How does your Gongfu approach vary by tea type?


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How does your Gongfu approach vary by tea type?

Postby Lion » Jun 9th, '14, 20:43

Hi everyone! I've been studying tea and the Gongfu method of preparing tea for almost a year now. I've seen SO many different ways that people brew their tea in this style, it's pretty fascinating, and in time it has led me to experiment with many different methods and make up my own brewing guide that is suited to my tastes.

I will say though one thing I've run across is that certain teas seem to be more frequently brewed for very short infusions with lots of leaf, while others seem to be recommended to be brewed with less leaf and longer.

For example, I usually see recommendations for brewing white and green teas in this method to be around 2g of leaf per 100ml of water for 45-60 seconds for an initial infusion. Meanwhile I usually see suggestions for oolong, red/black, and puer teas use much more leaf for shorter infusions... Something like 3.5 to 5g of tea per 100ml water and infused for flash infusions or 10-15 second initial infusions.

My main question is... is there a reason I have very rarely seen suggestions for white and green teas to be brewed in the shorter infusion style? Do these teas work well with that method?

I know I will probably just have to experiment with this a bit, but I do have limited amounts of tea and financial constraints, so I can't do as much experimenting as I'd like. Any advice?

I have noticed that part of what seems to influence style comes down to personal tastes and how many infusions you want to enjoy of one tea. For some people it is more practical to use less leaf and longer infusions because they only want to drink 2-3 infusions and stop there, while using more leaf to get more infusions out of it would be wasteful if you don't want to drink that many.

But I do wonder if some teas just generally take better to being steeped for longer periods of time, while others work better with very short infusions. Any insights?
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Postby bonescwa » Jun 9th, '14, 21:52

I think as far as Japanese and Korean greens go, you can use more leaf and a lower temperature and shorter steep time because of the difference in processing compared to Chinese greens. You can throw Chinese greens into a mug and use water just under boiling and drink it as you go, the flavor isn't going to become bitter or astringent. The frying smooths out all the alkaloids, like if you saute spinach or brussel sprouts the bitterness fades. If you steam them, the bitterness remains. Now whites are interesting, I think you can gongfu whites like oolongs, but that's just based on my personal experiences and not anything I've really heard of before. Oolong, and to a lesser extent, puerh, really show their essence through gongfu as I'm sure you know.
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Re: How does your Gongfu approach vary by tea type?

Postby Chip » Jun 9th, '14, 21:59

I just never saw the point of gong fu style prep for greens. Though I do go with a fairly high ratio for Japanese sencha, more than 1:1 (grams per ounces water). Roughly 6-6.5 grams per 4-5 ounces water.

... and brew time 45-1.5 for sencha.

For tea like oolong or pu-erh ... that makes much more sense.
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Re: How does your Gongfu approach vary by tea type?

Postby BW85 » Jun 10th, '14, 02:26

From my experience oolong's and puers will evolve much more dramatically throughout a series of gongfu infusions, where as greens will show some variation from one infusion to the next, but much less dramatically. That's really one of the major points of gongfu brewing, a controlled release of the many layers of subtle complexities of a tea
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Re: How does your Gongfu approach vary by tea type?

Postby Teaism » Jun 10th, '14, 12:17

Lion wrote:
My main question is... is there a reason I have very rarely seen suggestions for white and green teas to be brewed in the shorter infusion style? Do these teas work well with that method?


High temperature/fast infusion works well with green and white tea. I do that most of the time, using Gaiwan. You got to be really fast on this and the brew is really enjoyable with wider taste and aroma dimension. It is good to try and gain the experience from there. It also works well on Sencha. I tried this on Sencha for a few Japanese tea drinkers and they were surprised with the nicer brew from what they normally get from conventional method.

Cheers! :D
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Re: How does your Gongfu approach vary by tea type?

Postby Noonie » Jun 10th, '14, 12:55

One of the things I love about Japanese greens is that I use less leaf to water, and brew a larger cup of tea that for me works great in the mornings and at work when I want to sit with the one cup for a little longer than compared with oolong, where the tea session itself is more involved as there is a back-and-forth with the kettle and other steps as I drink multiple, smaller cups. But each method is great in its own way.
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How does your Gongfu approach vary by tea type?

Postby mcrdotcom » Jun 10th, '14, 16:36

I would be mostly prone to brewing my puerh and oolong teas gongfu style because there is a very clear tea development over the steepings (you also tend to get around 10 brews with these teas).

That said, I also drink puerh by throwing some leaf into a cup and drinking on the go! This would be my 90% Chinese green method, however with a good green tea it's always enjoyable to explore the tea with a gongfu session... You can find nuances unnoticed before this way!

As for white tea, I think it really suits a gongfu session, but it won't last long! It can also be grandpa brewed like the green teas!

Red tea is a bowl tea or gongfu! (Blends like irish breakfast tea are good western style).
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Re: How does your Gongfu approach vary by tea type?

Postby 茶藝-TeaArt08 » Jun 10th, '14, 16:57

Teaism wrote:
Lion wrote:
My main question is... is there a reason I have very rarely seen suggestions for white and green teas to be brewed in the shorter infusion style? Do these teas work well with that method?


High temperature/fast infusion works well with green and white tea. I do that most of the time, using Gaiwan. You got to be really fast on this and the brew is really enjoyable with wider taste and aroma dimension. It is good to try and gain the experience from there. It also works well on Sencha. I tried this on Sencha for a few Japanese tea drinkers and they were surprised with the nicer brew from what they normally get from conventional method.

Cheers! :D


Noonie wrote:One of the things I love about Japanese greens is that I use less leaf to water, and brew a larger cup of tea that for me works great in the mornings and at work when I want to sit with the one cup for a little longer than compared with oolong, where the tea session itself is more involved as there is a back-and-forth with the kettle and other steps as I drink multiple, smaller cups. But each method is great in its own way.



All the "rules" of tea for me are starting points and I really enjoy the adventures "off trail." There, experimentally speaking, is no tea that I would not brew gong fu style. Just the other day I had two nice sessions with Longjing green tea brewed in gong fu style and intention in a 120ml Petr Novak pot. There certainly was an evolution of flavors from round to round and it was an enjoyable pour.

Blessings!
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Re: How does your Gongfu approach vary by tea type?

Postby Lion » Jun 11th, '14, 00:52

Wonderful! Thank you all for the advice so far.

What would you suggest is a good gongfu starting point for oolong? Particularly ball-shaped Taiwanese oolong.

Leaf amount/water temp/timing?
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Re: How does your Gongfu approach vary by tea type?

Postby Risdt » Jun 11th, '14, 02:03

I would not go less than 6g/100ml. Good gaoshan up to 10-11g sometimes. Very heavy roasted ones you can pack as you want, they barely get astringent just very intense but these are not so common in TW tea.
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Re: How does your Gongfu approach vary by tea type?

Postby Poseidon » Jun 11th, '14, 08:49

Risdt wrote:I would not go less than 6g/100ml. Good gaoshan up to 10-11g sometimes. Very heavy roasted ones you can pack as you want, they barely get astringent just very intense but these are not so common in TW tea.

I usually go 1:1 ratio of leaf to water to start out. 2:1 with a very floral oolong can be a tough drink, IMO. Maybe if you did flash infusions it would be enjoyable.

Heres somewhat what I follow for most gongfu brewing:
1:1 ratio to start.(Go more of less depending on how you like)
Boiling water
-Flash Rinse
-15 sec
-30 sec
-45 sec
-1 min
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Re: How does your Gongfu approach vary by tea type?

Postby kyarazen » Jun 11th, '14, 11:52

hmm.. it really depends on how people would define "gongfu" tea, or how the process is to be like..

there are probably four or five historical variants to "gongfu" tea proper, although in literature they rather record it as "brewing method", and using the gongfu word only with a selected couple of styles i.e. chaozhou.

a lot of the gongfu tea concepts and methods did not make it to the west, neither did it make it back into china at a publicly known level. i've been spending a while researching and collating information from south east asian and taiwanese sources, engaging older generation tea "masters", finding out about old tea merchants that no longer exists etc and their publications. a part of me tells me that i should put everything into english, and towards the international community, and yet another part tells me that.. tea itself is constantly evolving, the tastes of people change, methods are always transmitted in part and then re-adapted by individuals, new merchants, people of the "trade", is there a need to propagate continuity in "history"?
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Re: How does your Gongfu approach vary by tea type?

Postby Risdt » Jun 12th, '14, 04:00

Well, sharing that information would us probably help us appreciating and understaning the way we brew now, perhaps experiment with techniques or philosophies about tea back the but it'll be part of our tea drinking evolution. I don't think most people have time to walk to a spring to collect the finest waters and heat water by stove

As a non-Chinese speaker, I find it quite frustrating there is so much reading material and oral communication/stories I don't have access to.
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Re: How does your Gongfu approach vary by tea type?

Postby BW85 » Jun 12th, '14, 14:29

kyarazen wrote:hmm.. it really depends on how people would define "gongfu" tea, or how the process is to be like..

there are probably four or five historical variants to "gongfu" tea proper, although in literature they rather record it as "brewing method", and using the gongfu word only with a selected couple of styles i.e. chaozhou.

a lot of the gongfu tea concepts and methods did not make it to the west, neither did it make it back into china at a publicly known level. i've been spending a while researching and collating information from south east asian and taiwanese sources, engaging older generation tea "masters", finding out about old tea merchants that no longer exists etc and their publications. a part of me tells me that i should put everything into english, and towards the international community, and yet another part tells me that.. tea itself is constantly evolving, the tastes of people change, methods are always transmitted in part and then re-adapted by individuals, new merchants, people of the "trade", is there a need to propagate continuity in "history"?


I second that I'm sure a lot of us would love it if you put it into English and shared
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