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

by Poohblah » Mar 4th, '10, 23:17

I have seen many different suggestions from various vendors suggesting I brew white teas anywhere from 160 degrees F to just short of boiling and usually for 4-5 minutes. However, for me, this usually results in an unpleasant, astringent taste. I have found that a lower temperature around 135-150 degrees and a short steeping time of a minute or less results in a sweeter, stronger, and more savory taste. Any hotter or longer than this and the astringency arrives. I only have a couple of whites, the first is a silver needle and the second is unlabeled (read: cheap). For the record, I am brewing gong fu in a glass gaiwan.

Am I just sensitive, am I high, or are whites really as delicate as they seem to me to be?

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

by Chip » Mar 5th, '10, 00:21

It seems that people brew whites using extremely varied methods/parameters. I tend to like them brewed lighter as well, though not as "lightly" brewed as you do. I tend to go around a minute using 160ish* water. This strikes the perfect balance for me.

I cringe when I hear 7 minutes or 185* ...

I don't think they are delicate, but how one brews them indicates how an individual likes their tea. Perhaps whites bring this out better than any other tea?!?

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

by Sententia » Mar 5th, '10, 06:52

I just brewed some SilverNeedle, at around 180 for alittle over 10 minutes .. I always use double the amount too, but I always get a tea high after. It's a great feeling.. I like it at night or morning, I can't decide if it's my favorite white tea over Snowbud and White Peony , I love all 3 equally , just depends on what you're feeling .. but I feel a rush though, first on my tongue.. and it resonates throughout my palate .. and then in my eyes and nose. After I'm done with my white tea, normally I feel relaxed, if I'm in distress I feel at ease. I love my tea. It's delicate in the sense that the taste is mild but the tea itself is resilient, it does its job.

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

by Tea_Rex » Mar 5th, '10, 15:12

"I cringe when I hear 7 minutes or 185* ..."

If you read my Tea Day post today, you must have cringed. I was doing a white at 185F, per the vendor's instructions. Not for seven minutes, though. Now I need to try this tea at lower temperatures to see what I think. This is one of the things I love about tea - the variety of tastes you can get out of one kind of tea.

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

by entropyembrace » Mar 5th, '10, 16:26

the brewing vessel matters too! huge difference between brewing in a gaiwan with high leaf to water ratio vs brewing in a fairly big pot with a lot of water for the ammount of leaf.

And most commercial brewing instructions give infusion times for the big pot.

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

by teaisme » Mar 5th, '10, 16:50

I find whites taste very good brewed with lid off a porcelain teapot
This gradual cooling gives me a nice full rich flavour, with no astringency, so you can brew 3 or so mins and by the time you drink its just warm. I usually brew in a room with the temp set at 66-68 so it cools rather quick.

It seems like brewing a longer time ,with initial water at about 180 first but cooled fast over 3 mins (no preheat), really produces a flavour explosion with good mouth feel/body (good juiciness to it) and it's very smooth , not recommended though if you like your tea hot

I don't have to use much leaf at all to get good results with silver needles and white peony. This morning I got 3 good infusions from 2grams in 140 ml pot.

for the next few infusions I gradually up temp and time

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

by Poohblah » Mar 5th, '10, 18:37

Good to hear; at least I can rest assured that I am not high.

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

by brad4419 » Mar 21st, '10, 10:29

Chip wrote:It seems that people brew whites using extremely varied methods/parameters. I tend to like them brewed lighter as well, though not as "lightly" brewed as you do. I tend to go around a minute using 160ish* water. This strikes the perfect balance for me.

I cringe when I hear 7 minutes or 185* ...

I don't think they are delicate, but how one brews them indicates how an individual likes their tea. Perhaps whites bring this out better than any other tea?!?
Chip I must have learned to brew whites from you :wink:

I like to brew whites in a glass vessal at 160* for 1 minute. I used to brew very strong with too much leaf for like 4 minutes and it was awful.

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

by debunix » Mar 21st, '10, 13:10

I just brewed a quite sensitive "precious rare white tea" from an hui several times in the past two days, and it is definitely a tea that is absolutely magical brewed below 160 degrees, and one accidental infusion at 180 degrees was NOT pleasant. And most of the infusions were very short, 30-45 seconds.

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

by Chip » Mar 21st, '10, 13:16

brad4419 wrote:
Chip wrote:It seems that people brew whites using extremely varied methods/parameters. I tend to like them brewed lighter as well, though not as "lightly" brewed as you do. I tend to go around a minute using 160ish* water. This strikes the perfect balance for me.

I cringe when I hear 7 minutes or 185* ...

I don't think they are delicate, but how one brews them indicates how an individual likes their tea. Perhaps whites bring this out better than any other tea?!?
Chip I must have learned to brew whites from you :wink:

I like to brew whites in a glass vessal at 160* for 1 minute. I used to brew very strong with too much leaf for like 4 minutes and it was awful.
Your methods seem very sound to me. :mrgreen:

Case in point! :wink: :
debunix wrote:I just brewed a quite sensitive "precious rare white tea" from an hui several times in the past two days, and it is definitely a tea that is absolutely magical brewed below 160 degrees, and one accidental infusion at 180 degrees was NOT pleasant. And most of the infusions were very short, 30-45 seconds.

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

by Tea_Rex » Mar 22nd, '10, 15:53

I see more instructions to brew whites at 185F than other temperatures. But after Chip's post above a couple of weeks or more ago, I started trying silver needle and longevity brows at 175 and like the cup even better than before. Silver needle was ruined by using 185F, though longevity brows can stand up to the higher temp better IME. At the lower temp, they are more nuanced and have more flavors for me. Brewed at the higher temperatures, I taste fewer things.

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

by Skippyandjif » Apr 25th, '10, 15:50

I also brew whites at about 160 degrees, with brewing times starting at 45 seconds and increasing by 15 or 30 seconds per steep-- it has a really delicate, wonderful taste if treated right, but it's so tricky!! :shock: It took me ages to figure out how to brew it right, but now that I have, it's muuuuch more enjoyable.

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

by bryan_drinks_tea » Jul 28th, '10, 16:51

I tend to keep my white teas at 168-174. I used to brew lots of it, and I would usually keep the infusion times short, from 15-20 seconds. when the flavor started getting weak I would increase the brew times by about 5-7 seconds. I love white teas, but I'm spending all my money on other teas these days.

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

by Katy1977 » Jul 28th, '10, 19:08

I have been brewing my white tea for 7 minutes (as per manufacturer's recommendations) and sometimes it does taste bitter, so I will try to brew it for less time now. If you don't mind my asking, how do you know what temperature the water is exactly? Is there a special tea thermometer? I usually boil the water with the kettle and wait between 3-5 minutes before brewing white teas or rooibos, but of course if there is a better way I would like to know, thanks so much for any help. :)

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

by Proinsias » Jul 28th, '10, 19:50

gaiwan 1/2 to 3/4 full. water a few minutes off the boil. first few brews are pretty much instant. After 4 or 5 brews step up the temp.

Five mins in a gaiwan sounds like an awfully long time.
churng wrote:I find whites taste very good brewed with lid off a porcelain teapot
A gaiwan with the lid off, aside from when pouring, works a treat.

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