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Mar 2nd, '09, 18:08
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Concert Tea Pot - A Very Negative Review

by ChildOfNight » Mar 2nd, '09, 18:08

This idea seems great, but here is the problem, something I didn't think about happening. The constant heat that comes from the tea light candle will continue to "cook" the elements of the tea, altering it's fresh made flavors. The tea will become darker, and the fine characteristics of the tea begins to get covered up in a short time over the candle. This is coming from someone with not the greatest nose, but you can easily see it darkens cup after cup, and I can taste it changing. So if I notice it, others must be able to. I did Ali Shan, and Silver Needle White teas. It's as if the constant heat gives the tea a plain "Lipton" tea flavor over time, that begins to cover up certain characteristics. The Ali Shan suffering this outcome far worse than my white tea. Probably not the best thing to steep Ali Shan in, since it is hard for the leaves to open, however even when done, after a half an hour over a candle, the tea is not the same as fresh. The idea behind this is to be able to drink warm tea over a long period. I will not, at the expense of what the tea is supposed to taste like. Sorry to burst someone's bubble, but if it was a light ambient heat over the entire kettle, it probably would not suffer this outcome. I am sticking with single cup brewing, as the flavor is always consistent, with a little more work. Perhaps this will not bother some people, but it certainly does me.

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Mar 2nd, '09, 18:27
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by snafu » Mar 2nd, '09, 18:27

Could you not remove the filter basket after the tea is finished brewing? Sounds like the tea is continuing to brew between cups.

Anyway, it doesn't really matter what you do or how you keep it warm - tea will change in flavour after it's been sitting around for half an hour. A lot of the substances/compounds responsible for tea flavours are fairly volatile and delicate.

Your comments are a good advertisement for the traditional rule of only brewing what you will immediately drink/serve at one time.

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Mar 2nd, '09, 18:49
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by ChildOfNight » Mar 2nd, '09, 18:49

I am aware of removing the tea after it's particular steeping time. It is the elements of the finished steeped tea itself that change over the heat. And I have also had a cup of Ali Shan sitting around for three hours using my preferred method of making it. It was cold, but still tasted the same. And I am beginning to make that my staple thought. Make what you drink, and don't leave it on the burner. I am finding the Koryo steeping tea cup from Rishi's website to be about the best for me. I like the design and it works well even with the amount of expanding Ali Shan I use (little over 1 teaspoon). I have two of them, one works a little better with expanding tea as it has a slightly larger steeper, but both are fine. They are hand made not always consistant exact sizes. Holds heat in well especially when prewarmed, and more so with the lid on it, between drinks. But I usually drink it fast enough anyway. Don't mean to sound like an advertisment. It will just answer a question if anyone wonders what I have been using. The one negative to what I like to use, is particles can go through the holes in the steeper (made of stone), which i will run the tea through a fine strainer into one cup, and pour it back into my Koryo, it still stays very hot. Depends on the tea used, it's not needed for every tea. Too much left behind will make it bitter or astringent the same as an oversteep. It's my ritual, and it works great. Tea the same every time. It just sucks paying 60 dollars to see the results I get with the Concert tea pot. I wanted it to work so bad, but I will be brutally honest in it's performance.

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Mar 2nd, '09, 20:08
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by Herb_Master » Mar 2nd, '09, 20:08

The same problem that I have when I use a Glass Teapot as a Justice/Fair Cup and keep it warm over a Tea Light.

I end up keeping it on the Tea Light for 30 seconds then off for 30 seconds

I am looking for a heat diffuser to put under the Teapot

In the good old days diffusers were common - but they were made of asbestos - I have not come across a modern replacement

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Suggestions

by Intuit » Mar 2nd, '09, 20:18

Use a tea-cozy. Not the most elegant solution, but it's been in use for a long time, in homes that were, until the 60s-70s in the UK, not so well insulated and warm. Of course, you had the famed AGA in homes that could afford one (they ran on natural gas, and before that, manufactured gas) - these are stoves that remain 'on' all the time.

On the darkening: having a hard time understanding how, at relatively mild temps of teapot warming, there could be tea component reactions occurring, necessary to form phenolic complexes that would absorb light (act like dyes). Maybe there is a bit of evaporation going oh?? :unsure:

On finding heat diffusers: they make them for gas burners; should be a snap to find.

On the side: When I use my large heavy china mug to make tea using an infuser, I heat the mug beforehand. Even though the water is HOT (for making black or oolong tea), this mug manages to get cold faster than any other cup I've used. It's pissing me off, too. I whined about this problem in January, and went looking for replacement mugs for a cherished pottery pair that I had used continuously since 1976,. I finally chipped/broken beyond safe use, and had to discard them.

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Mar 2nd, '09, 22:15
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by ChildOfNight » Mar 2nd, '09, 22:15

Well if the mild heat was applied all over the tea pot I could certainly see how it would work. A more even distribution of heat. But a flame a half inch away concentrated at the bottom of the pot. The tea gets cooked or badly overheated before it moves on to recirculate. I don't think it is over evaporation, otherwise I would notice the tea level drop, and overall it simply isnt hot enough to evaporate that fast, other than making a small amount of condensation with minor evaporation. Perhaps there is some validity in the light absorbing thing, but I am not that scientific to be able to know myself. I do know the flavor changes. The taste of the tea becomes much stronger, not really bitter, or overly astringent. A stronger taste, but not the tastes you want strong. The way someone would review the taste of a tea, the desirable components, fade and become covered up. It's nice to get some responses on this. If I was able to read this before, I would have never blown 60 dollars. On a side note, the silver needle white tea doesnt get that bad, it does get way darker though the longer it stays over the candle. The Ali Shan for me gets completely ruined, starting after about 15 minutes over the flame. It's drinkable but about 50 percent as good as when I single cup brew it, and remove from heat. Silver needle is noticably better single brewed also.

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by Intuit » Mar 3rd, '09, 13:03

Must be oxidation at the point of heat application. You have several options:

Avoid post-brew heating entirely, keeping teapot warm with a coy or transferring to a (preheated) thermos.

Continue to use your tea-candle teapot, using a diffuser to avoid spot heating.

Find another way to heat the teapot other than with a candle.

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Mar 3rd, '09, 14:17
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by edkrueger » Mar 3rd, '09, 14:17

There is a tea shop by me that uses he Mono teapot with a tea light. The tea doesn't change in taste, but these are better designed for heat diffusion having a rounded bottom.

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Mar 4th, '09, 14:10
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by ChildOfNight » Mar 4th, '09, 14:10

Ya, I don't think I am going to try to modify the way I use the tea pot, I was hoping it would work fine on it's own which I am sure that is how it was intended. I am going to try to return it for some online store credit. I was also thinking it was oxidation from the constant heat. I vaguely wondered about all this before I purchased it, and than thought, I highly doubt a company would make and sell this for serious tea drinkers if it had this problem. But they did. I like this site and will continue to buy stuff, I don't mean to sound nasty about it. It's just something that should be known by others.

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Mar 4th, '09, 18:56
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by Chip » Mar 4th, '09, 18:56

I would envision using this for black teas.

I don't think I would expect it to work well with greens, whites and I guess oolongs. These teas generally do not prefer to be reheated or kept around for extended periods. And even their brewing vessels are designed to not retain heat. So it would stand to reason that this product may not be best for them.

But I have not used the product ... but have had it on my wish list for a while.

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Mar 5th, '09, 01:50
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by ABx » Mar 5th, '09, 01:50

I second Chip's comments :)

I think it also just shows a certain level of discriminating taste - I don't think most people notice. The more someone gets into tea, the easier it becomes to find the appeal in brewing in smaller quantities. Those of us that get into the expensive Chinese teas will brew gongfu style, which is typically no more than 3-4oz at a time; I prefer 80ml (about 2.5oz). In this style of brewing a "cup" is 30ml/1oz, with 90ml/3oz brewing vessels being intended to make tea for 3 people. Brewing tea like this produces much different results than even brewing just one mug at a time. In gongfu style brewing you use a much higher ratio of leaf, and so you get a lot more out of the tea; aroma and taste that most westerners don't realize tea is capable of. You might not even recognize some of the teas you have if they were to be brewed gongfu style.

...and yes, having every sip be as hot and fresh as possible is also part of it :)

So keep going! Who knows, perhaps you will soon be brewing gongfu style here with us :)

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Mar 11th, '09, 15:19
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by Bob M. » Mar 11th, '09, 15:19

ABx wrote: Those of us that get into the expensive Chinese teas will brew gongfu style, which is typically no more than 3-4oz at a time;
I'm not sure what your definition of "expensive" is, but, sorry, no, not all of us do. :)

Some of us like to do a pot, or a portion of one, and enjoy it over a stretch of time. I also happen to like the glow of the tea in the pot over a candle in the evening on a chilly night. And trust me, I make a very good pot of tea that pleases me no end. Different strokes, etc......

BUT...comparing the Concerto to the tea light warmer that Adagio sells, which I use with a glass pot I already had, the candle appears to be a lot closer, plus the warmer has a metal diffuser so the flame is not direct. One other thing I've noticed in using it, because I buy tea lights in large quantity from Pier One, after a short initial period, the flame burns a lot lower, so maybe that's something you might try.

Have you contacted customer service to see if you can return it, given the cost and the fact that you're unhappy with it?

Bob

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Mar 11th, '09, 18:25
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by bi lew chun » Mar 11th, '09, 18:25

I'll third Chip's comments. I brew both Western and gongfu, and appreciate that they each serve a different purpose, but one thing is clear: tea does not to like to sit around for long. Because aroma, feel, and temperature are at the forefront of a tea's character, I don't think there's any getting around the fact that hot tea tastes best during the first few moments after steeping. Gongfu seems to exist in part to allow people to enjoy tea over a stretch of time while still reaping the benefits of an ultra-fresh infusion. Of course, different teas behave differently--where one might still taste acceptable the next day, another gets funktified after less than an hour. But yes, different strokes is exactly right.

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Mar 11th, '09, 19:13
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by Bob M. » Mar 11th, '09, 19:13

bi lew chun wrote: But yes, different strokes is exactly right.
In the end, I think you said it all right there. :D

Bob

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Mar 12th, '09, 13:45
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by teaguy » Mar 12th, '09, 13:45

Hey, Intuit,

Thanks for mentioning Thermos just now. I thought I was going to have to do it myself! :)

For diffusing the heat, how about a thin, flat river rock over the heat source, and the teapot resting on it?

In Taiwan, our general rule is to not let the tea leaves get cold, so we finish 1 round and then steep the next round while the pot is still warm. If we're waiting awhile, we'll pour a bit of hot water over the pot from time to time. If it does go cold, we do a short steep (which mixes with the dregs in the bottom of the pot) to heat everything back up, pour it into a pitcher, and then do a longer (stronger) round to bring the flavor up. It doesn't always work, however, so (again) reread what Intuit said above.

I would say it's better to quickly brew 4-5 rounds of tea into a large container (and drinking it cold) than to let the wet leaf sit around absorbing contaminants from the air.

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