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Re: best strategy & tactics for getting extra infusions

by jayinhk » Apr 11th 16 6:18 am

debunix wrote:
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.
I get no bitterness, but I don't scald my tea and I use a 500ml pot. First steeps are only five mins or so and I don't let the water level get too low before refilling. A quick swirl before pouring gets everything mixed up.

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Re: best strategy & tactics for getting extra infusions

by kuánglóng » Apr 11th 16 9:57 am

jayinhk wrote: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.
For me it's all an ongoing experiment, even with types of tea that I've been drinking for ages. In my view there's no better way to unfold and discover the complexity in any tea than to constantly (habitually) vary the parameters (leaf water ratio, temperatures, steeping time, ...), water, brewing vessels and kettles, pouring technique, different stages (methods) of storage/aging, you name it, but I also follow some standardized brewing and tasting procedures, especially in order to compare different teas.

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Re: best strategy & tactics for getting extra infusions

by jayinhk » Apr 11th 16 12:04 pm

kuánglóng wrote:
jayinhk wrote: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.
For me it's all an ongoing experiment, even with types of tea that I've been drinking for ages. In my view there's no better way to unfold and discover the complexity in any tea than to constantly (habitually) vary the parameters (leaf water ratio, temperatures, steeping time, ...), water, brewing vessels and kettles, pouring technique, different stages (methods) of storage/aging, you name it, but I also follow some standardized brewing and tasting procedures, especially in order to compare different teas.
I agree with you there, although for storage, I keep my greens, blacks and oolongs dry and my pu erhs behind glass without dehumidifiers in the room! I do alter parameters. For a while I was drinking the same few teas and had left others on the shelf. I'd forgotten how to brew some of my teas, and the parameters that were best! New teas definitely need experimentation to brew them just right.

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Re: best strategy & tactics for getting extra infusions

by kuánglóng » Apr 11th 16 5:49 pm

jayinhk wrote:
kuánglóng wrote:
jayinhk wrote: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.
For me it's all an ongoing experiment, even with types of tea that I've been drinking for ages. In my view there's no better way to unfold and discover the complexity in any tea than to constantly (habitually) vary the parameters (leaf water ratio, temperatures, steeping time, ...), water, brewing vessels and kettles, pouring technique, different stages (methods) of storage/aging, you name it, but I also follow some standardized brewing and tasting procedures, especially in order to compare different teas.
I agree with you there, although for storage, I keep my greens, blacks and oolongs dry and my pu erhs behind glass without dehumidifiers in the room! I do alter parameters. For a while I was drinking the same few teas and had left others on the shelf. I'd forgotten how to brew some of my teas, and the parameters that were best! New teas definitely need experimentation to brew them just right.
Couldn't agree more. I usually try new teas with a standard procedure first, an old habit, including jotting down tasting notes, but the real fun starts when I look for something similar in storage and do a comparative brew-out - I just love to compare 2-3 similar teas (+ water) and jotting down notes.
Regarding storage (in contrast to deliberate aging - different story) I've been experimenting quite a bit with a good number of parameters, mainly atmospheric (O2 absorbers, nitrogen flooding, vacuuming), temperatures and different containers/materials. Nothing overly systematic and mainly driven by curiosity and the volatility of my favored teas. When it comes to preserving the profile/character of a tea as precisely as possible over long periods nothing beats deep freezing small, carefully vacuumed packs in my book. Highly recommended for keeping larger amounts as fresh as possible, especially teas that oxidize faster than you can drink them.

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Re: best strategy & tactics for getting extra infusions

by wyardley » Apr 11th 16 6:28 pm

I think worrying about getting extra infusions is misguided. It's probably a good sign in many cases if a tea is extra "durable", but at some point, the taste isn't going to change much, and it just turns into a "how many infusions can I get" kind of thing. I like to stop drinking a tea before it really starts to fall off, so that the takeaway is from when the tea is closer to being at its peak.

That said, with yancha, at least, some people have good luck flipping the leaves upside-down around the 7th or 8th infusion.

Or, if you're brewing tea in a small pot with lots of leaf, you can brew in a bigger pot later, for a longer infusion. With certain teas (old teas, especially), you could boil the tea after infusing no longer produces much.

My personal opinion is that trying to maximize number of brews is really not going to save you money, but may cost you in terms of hassle and enjoyment.

Not sure what kind of teas you drink most often, but certain types of tea especially are unlikely to go for a lot of rounds.

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Re: best strategy & tactics for getting extra infusions

by Griff » Apr 11th 16 9:58 pm

Perhaps raising the number of sessions instead of infusions per session would be a more enjoyable way to stretch your tea stash.

I find having small sessions using half the amount of leaf/water compared to normal is a nice way to make tea last longer. Cleaning out my teaware and starting the ritual over again (whether immediately after the last session or several hours later) is a very satisfying way for me to make me tea stash last longer. :)

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Re: best strategy & tactics for getting extra infusions

by debunix » Apr 12th 16 5:22 am

Not sure if this is a best strategy or not, but today I got four infusions from my morning Zairai sencha from O-Cha, and felt that the leaves had a bit more flavor but I had no more time. I covered them with boiling water, left them sit in the pot all day, and then poured the liquor into a pot and flash rinsed the leaves and filled the cup (about 3-4 times the volume of the little pot) with more hot water to rinse the leaves and dilute the day-long steep. Result? Lovely.

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Re: best strategy & tactics for getting extra infusions

by hop_goblin » Apr 12th 16 3:44 pm

In the past, I would buy a good tea and a not so good tea of the same kind and make my own blend. It stretched it a bit for me when down a few bucks.

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Re: best strategy & tactics for getting extra infusions

by ethan » Apr 28th 16 7:01 pm

It's been almost 3 weeks since I started this thread. I took the advice seriously & am thankful for it.

Overall, the idea of Wyardly which was extreme concern for extra infusions was wrong-headed, has proven to be most valuable to me. I have stopped worrying about getting the absolutely greatest value from my leaves. Being mindful not to waste etc. is enough.

Several teachatters' advice to put cool water on used leaves for a very long infusion is also good for me. I have put cool water on leaves at the end of a day's tea sessions to do its work overnight. Sometimes that leads to an enjoyable drink the next day, as a cup of tea-water or a real cup of tea.

cheers

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Re: best strategy & tactics for getting extra infusions

by BW85 » Apr 29th 16 12:32 am

wyardley wrote:I think worrying about getting extra infusions is misguided. It's probably a good sign in many cases if a tea is extra "durable", but at some point, the taste isn't going to change much, and it just turns into a "how many infusions can I get" kind of thing. I like to stop drinking a tea before it really starts to fall off, so that the takeaway is from when the tea is closer to being at its peak.


My personal opinion is that trying to maximize number of brews is really not going to save you money, but may cost you in terms of hassle and enjoyment.
.
This is how I feel. I hear people elsewhere who want to continue to steep their leaves until nothing is left, potentially 20+ infusions. It would seem wasteful to these people, but I usually only take a tea a few steeps past the peak also. Even if that's only 8 to 10 infusions of a puerh or 6 to 8 of an oolong. That's a long enough session to satisfy me. And if I have more tea later I prefer to start with fresh leaves rather than picking up at the tail end of my previous session

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Re: best strategy & tactics for getting extra infusions

by Bok » Apr 29th 16 8:03 am

BW85 wrote:
wyardley wrote:I think worrying about getting extra infusions is misguided. It's probably a good sign in many cases if a tea is extra "durable", but at some point, the taste isn't going to change much, and it just turns into a "how many infusions can I get" kind of thing. I like to stop drinking a tea before it really starts to fall off, so that the takeaway is from when the tea is closer to being at its peak.


My personal opinion is that trying to maximize number of brews is really not going to save you money, but may cost you in terms of hassle and enjoyment.
.
This is how I feel. I hear people elsewhere who want to continue to steep their leaves until nothing is left, potentially 20+ infusions. It would seem wasteful to these people, but I usually only take a tea a few steeps past the peak also. Even if that's only 8 to 10 infusions of a puerh or 6 to 8 of an oolong. That's a long enough session to satisfy me. And if I have more tea later I prefer to start with fresh leaves rather than picking up at the tail end of my previous session
third that. Better less and better, than endless average infusions…

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Re: best strategy & tactics for getting extra infusions

by jayinhk » Apr 29th 16 2:02 pm

Another way is with a really stuffed pot and flash infusions. I quite like drinking good tea that way, especially gaoshan.

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Re: best strategy & tactics for getting extra infusions

by JRS22 » May 1st 16 5:07 pm

ethan wrote:It's been almost 3 weeks since I started this thread. I took the advice seriously & am thankful for it.

Overall, the idea of Wyardly which was extreme concern for extra infusions was wrong-headed, has proven to be most valuable to me. I have stopped worrying about getting the absolutely greatest value from my leaves. Being mindful not to waste etc. is enough.

cheers
I have a lovely (and growing) collection of small pots that work well for the many infusions I can get from a good Japanese green or a yancha. I was disappointed when my 2016 Chinese greens were petering out by the third infusion. I thought of your post and used my 'huge' 175 ml pot this morning and enjoyed two very good and one OK infusion.

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Re: best strategy & tactics for getting extra infusions

by Mureke » May 15th 16 2:05 pm

I like to do an extra long, final brew. For some teas, I take the depleted leaves into my fist and gently squeeze the remaining liquid out of them :twisted:

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Re: best strategy & tactics for getting extra infusions

by john.b » May 26th 16 3:57 am

It's interesting that so many others have essentially said the same thing, but over the last couple of months I've been experimenting with getting an extra infusion out of mostly finished tea by cold steeping it for a long time.

I typically will start the brewing with water quite cool by normal standards, but well above room temperature, and leave that in the refrigerator to try again the next day.

In some cases teas have been too far gone for that to work well, and other times it works really well. Results seem to depend on the particular tea as much as how much I'd brewed from the leaves previously. Teas like lightly oxidized oolong or silver needle style white are hard to completely "brew out" so they might respond well to such a process, and often the flavor range stays positive even after extended steeping for those. Black teas tend to drop out instead, but it still can work, it just depends, with good quality teas producing nice results even when the infusion is light, or after considerable prior brewing.

The nice part is that if it doesn't work there really isn't any loss, since I've already made some tea from the teas in a more conventional way, so the goal is just to extend that, and to experiment.