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Re: Effect of teapot shape on tea

by kuánglóng » Sep 16th 15 9:37 am

kyarazen wrote:
indeed... it affects the rate of tea unfurling too... and the proportion.. with a flatter pot the leaves near the edges of the pots dont unfurl as much as those in the centre!

i've been using a 半菱 pot with a wider bottom than the top, the perpendicular straight edges from the base allows fast and homogenous unfurling so the tea is a lot fuller in the first few steeps for rolled oolongs.
Slightly OT, but what about the pouring distance? More often than not I add water from quite a distance, 1ft or more above the pot. I've rarely seen this in China but quite often in north-east India and elsewhere. I've never actually measured the changes in temperature or gas concentration :shock: but it definitely gets those leaves moving.
(My old tea mentor from Darjeeling is a bit of a messy boy himself and used to enjoy the same technique with his teas here and there.)

Sep 16th 15 9:41 am
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Re: Effect of teapot shape on tea

by Bok » Sep 16th 15 9:41 am

I only do that for the first pour, as I skip the rinsing of the leaves. It doesn’t really help afterwards, as the leaves come up to the rim, water would only sprinkle everywhere, slower pouring works better from then on.

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Re: Effect of teapot shape on tea

by kuánglóng » Sep 16th 15 10:55 am

Bok wrote:I only do that for the first pour, as I skip the rinsing of the leaves. It doesn’t really help afterwards, as the leaves come up to the rim, water would only sprinkle everywhere, slower pouring works better from then on.
Agreed when it comes to gongfu; no need to climb on a chair - something I've seen in East Frisia many years ago - no joke!

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Re: Effect of teapot shape on tea

by hobin » Sep 16th 15 2:01 pm

Bok wrote:A caveat for tall pots for high mountain Oolong. How tall are we talking about? Too tall is definitely detrimental to the taste of the tea. Or better said tall and narrow. The leaves won’t be able to expand laterally and they can not really balance that out by expanding vertically.

The pots Teamasters is using are far from what I would call tall. “Taller” than the average is probably a better term. High mountain and high pot seems more like over-thinking the whole thing…

If anything, a clay from the area the tea was grown might be something worth considering.

I would not agree with the statement of some that pot shape does not matter much, compared to other factors. On my path learning to do my own pots I have tested a lot of different shapes. I always test them with the same kind of tea and water, so I have a very direct comparison. The one thing I found is, that shape has a lot of influence on the taste! Still closing in on the perfect shape (for me), but so far medium to medium/low profiles perform best.

The other parameters of the pot, like handle and spout and overall composition affect the handling, ease of brewing more than the quality of the tea itself.
I usually brew gaoshan in a si-ting (tall pear shape). a small opening + a wide bottom work just fine for balled tea

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Re: Effect of teapot shape on tea

by Bok » Sep 16th 15 2:49 pm

Again, it depends on how we define tall.
This one for example is tall by my definition, too tall for the leaves to reach their full potential http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_JCFTB2yJ3-0/S ... MG1474.JPG

This one is medium tall and better for brewing, probably what you are using
http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/P/B ... 55300_.jpg

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Re: Effect of teapot shape on tea

by hobin » Sep 16th 15 3:44 pm

Bok wrote:Again, it depends on how we define tall.
This one for example is tall by my definition, too tall for the leaves to reach their full potential http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_JCFTB2yJ3-0/S ... MG1474.JPG

This one is medium tall and better for brewing, probably what you are using
http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/P/B ... 55300_.jpg
yes, the second one. this shape usually has taller lid walls and the charachters si-ting on them or under the handle.

https://www.liveauctioneers.com/item/24 ... lay-teapot

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Re: Effect of teapot shape on tea

by kyarazen » Sep 16th 15 4:44 pm

kuánglóng wrote: Slightly OT, but what about the pouring distance? More often than not I add water from quite a distance, 1ft or more above the pot. I've rarely seen this in China but quite often in north-east India and elsewhere. I've never actually measured the changes in temperature or gas concentration :shock: but it definitely gets those leaves moving.
(My old tea mentor from Darjeeling is a bit of a messy boy himself and used to enjoy the same technique with his teas here and there.)

8) reminded me of an old article that i had written in my previous computer and forgot all about it.

the pouring distance matters a lot!

actually water is decently superheated, depending on the structure/arrangement of the water molecule, and how you disrupt it, energy can be liberated rather intensely and quickly.

take for example, if you microwave water gently and for a long duration, it may look calm, but if you were to shake that cup of water.. you'll be in trouble, the water will splash out explosively

if you want a "safer" experiment, you can buy a nice flask, fill it half with hot water, close and open the cover repeatedly, you will find that nothing much goes on, but when you close the cover/seal the flask, give the flask a good intense shake, and open the flask slowly, you will feel/hear the "pop" sound from the steam escaping.

long story short, if you pour boiling water intensely from a height, it creates steam within the pot, and the steam penetrates leaves easily. (take for example in pu-erh tea cake compression, 12-13 seconds of steam is enough to soften a deep stack of dry maocha for compression into cakes). this will speed up tea leaf unfurling and unrolling. this will also cause the aromatics to quickly come to the surface of the leaf (due to the steam) and into the brew and also the surrounding air ;)

but there is another down side to this.. in recent experiments, I've observed that teas of the jinxuan cultivar, sijichun cultivar, they are very thin flimsy leaves with a very fragile waxy cuticle, if water is dispensed from a height, and the subsequent tea is dispensed from a height as well, plus the filtering etc, it largely reduces the "buttery" texture of the tea. also, dispensing water from a height, the steam generated easily kills and cooks these flimsy leaves. this is a reason why these teas wont do well in some yixing pot designs and in pots that retain too much heat, all the fragile notes are lost.
but since both cultivars have the highest growth rates, it is unfortunate that countless taiwanese teas are made from these cultivars in place of the original cultivars.

been working through green heart cultivar, green heart da mao, no.17, 18 cultivars recently.. these leaves are thicker, stronger and more leathery, they are quite resistant to all sorts of dispensing styles and even water off the boil! but of course one will need good tea sources and connections to get access to the more correct and unblended cultivars for each of the different taiwanese teas

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Re: Effect of teapot shape on tea

by kuánglóng » Sep 17th 15 5:50 pm

kyarazen wrote:
kuánglóng wrote: Slightly OT, but what about the pouring distance? More often than not I add water from quite a distance, 1ft or more above the pot. I've rarely seen this in China but quite often in north-east India and elsewhere. I've never actually measured the changes in temperature or gas concentration :shock: but it definitely gets those leaves moving.
(My old tea mentor from Darjeeling is a bit of a messy boy himself and used to enjoy the same technique with his teas here and there.)
8) reminded me of an old article that i had written in my previous computer and forgot all about it.
the pouring distance matters a lot!
A darn lot!
actually water is decently superheated, depending on the structure/arrangement of the water molecule, and how you disrupt it, energy can be liberated rather intensely and quickly.
I'm coming from a scientific/engineering background - quite an interesting topic.
take for example, if you microwave water gently and for a long duration, it may look calm, but if you were to shake that cup of water.. you'll be in trouble, the water will splash out explosively

if you want a "safer" experiment, you can buy a nice flask, fill it half with hot water, close and open the cover repeatedly, you will find that nothing much goes on, but when you close the cover/seal the flask, give the flask a good intense shake, and open the flask slowly, you will feel/hear the "pop" sound from the steam escaping.
My trusty japanese thermos flask agrees 100%, walls and ceiling too :mrgreen:
long story short, if you pour boiling water intensely from a height, it creates steam within the pot, and the steam penetrates leaves easily. (take for example in pu-erh tea cake compression, 12-13 seconds of steam is enough to soften a deep stack of dry maocha for compression into cakes). this will speed up tea leaf unfurling and unrolling. this will also cause the aromatics to quickly come to the surface of the leaf (due to the steam) and into the brew and also the surrounding air ;)
Back in the day I did a lot of experiments with all sorts of teas and tea gear, blind tastings, you name it. Back then you'd rarely catch me without my digital scale and thermometer, (stop)watch and my notebooks, but these days everything happens more spontaneously and intuitively. I don't jot everything down anymore but I'm still a huge fan of blind tests and tastings (and Himalayan chameleon leaves :D ).
but there is another down side to this.. in recent experiments, I've observed that teas of the jinxuan cultivar, sijichun cultivar, they are very thin flimsy leaves with a very fragile waxy cuticle, if water is dispensed from a height, and the subsequent tea is dispensed from a height as well, plus the filtering etc, it largely reduces the "buttery" texture of the tea. also, dispensing water from a height, the steam generated easily kills and cooks these flimsy leaves. this is a reason why these teas wont do well in some yixing pot designs and in pots that retain too much heat, all the fragile notes are lost.
Sounds familiar. I have some Moleskines full of observations mainly centered around leaves from Darjeeling and neighbouring Nepali estates -
I've never found any other teas to be that challenging.
(Side note: once we're at it I'd really like to discuss the aspect of cha qi with regards to Himalayan and other teas at some time. Yet another can of worms but with some know-how and the right instruments some of the phenomena could possibly be objectified).
but since both cultivars have the highest growth rates, it is unfortunate that countless taiwanese teas are made from these cultivars in place of the original cultivars.
Slightly OT (so what?) but well worth another thread IMO - the bl..dy clones :twisted:
Some years ago I had the dubious honor to work with Tukdah 78 (T78) clones, now almost forgotten but even back then not exactly my favorite stuff to start with. Ke garne - what to do ? T78 as well as some other clones were all the rage for some folks and lovers of old china jat can be more than happy today that a good number of old bushes survived those waves of madness and haven't been entirely replaced with their questionable offsprings. I better stop it here.
been working through green heart cultivar, green heart da mao, no.17, 18 cultivars recently.. these leaves are thicker, stronger and more leathery, they are quite resistant to all sorts of dispensing styles and even water off the boil! but of course one will need good tea sources and connections to get access to the more correct and unblended cultivars for each of the different taiwanese teas
I received 5 shipments of tea during the last two... weeks, all from 'reputable' sellers, about 30 different teas/samples total. Around 15! bags went right into the trash (after some sips), sold 4 packs to a friend who seemed to like some of that stuff, leaves 3 noteworthy DJs and Nepali teas, one nice Keemun and some samples to look forward to.
My next shipments will again come straight from the places where the magic stuff grows (and where I used to get my leaves from back in the day) - no more experiments here.

Back OT ... Pot shape. After all the effects of this variable seem a bit too ephemeral to put my finger on or ... objectify but I still have it somewhere on my list. Now, if I remember correctly there are two large boxes somewhere hidden in the garage, filled to the brim with all sorts of lab glass - a good starting point for future experiments.