves from stems prior to steeping?

Postby Noonie » Jan 24th, '14, 14:58

Teaism wrote:
hopeofdawn wrote:I apologize if I was mistaken. I was inferring from your earlier posts by the fact that you added a wink-- :wink: after your instructions, which I thought might mean it was a joke. That and I've never heard anyone tell someone to sort out the different sizes of leaves and stems and brew them separately in order to taste the difference! That one was definitely new to me ...


No worries, I think both of us misinterpreted the "wink" icon. I thought it meant that the answer is there after sorting and drinking the different sizes and leaves. The wink is to say that the answer is there. My apology if I am mistaken in putting in the wrong icon, but I meant well. I did this often, learning the tea by sorting them and tasting them to get the understanding. There are a lot of methods and ways to evaluate tea and some would be seem as 'crazy' e.g. Gargling loudly to detect pesticides and guess the age of the tea....etc. The wine sommelier do this often too.

Anyway, thanks so much for your candid remark and it make me think a lot more on what I want to say in future and what it can mean to different people and culture. English is my third language, so sometimes it is harder for me to say it so naturally compared to native speakers.

Cheers and have a good day. :D


I understood the original point and see it as good advice. If I like the flavor with the stems, I leave them in, if not I take them out. It's the learning that matters :D
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Re: Separate leaves from stems prior to steeping?

Postby Tead Off » Jan 25th, '14, 14:30

In my experience with Chinese oolong teas, the better teas do not have long stems. Generally, this would alter the flavor of the brewed tea. There may be some exceptions, but if you examine mainland Chinese teas, no stems appear in the teas. With Taiwan oolongs, you get some variation. But I don't recall ever having a premium Taiwan oolong with long stems on the rolled balls. The ones I have had with long stems I did not like, many, if not all, were Alishan teas.

I don't think we can lump Japanese teas with long stems or all stems into the oolong category. It's a different animal.

And, while we're at it, the idea of calling a semi-oxidized tea grown in a different country other than China, ie., India (Darjeeling), or Japan, an oolong, is not correct, IMO. They should be referred to as semi-oxidized teas. They neither taste nor resemble oolongs in any way except that they are oxidized to a degree.

A good example of this is talking about Korean balhyocha under this 'oolong' umbrella. Balhyocha is semi-oxidized but in no way resembles oolong teas. To confuse the issue even more, in Korea, it is referred to as Hwangcha, yellow tea! How do we resolve this issue? :lol:
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Re: Separate leaves from stems prior to steeping?

Postby debunix » Jan 25th, '14, 14:53

Tead Off wrote:A good example of this is talking about Korean balhyocha under this 'oolong' umbrella. Balhyocha is semi-oxidized but in no way resembles oolong teas.


I cannot agree with this point especially: my current balhyocha, Jiri-Mountain Hwang Cha from Korea via Morning Crane Tea, is very similar in flavor profile to Bai Yun Oolong from Yunnan--highly oxidized, powerfully fruity teas. The Bai Yun, IIRC (Steepster is down at the moment so I don't have access to the full profile), was made from Yunnanese leaves in the style of Taiwanese Oriental Beauty.

I've only had two different Balhyocha to date, and both were strongly reminiscent of this same fruity/plummy/cherried quality of some highly oxidized chinese oolongs. So I can't agree that nothing grown/processed outside of China should be considered oolong.

The Hawaiian oolong I've enjoyed from the Hilo Coffee Mill, on the other hand, definitely seemed sui generis.
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Re: Separate leaves from stems prior to steeping?

Postby Tead Off » Jan 26th, '14, 03:15

It's not that there will be a hard and fast rule that only Chinese oolongs should get to be called oolongs. Certainly, some teas grown in other countries will resemble some oolongs in China. It comes down to the cultivars and the processing that are usually different than the Chinese ones.

I am also not making a qualitative judgement about any semi oxidized tea, only pointing out the limitation in language to describe 'other' semi-oxidized teas.

For example, I've recently tried some rolled 'oolong' from Nepal. This was a very pleasant tea but had no relationship in flavor to any Chinese oolong I've ever had. The cultivar and processing are not the same as the Chinese ones. Neither is the terroir, but we have to call it something. So, it gets lumped into the oolong category. I can live with that, but I don't think it's an accurate enough way to describe some of these teas. Maybe we can say the same thing about black tea, Darjeeling vs Chinese reds. Nothing similar there, yet they are both called black.
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