May 29th, '15, 13:02
Posts: 49
Joined: May 26th, '15, 16:18

Re: Am I high? White teas seem to me to be rather delicate

by teagenesis » May 29th, '15, 13:02

Bok wrote:
.m. wrote:
Bok wrote:My teachers in Taiwan tend to brew White teas with the spoon and bowl method, rather than a gaiwan or teapot.
Can you please expand on this method? How do you use the spoon?
Well, basically you put the leaves in a bowl (preheated), add water (no rinsing) and then use a spoon to level the tea delicately into the cups. The kind of Chinese soup spoon. This way of making tea is quite difficult as the water cools quickly and all the parameters are tricky to control. But - very good for delicate teas like White and yellow tea.

Also there will always be some water left in the bowl with the tea, which is why this method should be reserved for high quality teas with little astringency. Or so I was told, I am in no way an expert in this way of brewing.
Brewing tea in a bowl is brewing tea in a gaiwan. It's just a small bowl with a lid. A slightly different shape in the bowl won't make a big difference. Therefore, I propose that you can use the exact same technique you described in a gaiwan.

One can use a small gaiwan, or a much larger one. Regardless, a bowl and a large gaiwan are virtually the same vessel. The technique is more or less exactly what I suggested; adding the leaves to the water gently (not the reverse).

In reality, using a bigger, wider vessel makes it easier, not more difficult, to brew white tea. Even with a small bowl, the parameters are just as tricky if not moreso, and the heat dies just as quickly.

May 30th, '15, 05:58
Posts: 711
Joined: Aug 4th, '14, 05:43

Re: Am I high? White teas seem to me to be rather delicate

by Bok » May 30th, '15, 05:58

What makes it difficult is the spoon, as you need to be fairly quick and steady to make sure the quality of each cup is equal.

The bowls they use tend to be flatter and wider than a gaiwan, so they allow the leaves to open more freely, without making compromises on the concentration/tea-water-ratio.

The lid of the gaiwan allows for a much easier handling than the spoon...

So I would maintain that they are two very different techniques.

May 30th, '15, 06:01
Posts: 711
Joined: Aug 4th, '14, 05:43

Re: Am I high? White teas seem to me to be rather delicate

by Bok » May 30th, '15, 06:01

Maybe one could say, that is is easier with a wider bowl to get out the best of a white tea. Still at least here in Taiwan this technique is considered quite difficult, more so than a teapot or gaiwan.

May 30th, '15, 09:25
Posts: 49
Joined: May 26th, '15, 16:18

Re: Am I high? White teas seem to me to be rather delicate

by teagenesis » May 30th, '15, 09:25

Bok wrote:What makes it difficult is the spoon, as you need to be fairly quick and steady to make sure the quality of each cup is equal.

The bowls they use tend to be flatter and wider than a gaiwan, so they allow the leaves to open more freely, without making compromises on the concentration/tea-water-ratio.

The lid of the gaiwan allows for a much easier handling than the spoon...

So I would maintain that they are two very different techniques.
I guess the technique is different with the spoon. I've done it before only I used the lid of my wide glass bowl as a tool instead of the spoon. The width and girth of the bowl are very useful, but to me it is just like a gaiwan, but wider. With more water and tea than a small gaiwan, this automatically increases the difficulty of brewing the tea perfectly.

My challenge lies in outwelling the tea from the bowl. It is trickier to pour from a big wide bowl than from a gaiwan.

User avatar
Dec 26th, '15, 04:29
Posts: 210
Joined: Dec 25th, '13, 22:59
Location: bangkok

Re: Am I high? White teas seem to me to be rather delicate

by john.b » Dec 26th, '15, 04:29

I just wrote a blog post comparing two white teas that drifted well into this subject, with a section on variations in brewing parameters. The summary version is that people seem to tend to drink them as either a very thin, wispy tea brewed quickly or else at a comparable strength to other teas, which requires a longer than standard brewing time. Of course nothing is stopping anyone from going somewhere in the middle.

The tangent at the end of that post about those extremes related to a discussion in a Facebook group about how flavor profile comes across, which varies with the brewed strength of the tea. The short version of is that one may be able to taste more of the range of the tea brewed lightly, and experience more related to the transition of the tea across infusions, but it's not as simple as that. Range of tastes is just one aspect, along with astringency, the feel of the tea, etc.

At the bottom of all that is preference. It may well be that some parameters would seem objectively better but really in the end it's about preference. Since it may be that preference naturally shifts in one direction over time that could be objective in a very limited sense, related to a shared informed perspective. For me I like them brewed on the lighter side as well, for what that's worth, maybe just not really light. Here's that post, in case it's of interest, with more detailed review of two silver needle teas.

http://teaintheancientworld.blogspot.co ... ilver.html

Dec 27th, '15, 00:54
Vendor Member
Posts: 1307
Joined: May 27th, '12, 12:47
Location: Boston, MA

Re: Am I high? White teas seem to me to be rather delicate

by ethan » Dec 27th, '15, 00:54

+1 to what John wrote. This year I've been greatly amused by how much difference there is w/ variations of preparation of one white tea-- not only due to time & temperature parameters but even big difference in the steep of a thin porcelain gaiwan & a thick celadon teapot. What's also good is that it is not just amusement but good flavors.

User avatar
Dec 27th, '15, 23:33
Posts: 4584
Joined: Apr 1st, '09, 00:48
Location: Bangkok

Re: Am I high? White teas seem to me to be rather delicate

by Tead Off » Dec 27th, '15, 23:33

Darjeeling and Nepali white teas are amongst the best 'whites' I've ever tasted. Often organic, very pure, sweet flavors and aroma. Nothing shy about these teas. Refined, yes. Delicate? Not particularly. They are particularly user-friendly, I would say.

User avatar
Dec 31st, '15, 21:35
Posts: 93
Joined: Mar 3rd, '15, 22:21
Location: Dix Hills, long Island, New York
Contact: NateHevens

Re: Am I high? White teas seem to me to be rather delicate

by NateHevens » Dec 31st, '15, 21:35

It's funny. Teavana brews our Silver Needle at 175F for 2 minutes, and our Silver Yin Zhen Pearls at 175F for 4-5 minutes.

The resulting brews, however, are rather... bland (of course).

I can't remember where I had it, but I did have a silver needle a while ago brewed "delicately" (low temp, shorter time), and it was very nice. A bit sweet, actually (no sugar added).

Once I have the space and money to get more teas, I'll be searching out a couple whites (and oolongs). I'm looking forward to experimenting with them...

User avatar
Jan 5th, '16, 21:56
Posts: 210
Joined: Dec 25th, '13, 22:59
Location: bangkok

Re: Am I high? White teas seem to me to be rather delicate

by john.b » Jan 5th, '16, 21:56

I generally like the Bai Mu Dan / white peony style of whites better, although these vary a lot in terms of how they are prepared and the final tea output. Of course the difference is using both tea buds and some small leaves, but some preparations use quite a bit of leaf, which sometimes works out well.

Silver Needle or bud-only style teas (which Silver Needle is only a subset of, per some input I've ran across) tend to be really subtle in nature (some would describe as delicate, but how one uses such terms would vary), some with interesting flavor profiles, but it helps to like subtle teas in general and those particular profiles.

That Nepal white tea that I and a couple others had mentioned (Shangri-la) was based on both buds and smaller leaves but seemed nothing like conventional Bai Mu Dan versions. I'm surely not the best person to describe what the difference was, but part of it related to a lot of regional character showing through, but that must have only been part of it. I've also tried a Malawai white tea made from larger leaves, which they describe as Bai Mu Dan style, but are really a unique type, which was really nice.

+ Post Reply