Counter-Intuitive Brewing Method

Fully oxidized tea leaves for a robust cup.

Mar 9th 06 9:57 pm
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Joined: Mar 9th 06 8:58 pm

Counter-Intuitive Brewing Method

by Joel R » Mar 9th 06 9:57 pm

Now, I love tea, and I've read many guides and pamphlets about how to best brew and enjoy it. That is why I am confused at what has turned out to be my favorite brewing method, which seemingly ignores the big rule of brewing: time. My polish-born parents refer to this as a "plujka" (pronounced plooy-kah), from the polish word to spit. It is called this, as one might guess, because it consists of merely dumping a sizable quantity (probably more than the usual "recommended dosage") and letting it sit. Despite the blatant disregard for the "rules" of brewing tea, tea brewed in this method is delicious, and is much more sweet and far less bitter than tea brewed traditionally in a pot only slightly too strongly or long. It seems to me that tea left sitting for ten minutes which fill half of the cup should taste awful, but it doesn't. Does anyone know why this brewing method is as succesful as it is?

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Mar 9th 06 11:28 pm
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by rabbit » Mar 9th 06 11:28 pm

Well I'm guessing that if you were to use very cheap tea it wouldn't taste very good, also it probably depends on the tea you use, is there a traditional type of tea used in preperation of plujka? Do you just add the leaves to your cup, or maybe to something else like a porclain teapot? Also, do you use milk and/or sugar? Because that would make the tea seem less bitter than to drink it plain.

Mar 10th 06 1:41 am
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by Joel R » Mar 10th 06 1:41 am

Plujka is just a nickname, it's not a formal title or anything. As such, there are no real traditions associated with it. I don't add sugar or milk or anything, either, it's just leaves and water. The tea I drink is generally good quality, stuff from Adagio mostly. There is a little bitterness in it, though. Not in most of the tea, but the tea at the bottom, when the water level goes under the level of the pile of leaves at the bottom, tastes a little bitter. When I brew from a pot, the brew is generally more bitter. I use a glass pot with a glass leaf basket inside. It's basically a glass cylinder with the bottom sealed and a few holes drilled in. The tea from that, even when made exactly to canonical specifications, is no better than tea made by just dumping leaves in the cup. Perhaps the added bitterness is because the brew basket keeps water from circulating, leaving a super-concentrated brew in the basket that only goes outside into the pot proper if the pot is lifted. I'd imagine that tastes bitter, but would also imagine that it's fairly diluted in the pot proper, so the end product is no stronger than if the leaves were just free-floating.

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Mar 11th 06 6:15 am
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by javyn » Mar 11th 06 6:15 am

There is no wrong way, do whatever floats your boat :) For the longest time I hated tea because I would oversteep it, even the good stuff. I did not really start to enjoy it until I followed the guidelines (better word than "rules") for temperature and steeping times. That made all the difference to me. I guess I am more sensitive to the tannins. My brother drinks gunpowder green and he likes to steep it for 10-15 minutes in boiling water, yuck! He loves it that way though.

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Mar 14th 06 3:12 pm
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by Madam Potts » Mar 14th 06 3:12 pm

I have always found this conversation interesting - the Rules.

There are the connoisseurs that hold rigidly to them.
And then there are those who do it their way with no use for rules.

Not unlike life.
So many ways to live it.
You must find what works for you.

Guidelines never hurt and sometimes we find that rules are best when broken.

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Mar 20th 06 4:17 am
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by MarshalN » Mar 20th 06 4:17 am

As long as you like it, brew away :)

I suspect though that much of it has to do with the kind of tea in question. Doing this with, say, a jasmine will make a very bitter cup