Jan 21st, '17, 12:46
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What are some things you wish you knew about tea once you started getting serious about it?

by onjinone » Jan 21st, '17, 12:46

There's so much information about tea online but I find that most of it tends to be very surface level and generic. As someone who wanted to become a little more serious or to get more in depth, what are some things you wish you knew earlier?

Something interesting for me was how seasons can affect the taste in aged puerh or even how moving the leaves from place to place can alter taste for a period of time.

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Jan 21st, '17, 23:56
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Re: What are some things you wish you knew about tea once you started getting serious about it?

by debunix » Jan 21st, '17, 23:56

How important brewing temperature and time are in brewing tea. I would have wasted a lot less green tea--some of which was probably quite decent stuff if I'd only known what to do with it. And how useful dilution can often be in rescuing overbrewed teas.

Jan 22nd, '17, 00:05
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Re: What are some things you wish you knew about tea once you started getting serious about it?

by onjinone » Jan 22nd, '17, 00:05

debunix wrote:How important brewing temperature and time are in brewing tea. I would have wasted a lot less green tea--some of which was probably quite decent stuff if I'd only known what to do with it. And how useful dilution can often be in rescuing overbrewed teas.
Oh yeah, that one is huge haha. Agree that it's especially important for greens. If only this was more obvious, then you'd think there'd be less complaints about bitterness out there.

Sep 14th, '17, 02:56
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Re: What are some things you wish you knew about tea once you started getting serious about it?

by ethan » Sep 14th, '17, 02:56

It is puzzling how few replies there were for this thread. While Teachat is often generous with advice and help, posts about early struggles and lessons learned did not appear.

I wonder if we forget mistakes or somehow come to think mistakes are not mistakes. E.g. bitterness from too much time or temperature for infusions becomes something one "adjusts" to. I feel one does better by adjusting parameters for various teas than by adjusting himself.

Too much heat or time does not effect all aspects of what one gets from leaves equally. In cooking one might reduce the ill effects of mistakes to some extent, e.g. an extra teaspoon of salt might not taste so bad after the addition of an extra tablespoon of sugar, but even then one bowl of soup can handle only so much....

Sitting with very expert and experienced producers of tea in Tainan, I was surprised that when drinking tea only for its enjoyment, they were happiest with aged, heavily oxidized oolong that was prepared to be smooth and quite simple in taste. This superior tea can provide lots of flavors that I feel were lost or buried when excess leaves, temperature, and steeping time were used by the professionals.

Likewise lovers of hardly oxidized gaoshan often care about powerful huigan and a specific high mountain taste and effect and nothing or little else. I find my preparation does not lose much of what they like but also allows other pleasures. I've mentioned this a few times and once offended someone (who got over the feeling fortunately). I was asked if I was saying that he did not know how to prepare tea.

Teachat does discuss parameters for Japanese green tea, storage of pu, and matching teapots & water to specific teas while avoiding other areas most of the time, but not a lot more in regards to preparation etc. most of the time. I've been told that as a vendor I lose respect by mentioning my mistakes etc. but find it hard to believe. I never would have guessed that I could source great tea and enjoy it with people around the world. My pleasure with that won't be diminished if I remember and mention foibles, ignorance, etc.

Anyway, getting a bit too talky. Perhaps too much caffeine. Now that I am back in Thailand drinking alone much of the time, I am concentrating on the tea and not about its price etc. Loving it. cheers

Oct 27th, '17, 05:49
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Re: What are some things you wish you knew about tea once you started getting serious about it?

by jdtc » Oct 27th, '17, 05:49

Something I wish I knew about tea when I was getting serious about it was that there are health benefits to almost every type of tea, not just greens. I had genuinely believed that for a while, and was relieved to discover that I had several more options.

Oct 27th, '17, 23:12
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Re: What are some things you wish you knew about tea once you started getting serious about it?

by hoot » Oct 27th, '17, 23:12

onjinone wrote: There's so much information about tea online but I find that most of it tends to be very surface level and generic. As someone who wanted to become a little more serious or to get more in depth, what are some things you wish you knew earlier?

Something interesting for me was how seasons can affect the taste in aged puerh or even how moving the leaves from place to place can alter taste for a period of time.
Lots of things can affect the taste of your tea and some of them you can control. I like to know the weight of the tea I am using, so I have a small digital scale. I like to know the temperature of my water, so I use a kettle that has temperature control.

I fully realize that there are low tech ways of managing these variables, but I like the convenience, speed, and repeatability I get. One advantage of this is that when I try a tea for the first time, I have a idea of the baseline and can judge it better.

Ok, now for the serious advice. Buying yixing teapots can be addictive. I have more than I use. On a consistent basis, I use one for some of my older sheng and the other for some of my oolongs. Most of my gong fu brewing is done in an easy gaiwan or a teapot, both of which are fully glazed ru kiln. So, if you are on the edge of becoming serious, I would get a nice set of ru kiln teaware. While there other options for a glaze, typically there is a crackle pattern in ru kiln that is brought out by usage which appeals to me. I also like the way that the cups feel in my hands. (If you like your teaware pristine, ru kiln can stain and you should probably stick to basic white porcelain. It's cheap and plentiful.) As for buying yixing, I would recommend looking for a high quality teapot from a trusted source. The two pots I use both enhance the flavor of their chosen tea and have good mechanics (a tight seal, fast pour time, feels good in my hands). So, did I follow this advice? Nope. I have been a bargain hunting gambler. Some of my gambles have paid off... I think.

Oct 28th, '17, 06:55
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Re: What are some things you wish you knew about tea once you started getting serious about it?

by 12Tea » Oct 28th, '17, 06:55

So many things! But what's the most important would be to know that I'd to invest in good teaware. Along my tea journey, I think I've wasted my money too much on cheap teaware. Eventually I had to buy good ones, but I wish I would know that from the beginning!

Oct 29th, '17, 16:25
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Re: What are some things you wish you knew about tea once you started getting serious about it?

by Redswam » Oct 29th, '17, 16:25

12Tea wrote: So many things! But what's the most important would be to know that I'd to invest in good teaware. Along my tea journey, I think I've wasted my money too much on cheap teaware. Eventually I had to buy good ones, but I wish I would know that from the beginning!
I kinda agree, I kinda don't. I think you should start cheap to see if it's your thing. This goes with everything, not just tea. If you first buy the most expensive stuff you can find and then realize that you are never gonna use them, the money is wasted as well

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