steep time, compression, storage, oh my!


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steep time, compression, storage, oh my!

Postby Dizzwave » Sep 17th, '08, 15:14

I recently (a month ago?) bought a brick of some 2000 sheng from Hou De, after having bought a sample of the same tea and loving it.
With the sample, I found that the first 8 steeps or so were all short (10-20 seconds at most), resulting in dark, sweet, flavorful brews.
Now that I have a brick (some of which I included in the box pass, before trying it from the same brick), I'm drinking a pot of it and finding different results. Basically, I am having to steep for far longer. At least a minute, to get a brew of the same color, and even then it doesn't pack the same punch as the sample I had.
The variables that I'm keeping the same are: teapot, water temp, amount of tea.
The variables that may have changed are:
storage (I keep the brick loosely wrapped in its paper wrapper, in my pumidor; the sample came in an airtight ziploc)
compression (the brick is probably denser than the flaked-off sample, so I might have less leaf surface exposed to water in the first few steeps)
??? anything else??? sheesh, I dunno. :)

Anyway, I emailed Hou De today and am awaiting a response. Hopefully they have a magic answer. I'll keep you all posted.
Fatman2 suggested that I air out a chunk of the brick for a couple weeks, to match how the sample was probably stored previous to its arrival with me.
Any other thoughts?
Thanks!
dave
p.s. box pass folks, keep this in mind when trying the 2000 stuff I included in the box.... maybe try to break up the chunk sufficiently before brewing it?
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Postby shogun89 » Sep 17th, '08, 15:25

Uh, dont know. I would say try putting a sample in a plastic bad for a week then try it.
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Postby Dizzwave » Sep 17th, '08, 15:47

That's a good idea, I'll try that too. Thanks shogun :)
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Postby tony shlongini » Sep 17th, '08, 17:14

If all it took to transform a dog that needed over a minute to yield a mediocre brew into a ten second champ were a brief stint in a plastic bag, I would think a lot of famous companies would be out of business.

I wish it would help, but I'm afraid you may be looking at two entirely different teas, even if they wear the same wrapper. There is considerable bottle to bottle variation in wine, and your sample may have come from a different batch than your beeng.
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Postby edkrueger » Sep 17th, '08, 17:54

I would say that any tea with so much batch variation is not a good tea.
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Postby Dizzwave » Sep 17th, '08, 18:21

Hmm, well I hope that you're wrong, Tony.. and Ed, this might not be so much a "batch variation" as these other factors I mentioned.
Tony, did you happen to try the stuff in the box? If so, what did you think? Did it require long steeps?
dave
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Postby tony shlongini » Sep 17th, '08, 18:58

Is that the '00 Chen Guang-He Tang you're talking about? I didn't sample that one, so I can't help.

I must say, that's a weird and disappointing situation you describe. I would have thought a cake would have fared much better than a loose sample.
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Postby Salsero » Sep 17th, '08, 19:16

I have the box ... still waiting for the catch up mail ... and will give it a whirl tonight.

I wonder if Guang had a substantial enough amount broken up for long enough and maybe in the humid Houston summer air that it actually did age the tea enough for the two batches to taste different. The non-A/C conditions in Houston (or my own Gainesville) are probably pretty similar to the rocket aging environment of Singapore or Malaysia.
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Postby ABx » Sep 17th, '08, 20:45

If you're putting a chunk in that's fully compressed then it's going to take much longer as only the outside leaf is going to steep. You would want to try to flake it apart as much as possible before steeping.
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Postby Dizzwave » Sep 17th, '08, 22:04

ABx wrote:If you're putting a chunk in that's fully compressed then it's going to take much longer as only the outside leaf is going to steep. You would want to try to flake it apart as much as possible before steeping.

ABx, thank you -- I had a hunch that that was the problem, but somehow I overlooked exactly how dense this brick was compared to the sample... I guess my memory isn't that great.. :)

Anyway, I'm drinking another pot of the stuff (my second today! can't complain), and this time I carefully flaked all of the leaves off of the chunk..... and this is *much* closer to what the sample was like.

So..... :oops: yeah, that smiley about says it...
thanks all, Hou De still roxxorz!
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Postby ABx » Sep 17th, '08, 22:09

Hehehe :D

Glad you got it... now you just have to stash it away and not touch it again for 10 years :lol:

I actually got the same brick. I think I took a very small sample when I first got it, but I haven't touched it since. I expect it to be much better with some age on it.
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Postby Dizzwave » Sep 17th, '08, 22:57

ABx wrote:now you just have to stash it away and not touch it again for 10 years :lol:
Aww man! That's the trick, controlling the stash so there's some for now, some for later....

ABx wrote:I actually got the same brick.
Cool! What did you think?
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Postby Salsero » Sep 17th, '08, 23:37

ABx wrote: I actually got the same brick.
The whole bricks seems to be sold out with only 3 one-ounce samples remaining in stock. :shock:
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