TeaSource Tung Ting


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TeaSource Tung Ting

Postby Inspired by Tea » Jan 30th, '08, 12:38

Hi everyone, I thought I would share my first experience preparing my own loose leaf tea. I went to TeaSource as it was close to my home and purchased two tung tings trying to get that wonderful flavor I had in portland with the Frozen Summit.

I got two ounces of each, one Tung Ting Oolong which was just $3.54 for two ounces, and then the pricier Green Dragon Oolong which was $7.80 for two ounces. The Green Dragon smelled much better but I wanted to try both in case there wasn't much difference than I could stick to the cheaper in the future.

I also purchased my first gaiwan, a plain white porcelan one that I am quite terrible at using!

I started with the cheaper Tung Ting so as to not disappoint myself. I don't have a thermometer for the water, but I brought my kettle almost to a boil with lots of steam and bubbles forming below the surface and poured it over one and a half teaspoons in my 6 oz gaiwan and waited 3 minutes. Then I poured half the tea into my cup, and the other half all over my coffee table.

It didn't taste anything close to as wonderful as the Frozen Summit and I was pretty disappointed. It was good, just a little bland and it didn't have the buttery taste I was looking for. It tasted slightly toasty.

The second infusion I did for 3 minutes as well and I did notice just a hint of a buttery taste. Unfortunately, the coffee table once again enjoyed it as much as I did.

The last infusion I waited 6 minutes and it was mediocre again. I did manage to succesfully pour ALL the tea from the gaiwan to my teacup at least. Maybe if I find just the right combination of brewing time and water temp I can bring more flavor out. It is just not as subtle as I would like. I am going to try the pricier Green Dragon tonight and my hopes are high!

Here's some pictures of the Tung Ting (I couldn't get the images to display here)

http://www.4shared.com/file/36407458/ce461ea8/gaiwan2.html

http://www.4shared.com/file/36373273/4f68a2ef/dry_tung_ting_bag.html

http://www.4shared.com/file/36407485/5591c58/tung_ting_up_close.html

http://www.4shared.com/file/36373428/a140f390/second_infusion.html

http://www.4shared.com/file/36407428/8107886f/first_cup.html
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Postby scruffmcgruff » Jan 30th, '08, 13:02

Inspired-- after looking at your pictures, I have a bit of advice. I would suggest adding more leaf (maybe around double) and using far shorter (30-60s) infusions.

Typically I try to use as much leaf as will fit in the gaiwan--when completely unfurled, of course-- without pushing up on the lid. So, I would try doubling the amount of leaf you use. If it expands out of the gaiwan, use less leaf; if it doesn't quite expand to occupy most/all of the gaiwan, add a little more next time. And make sure to keep the infusions short! 30 seconds sounds about right for the first infusion, and you can increase the time, or not, in successive infusions. A 3 minute steep will be quite unpleasant with that much leaf. :)

I make no guarantees, obviously, this might work or it might not. It's quite possible the Dong Ding you got just isn't very good quality. Good luck with the green dragon!
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Postby Inspired by Tea » Jan 30th, '08, 13:31

Thanks Scruff, I will give it a try and let you know how it goes!
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Postby Inspired by Tea » Jan 30th, '08, 14:31

Well my curiosity couldn't wait, and wow! That made a huge difference! The tea brewed this way is much more delicate and light and even more buttery! Thanks Scruff!

Now am I just not holding the lid on the gaiwan tight enough or is it normal to have little bits of tea floating in the bottom of your cup?
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Postby scruffmcgruff » Jan 30th, '08, 14:45

I'm glad it worked out! Another great thing about doing more leaf and shorter steeps is that you can get more infusions in less time than if you used less leaf and longer steeps.

Don't worry about the little bits, there's not much you can do to prevent them from escaping the gaiwan.
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Green Dragon Oolong

Postby Inspired by Tea » Jan 31st, '08, 13:56

Just reporting back on the Green Dragon Oolong. It was delicious! I could immediately tell the difference. It had a lovely aroma, and a peachy buttery smoothness that coated my mouth with wonderfulness. There was no bitterness at all. I will definitely order this again and not the "Tung Ting."

I've gone back to my Beehouse teapot though as I've discovered gaiwans are a lot of work for a very small amount of tea. haha. Now to branch out from my beloved Oolongs.
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Postby tenuki » Jan 31st, '08, 16:00

Here is what you are missing regarding gaiwans and time...

Image

Get an electric hot water kettle and a tea sink. Set these on your desk with your gaiwan. When you think you may want some tea press the 'boil' button on the tea kettle. 30 seconds later it pops and you have fresh boiled water. pour into gaiwan, wait 30 seconds pour, drink. repeat all day. way less work than any other method I can think of. I'm the laziest SOB you ever met and I prefer Gaiwan's _because_ they are less work than any method I can think of. ;)

And yes, it is ok to have bits of leaf floating in your tea.
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Postby Inspired by Tea » Jan 31st, '08, 16:10

Yes! That is definitely what I am missing. What I did last night was far more laborious. I put the kettle on the stove and waited about 20 minutes for it to get almost boiling, then poured it into the gaiwan for 30 seconds and went back down stairs. Spilled half on the coffee table. Finish the half cup two minutes later. Walk back upstairs. Re heat water. Only 5 minutes this time, but still.. standing around the stove waiting.. repeat over and over.

At least when I fill the teapot it's good for 4 cups before I have to go boil more water. I am definitely going to purchase a UtiliTea as soon as I get some extra cash. I really enjoy the gaiwans!

Thanks for the advice, I can't wait until I have the same sweet setup as you!
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Postby tenuki » Jan 31st, '08, 16:24

Let me save you some time and money, I had to try 3 tea kettles before I found a good one, and good gaiwans are hard to come by unless you live ( as I do ) someplace near a chinese tea shop. Tea sinks, also very hard to come by and usually very expensive.

UtiliTea Kettle from Adagio 0- $49
Simple Brown Yixing clay Gaiwan from Tao of Tea - $20
Bamboo Tea Sink from Funalliance - $34

(edit)
Oh, and if you want to try a Yixing pot without spending 50 dollars Yunnan Sourcing on yahoo has a decent selection. My current favorite pot of all time for brewing green oolongs I got there for 11 dollars...

Image
Last edited by tenuki on Jan 31st, '08, 16:37, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Inspired by Tea » Jan 31st, '08, 16:27

Thank you! Your so kind, I really appreciate it!
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Postby scruffmcgruff » Jan 31st, '08, 16:40

If you're not too afraid of eBay (I am) and don't mind waiting for shipping from China, you can also get the same brown gaiwan for cheaper from Dragon Tea House. A good deal of regulars on TeaChat have shopped there, including myself, and iirc nobody has been disappointed.
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Postby tenuki » Jan 31st, '08, 16:43

Sweet, thanks for the tip! Looks like the tea sinks there are cheaper too. Can someone report on the quality?
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Postby Inspired by Tea » Jan 31st, '08, 16:52

Yeah, awesome Scruff thanks! I ordered a lovely oil painting from China from ebay once and I adore it. So no Ebay fears here! What a great deal!
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Postby scruffmcgruff » Jan 31st, '08, 17:21

tenuki wrote:Sweet, thanks for the tip! Looks like the tea sinks there are cheaper too. Can someone report on the quality?


Well, for the most part, the quality is pretty decent. I did buy a couple of gaiwans from there for around $3, and they weren't so great, but the brown gaiwan I linked earlier isn't half bad at all. Some of the items there are pretty inexpensive, so it's not really reasonable to expect extraordinary craftsmanship on those; I expect the pricer items are of better quality. I haven't bought any of their sinks/trays though, so I can't comment on those. Also, from what I hear, they have pretty good quality teas, but again I haven't bought any of them myself.
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