Apr 8th 16 2:49 pm
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best strategy & tactics for getting extra infusions

by ethan » Apr 8th 16 2:49 pm

I ask you what you do to get more infusions than one would usually expect tea leaves to yield.

I am far too unemployed; the weather has been miserable; I have many excellent teas; so, I am drinking more than ever.

I realized that at 20 - 40 cents per gram, days of several tea sessions cost me a few dollars. I cannot afford to drink $1000 worth of tea in a year!

I used to add time or raise temperature for the "extra" infusion (1 > than one should expect leaves to yield). The extra infusion was often bitter. Generally, less time or lower temperature for the first infusions combined w/ same temperature but longer steeping for an extra round seems to make "bonus" steeping okay but not delicious.

What do you do?

Apr 8th 16 9:42 pm
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Re: best strategy & tactics for getting extra infusions

by chaiguy » Apr 8th 16 9:42 pm

I am a noob in the tea world but what kind of tea are you brewing? what style of brewing are you performing? Quality of tea makes a huge difference in number of steeps.

I brew mostly "gongfu" style. I prefer steeping at cooler temps. Do I get more steeps? I am not sure I just prefer the taste of cooler temp steeps.

Apr 8th 16 10:03 pm
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Re: best strategy & tactics for getting extra infusions

by ethan » Apr 8th 16 10:03 pm

I brew Western style almost all of the time. I use gaiwans & small glazed pots & tiny yixing pots. I play w/ parameters (too often) but do write down what I come to feel is best temperature & timing for teas. I drink a white, a green oolong (dayuling), Oriental Beauty, an 85% oxidized oolong, med.-roast TGY, dark-roast TGY, a black tea from Nepal (which is like darjeeling), & may soon include a black TGY>

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Apr 8th 16 10:45 pm
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Re: best strategy & tactics for getting extra infusions

by entropyembrace » Apr 8th 16 10:45 pm

Try making extremely long infusions after your normal brewing as trailed off. You can let the tea sit for many minutes or hours until it reaches an equilibrium with the leaves. It won't be especially strong but will still have a pleasant taste. Sometimes I will have a couple of teas going if that's too slow.

Apr 9th 16 12:42 am
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Re: best strategy & tactics for getting extra infusions

by chaiguy » Apr 9th 16 12:42 am

im assuming you are American.you should take advantage of your strong dollar and take advantage of buying from tea vendors in Canada, Japan and china. I'm Canadian so I take a pretty big hit but I still find good deals and shipping tea is cheap.

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Apr 9th 16 1:34 am
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Re: best strategy & tactics for getting extra infusions

by jayinhk » Apr 9th 16 1:34 am

I now often use a big 500ml pot for green teas, regular blacks and cooked pu erh. Perhaps you could try big pot brewing? You use less leaf for the volume than gongfu and while you won't get more infusions, you will have a lot of tea to drink.

I just left a big pot brewing overnight; the third infusion of a Taiwanese green from Sanxia that I bought with you. Nice and cool in the morning and very refreshing with a mild, caramel and Oriental Beauty flavor to it. No bitterness at all!

Apr 9th 16 3:17 am
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Re: best strategy & tactics for getting extra infusions

by ethan » Apr 9th 16 3:17 am

Suggestions here are helpful. Thanks.

I have been using my smallest teaware for preparation. That takes a bit more leaves. I might use my bigger pots sometimes.

Very long steeping w/ lowest temp. may yield some non-bitter drinking that is good use of new or used leaves. I will try it.

As to buying-- I do that well whether $ is strong or weak.

I started the thread when I realized I was using more tea lately than I ever had & the consumption amounted to serious $. If I use 10% less leaves, it is worth the thought.

Thanks.

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Apr 10th 16 8:57 am
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Re: best strategy & tactics for getting extra infusions

by kuánglóng » Apr 10th 16 8:57 am

I usually drink more Himalayan teas than anything else, but whatever tea I'm brewing up, I always drink lukewarm water on the side - it helps immensely to recalibrate my senses and perception. I drink less tea that way but I'm getting more enjoyment and a better picture of what I have in the cup.

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Apr 10th 16 4:43 pm
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Re: best strategy & tactics for getting extra infusions

by stevorama » Apr 10th 16 4:43 pm

I most often drink raw or cooked pu er gong fu style with yi xing teapot (around 110ml) so my methods may not be as applicable to you.

To get more infusions while maintaining an interesting brew I usually use a bit more leaf in a smaller volume, just slightly lower water temperature to avoid "stewing" the leaves, pour water slowly and not directly on the leaves, leave lid slightly off to let leaves cool between steepings. Basically I try to avoid overcooking the tea. I especially try to avoid pouring superheated water into the pot, but when that happens I do a very quick steep.

I also find that teapot works better than gaiwan for increasing infusions. And as entropyembrace mentioned, a final very long steep can yield a great cup of tea

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Re: best strategy & tactics for getting extra infusions

by ethan » Apr 10th 16 7:23 pm

Yes, there is even more sound advice. Drinking tea stimulates thirst often. Water between rounds keeps sessions saner &more healthful; however, I often neglect to drink water.

Sometimes I neglect to take lids off when not steeping; so, the leaves don't get to cool as much as they could.

Since I started the thread, I decided to prepare teas only the best way that I found works best for me for each tea. Since I am lucky enough to have a good variety now, I should use that variety to keep it interesting. It's not like I need to change parameters & teaware to drink something different. I think this is "economical" in a sense.

Thanks for advice. cheers

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Apr 10th 16 9:05 pm
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Re: best strategy & tactics for getting extra infusions

by stevorama » Apr 10th 16 9:05 pm

I was once shown that sipping water between cups of tea brings out the mouth sweetness of the tea. Forgot about that! Will try that out again.

Some people feel that the lid is best left on the teapot to retain heat and aroma. Sometimes I do that. Many different ways! But as you just suggested what works best for you and your tea experience is the way to go. :D

Ethan, lucky 777 post!

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Apr 11th 16 12:41 am
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Re: best strategy & tactics for getting extra infusions

by jayinhk » Apr 11th 16 12:41 am

I always put my lid back at an angle to allow steam to escape. Sometimes I worry about my Yixing pots because I have to brew on the kitchen counter most of the time and my housekeeper uses my kettle. She knows to be careful around my teaware, but accidents happen...

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Re: best strategy & tactics for getting extra infusions

by Bok » Apr 11th 16 2:43 am

You might also consider to implement new elements in your tea ritual which slow down your consumption and in the end the volume of tea drunk.

For example, using charcoal to heat your water (if your living arrangement allows it), that will take considerably longer.

For me the best price value brewing is still the gong fu way of brewing, more out of each tea.
Western brewing tends only to produce one or two very average – but large amount of tea – rounds.
In the end I prefer to go for quality rather than quantity. I have yet to find a tea which does not benefit from a gong fu style preparation (parameters differ of course).

I only go big if I have a larger group of guests, otherwise preparing tea becomes a nuissance.

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Apr 11th 16 3:17 am
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Re: best strategy & tactics for getting extra infusions

by jayinhk » Apr 11th 16 3:17 am

I don't like to gongfu Chinese greens...they are much better with a longer steep. Also shu pu erh is good grandpa style, and while I usually gongfu heicha, traditionally it is boiled. Here in HK, older people often grandpa tieguanyin and shuixian too, but I'll never do that!

Grandpa brewing can give you the tea's full flavor profile, too, so occasional grandpa or competition style brewing can show you your tea's quality in a different way.

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Re: best strategy & tactics for getting extra infusions

by debunix » Apr 11th 16 6:12 am

jayinhk wrote:I don't like to gongfu Chinese greens...they are much better with a longer steep.
If I weren't so sensitive to the bitterness I might agree--there are lovely notes that show up when they're 'overbrewed', but if they're overwhelmed by bitterness, I can't stand to do anything but dilute or pour it out.