Dec 26th, '07, 03:18
Posts: 11
Joined: Dec 26th, '07

Newbie: What is your method of brewing tea?

by HydeInFL » Dec 26th, '07, 03:18

Hi. I'm new to the world of "good" teas. Been drinking Lipton and Tetley forever and then I recently purchased a big sample box of Mighty Leaf bags. Now I'm hooked and I want to move into loose teas. My wife bought me a Cast Iron tea pot with a built in strainer basket from Teavana for Christmas. I think we'll be exchanging it for a different pot (just because after looking at the one she bought we really don't like it that much).

I have a couple of questions around the brewing process so we can buy all the right stuff.

I see three distinct parts to the tea making process. Heating Water, Steeping, and Storing the finished tea. I'm curious how the expert tea affecianados go about this? Do you use one of those fancy automatic tea makers? Do you use three distinctly separate pots (a kettle, a steeping container with loose tea floating around, and then strain into a final tea pot for storage)? Do you use two pots and a basket (a kettle, and a pot with a basket - removing the basket of tea after steeping)? Or, do you do something different?

Does a large, fine mesh basket give the tea enough room to float around and steep properly?

I'm considering a UtiliTEA plus a different cast iron pot with built in strainer. What do you all think of this approach?

User avatar
Dec 26th, '07, 09:45
Posts: 758
Joined: Dec 22nd, '07
Location: the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the western spiral arm of the galaxy

by Sydney » Dec 26th, '07, 09:45

A bit of experimentation should reveal methods that work well for y'all.

Personally, I heat the water in a vessel other than the one in which I'll be doing the steeping (which can be anything from a kettle on the stove to my solar tea water heater [no, not kidding]). If I can get the water near but not meaningfully over 180*F (your tea's preferred temp may vary), I'm solid.

Then I fire up the "tea timer" program on my Treo, as I have the attention span of Kiki the ferret, and pour the water into my steeping vessel (usually my new ingenuiTEA these days) where the leaves can mill about freely with room to expand.

The third vessel is just some arbitrarily-chosen cup. If pouring from the ingenuiTEA, I just let it drain the water through the infuser in the bottom. Otherwise, I'll pour the tea through some fine screen that keeps the leaves out of the cup.

Alternately I'll skip half these steps and sip the tea through a bombilla used for drinking yerba, but that's a different episode. ;)

User avatar
Dec 26th, '07, 15:19
Posts: 261
Joined: Jul 24th, '05
Location: Minnesota
Contact: Carnelian

by Carnelian » Dec 26th, '07, 15:19

I most often heat water in my stovetop kettle ( a cheap red enameled one purchased at Target). If I'm in a big morning rush I'll use the hot water side of our water cooler for a sub-boiling tea (green or oolong mostly), it keeps the water around 175-185, not the most reliable but I don't have to wait for the water to heat.

My steeping vessel of choice is usually the Ingenuitea, but I also use the Personalitea and tea filters. And in the case of one of those morning rushes I tend to use a Harney & Sons pyramid teabag (Chinese Flower or Pan Asia).

My ultimate drinking device varies, glass mugs and cups purchased from adagio before Jenaer went down and various ceramic mugs aquired all over the place. The dirt cheap travel mug serves the purpose for my water cooler/pyramid bag/three minutes from thought to door, morning rushes.

User avatar
Dec 26th, '07, 18:30
Posts: 578
Joined: Aug 23rd, '07
Location: Somewhere in the wilds of Montana, but never without a teacup.
Contact: skywarrior

by skywarrior » Dec 26th, '07, 18:30

Welcome!

I use the Utilitea to boil water. I have a tetsubin and a couple of smaller travel tea cups to make the tea. My tetsubin and my travel cups have built in strainers. I do not store finished tea. Simply drink it.

User avatar
Dec 26th, '07, 18:40
Posts: 1644
Joined: Dec 20th, '06

Re: Newbie: What is your method of brewing tea?

by Mary R » Dec 26th, '07, 18:40

HydeInFL wrote:I'm considering a UtiliTEA plus a different cast iron pot with built in strainer. What do you all think of this approach?


That's essentially my approach to my every day teas, and I like it just fine. I've got other brewing vessels that I use for other teas (primarily sencha, puerh, and some oolongs), but for 90% of my every-day quality blacks, greens, and herbals, the tetsubin sees the action. It *does* have too much carry over heat for some of the more delicate teas, but outside of that it's a nice multi-tasker. My smaller cast iron pot (maybe 8 or 9 oz) sees the most action.

User avatar
Dec 26th, '07, 19:07
Mod/Admin
Posts: 22836
Joined: Apr 22nd, '06
Scrolling: scrolling
Location: Back in the TeaCave atop Mt. Fuji

by Chip » Dec 26th, '07, 19:07

Tetsubins are soooo er, hot!!!???!!! I have several, but can't get them into use for some reason. It has been a few years since I have tried though, maybe time for another try. :?:

It is mostly a kyusu for Japanese tea and yixing for Chinese and Formosan.

I want a true tetsubin style kettle...aka, no enamel lining. I have sources for them, but have not managed to find the bargain like you, Mary. They cost hundreds of dollars plus shipping mostly from Japan.

User avatar
Dec 27th, '07, 01:33
Posts: 578
Joined: Aug 23rd, '07
Location: Somewhere in the wilds of Montana, but never without a teacup.
Contact: skywarrior

by skywarrior » Dec 27th, '07, 01:33

Chip wrote:Tetsubins are soooo er, hot!!!???!!!
I want a true tetsubin style kettle...aka, no enamel lining. I have sources for them, but have not managed to find the bargain like you, Mary. They cost hundreds of dollars plus shipping mostly from Japan.


Weird, I didn't know my tetsubin was a commodity :!: It is unlined. I don't know where my mom got it nor do I know how much it was as it was a Christmas present two years or so ago.

As far as I can tell, it's traditional, but it is kind of big -- 20 oz of liquid. The instructions on it that I misplaced said it should NOT be used to heat hot water.

That being said, I believe that Montana Tea and Spice has one very similar to mine. Their website is awful, but if you call them, you may be able to find out if they still have that tetsubin. :idea:

User avatar
Dec 27th, '07, 11:05
Mod/Admin
Posts: 22836
Joined: Apr 22nd, '06
Scrolling: scrolling
Location: Back in the TeaCave atop Mt. Fuji

by Chip » Dec 27th, '07, 11:05

Thanx Sky...hmmm, if it is unlined, why wouldn't you be able to use it on direct heat. Perhaps the true kettles that can cost 100's of dollars are a heavier gauge iron...just thicker???

I have a site in Japan, all Japanese language, they have a huge selelction of them as well as kyusu. More than perhaps anywhere else. I plan on ordering some kyusu, but the shipping on one of these kettles would be huge.

User avatar
Dec 27th, '07, 11:12
Posts: 1634
Joined: Jan 28th, '07
Location: Fort Worth, TX

by Space Samurai » Dec 27th, '07, 11:12

Chip, could you send me a link to this site?

User avatar
Dec 27th, '07, 12:34
Posts: 1955
Joined: May 22nd, '06
Location: Trapped inside a bamboo tong!
Contact: hop_goblin

by hop_goblin » Dec 27th, '07, 12:34

Hmm, well I brew all of my puerh and oolongs teas both sheng and shou in yixing gongfu style. However, for my greens, whites, flavored teas and others which I am "testing" I brew in a porceline gaiwan.

User avatar
Dec 27th, '07, 13:34
Posts: 1611
Joined: Jun 8th, '07
Location: 3161 A.D.
Contact: Wesli

by Wesli » Dec 27th, '07, 13:34

Sencha in a kyuusu.

White tea in a kyuusu.

Earl grey in an infusor cup.

Everything else is usually in a gaiwan. If I had a selection of nicer yixing, I'd be using those for my pu-erh and oolongs.

+ Post Reply