Tea (rec.drink.tea) Discussion relating to tea, the world's second most consumed beverage (after water), made by infusing or boiling the leaves of the tea plant (C. sinensis or close relatives) in water.

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Old 24-04-2009, 06:08 PM posted to rec.food.drink.tea
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I've been an on-again-off-again user of various gaiwans and while I
really enjoy them I go back to my Bodum Yo-Yo mug/infusers more often
than I care to admit. Other times it is a Taiwanese tea tasting set,
the three-piece ceramic infuser mug or good 'ole Yixing. I have
finally come to my own conclusion that nothing beats the gaiwan in
almost every category. The flavor of almost any tea is (IMHO) enhanced
greater by the gaiwan than any other. It pains me to say but even my
beloved Yixing which tends to mute some flavors and create a smoother
overall experience which isn't always a good thing (actually I've
found less times it is a positive than negative).

I have gone back and forth and make mental notes over and over again
amongst them all and I can't deny the results. Ease of use, flavor,
aroma, pour, cleanup, handling, etc. they are just a perfect vessel. I
will say that I do prefer glazed china/porcelain for the overall feel
and the friction between the lid and cup which glass and some other
materials lack. Keep in mind I tend to drink heavily roasted/fired
oolongs (no TGY/green/floral oolongs), Chinese greens of all sorts,
Japanese greens, yellow teas, and a few black/red/puerh so it may be
that it just fits my teas better but overall and over quite a bit of
time I can't deny the clear winner for me. I mostly drink straight
from it, with only a few teas requiring pouring off into a separate
cup.

I'd be interested to hear of others favorite vessels and findings for
their teas of choice.

- Dominic

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Old 24-04-2009, 07:21 PM posted to rec.food.drink.tea
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"Dominic T." writes:

[...]

I mostly drink straight from it, with only a few teas requiring
pouring off into a separate cup.


I imagine the teas you find requiring you to decant the liquor are
greens, right?

I think it's always worthwhile pouring off the liquor from the gaiwan
when it's done. That way, you get to drink it exactly the way you
want. The only time I drink from the brewing vessel is when I'm using
a travel brewer, like those double-walled Chinese glass things, and
that's a compromise.

I use gaiwans the great majority of the time, but I think there are
some valuable effects you can get from some teas only with an unglazed
(Yixing) teapot.

/Lew
---
Lew Perin /
http://www.panix.com/~perin/babelcarp.html
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Old 24-04-2009, 07:32 PM posted to rec.food.drink.tea
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On Apr 24, 2:21*pm, Lewis Perin wrote:
"Dominic T." writes:
[...]


I mostly drink straight from it, with only a few teas requiring
pouring off into a separate cup.


I imagine the teas you find requiring you to decant the liquor are
greens, right?

I think it's always worthwhile pouring off the liquor from the gaiwan
when it's done. *That way, you get to drink it exactly the way you
want. *The only time I drink from the brewing vessel is when I'm using
a travel brewer, like those double-walled Chinese glass things, and
that's a compromise.

I use gaiwans the great majority of the time, but I think there are
some valuable effects you can get from some teas only with an unglazed
(Yixing) teapot.

/Lew
---
Lew Perin /


Yes, mainly the Japanese greens and a few oolongs need poured off to
keep the perfect flavor, but some greens and the yellows are pretty
tolerant of being left in and drank reasonably fast. BLC depends on
the type as to what's best and any green that gets very bitter needs
poured off, but Tai Ping Hou Kui, Dragonwell, Huo Shan Huang Ya,
tightly rolled BLC, and a bunch of other more mellow Chinese greens
can stay in. Kudingcha comes out, but I do prefer it in my gaiwan
too

Which teas do you find come out best from the Yixing? I've found I
still like my jasmine green from Yixing (so wrong, but so right),
anything that really shines from tons of leaf and quick brewing,
cooked Puerh, some Shui Xian, and the Teaspring Song Zhong Dan Cong
which comes out peachy and smooth and almost buttery.

- Dominic
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Old 24-04-2009, 09:14 PM posted to rec.food.drink.tea
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"Dominic T." writes:

[...]
Which teas do you find come out best from the Yixing?


When I want to push an oolong hard without the liquor getting too
harsh, I find it helps. Similarly, a young raw Pu'er can be softened
by an unglazed pot. Not that this is the only good way to brew either
of these types of tea...

/Lew
---
Lew Perin /
http://www.panix.com/~perin/babelcarp.html
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Old 25-04-2009, 02:42 PM posted to rec.food.drink.tea
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Youre just about there if you use the Gaiwan for Brewing AND Tasting
ie no need to remove the leaves. You have to let them cool down
before touching or become adept at handling the saucer. Still you
cant see through the lid for color or leaf. I verified on a recent
expedition to a mall store which carries the complete line of Bodum
double walled glasses are still made of pyrex not plastic. The 9oz
Pavina is perfect for tea and boiling water. I couldnt avoid the
empty Teavana. I bought some Yixing mugs that look good enough to
eat.

Jim

PS All my Japanese teas infuse from the bottom of the Pavina. They
dont float around. Gyokuro is the most YinYang tea Ive tasted, sweet
and sour. The aftertaste will linger for hours.

On Apr 24, 11:08 am, "Dominic T." wrote:
I've been an on-again-off-again user of various gaiwans

....forget the pot...
I mostly drink straight
from it, with only a few teas requiring pouring off into a separate
cup.

I'd be interested to hear of others favorite vessels and findings for
their teas of choice.

- Dominic



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Old 25-04-2009, 03:46 PM posted to rec.food.drink.tea
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On Apr 25, 9:42*am, wrote:
*I verified on a recent
expedition to a mall store which carries the complete line of Bodum
double walled glasses are still made of pyrex not plastic. *The 9oz
Pavina is perfect for tea and boiling water. *


I actually went back to that Borders a month or so ago just because of
our conversation on the plastic one and the ones out for sale were
indeed glass but they had a bunch of sets of plastic ones in the back
for teapot service. I'm guessing they are either a food service-only
type thing, or somehow got mixed up (on purpose or not) with the
Bodums. They are double walled and most certainly plastic. Of course
the high-school girl behind the counter had no idea nor cared.

- Dominic
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Old 25-04-2009, 04:39 PM posted to rec.food.drink.tea
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The glass Pavina wouldnt last too long in a Food service. ill keep my
eyes out for the plastic. I could use them in a car or rolling around
in the paneers of my bike. This summer ill make sun tea for biking,
throw some leaf in a bottle, add cold water and let nature takes it
course.

Jim

On Apr 25, 8:46 am, "Dominic T." wrote:
On Apr 25, 9:42 am, wrote:

I verified on a recent
expedition to a mall store which carries the complete line of Bodum
double walled glasses are still made of pyrex not plastic. The 9oz
Pavina is perfect for tea and boiling water.


I actually went back to that Borders a month or so ago just because of
our conversation on the plastic one and the ones out for sale were
indeed glass but they had a bunch of sets of plastic ones in the back
for teapot service. I'm guessing they are either a food service-only
type thing, or somehow got mixed up (on purpose or not) with the
Bodums. They are double walled and most certainly plastic. Of course
the high-school girl behind the counter had no idea nor cared.

- Dominic

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Old 27-04-2009, 12:45 PM posted to rec.food.drink.tea
AK AK is offline
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Dominic T. wrote:
I've been an on-again-off-again user of various gaiwans and while I
really enjoy them I go back to my Bodum Yo-Yo mug/infusers more often
than I care to admit. Other times it is a Taiwanese tea tasting set,
the three-piece ceramic infuser mug or good 'ole Yixing. I have
finally come to my own conclusion that nothing beats the gaiwan in
almost every category. The flavor of almost any tea is (IMHO) enhanced
greater by the gaiwan than any other. It pains me to say but even my
beloved Yixing which tends to mute some flavors and create a smoother
overall experience which isn't always a good thing (actually I've
found less times it is a positive than negative).

I have gone back and forth and make mental notes over and over again
amongst them all and I can't deny the results. Ease of use, flavor,
aroma, pour, cleanup, handling, etc. they are just a perfect vessel. I
will say that I do prefer glazed china/porcelain for the overall feel
and the friction between the lid and cup which glass and some other
materials lack. Keep in mind I tend to drink heavily roasted/fired
oolongs (no TGY/green/floral oolongs), Chinese greens of all sorts,
Japanese greens, yellow teas, and a few black/red/puerh so it may be
that it just fits my teas better but overall and over quite a bit of
time I can't deny the clear winner for me. I mostly drink straight
from it, with only a few teas requiring pouring off into a separate
cup.

I'd be interested to hear of others favorite vessels and findings for
their teas of choice.

- Dominic


How much water do you heat up at a time and how do you keep it hot?
I almost never use gaiwan lately because it's too much hassle to go
to the kitchen and heat up more water and I don't like the taste of
water boiled with an electric kettle.. other than that I'd love to
use gaiwans more often. I end up only drinking blacks, greens and
yellows because of this. -ak
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Old 27-04-2009, 01:26 PM posted to rec.food.drink.tea
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On Apr 27, 7:45*am, AK wrote:
How much water do you heat up at a time and how do you keep it hot?
I almost never use gaiwan lately because it's too much hassle to go
to the kitchen and heat up more water and I don't like the taste of
water boiled with an electric kettle.. other than that I'd love to
use gaiwans more often. I end up only drinking blacks, greens and
yellows because of this. -ak


Often I do use an electric kettle, one of which has a temp hold
feature and one that does not. At work I use the water cooler/heater
which is a local PA spring water and I turn the thermostat all the way
up so I get ~195-200 degrees. I actually don't heat and reheat the
water very often, in fact because I drink many teas that take lower
temps i make the first brew and then just make subsequent brews with
the water at whatever temp it remains to be. Many swear by adding heat
for each subsequent brew, but with greens I find that it's not really
necessary for many... the descending heat does just fine, I may up the
steep time a bit but that's all. Yellows also do great like this.

Same thing could be done with a kettle on the stove, heat it up once
and keep using it. I often give the same treatment to oolongs and
blacks without a major issue. There is an art to it that took me a
while to perfect and to match to my tastes but it can be done with a
little effort. The big thing is to find a kettle that keeps the heat
really well or I'd imagine you could pour off to a nice glass vacuum
thermos and use that for each brewing after the first.

- Dominic
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Old 27-04-2009, 02:50 PM posted to rec.food.drink.tea
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Dominic T. wrote:
On Apr 27, 7:45 am, AK wrote:
How much water do you heat up at a time and how do you keep it hot?
I almost never use gaiwan lately because it's too much hassle to go
to the kitchen and heat up more water and I don't like the taste of
water boiled with an electric kettle.. other than that I'd love to
use gaiwans more often. I end up only drinking blacks, greens and
yellows because of this. -ak


Often I do use an electric kettle, one of which has a temp hold
feature and one that does not. At work I use the water cooler/heater
which is a local PA spring water and I turn the thermostat all the way
up so I get ~195-200 degrees. I actually don't heat and reheat the
water very often, in fact because I drink many teas that take lower
temps i make the first brew and then just make subsequent brews with
the water at whatever temp it remains to be. Many swear by adding heat
for each subsequent brew, but with greens I find that it's not really
necessary for many... the descending heat does just fine, I may up the
steep time a bit but that's all. Yellows also do great like this.

Same thing could be done with a kettle on the stove, heat it up once
and keep using it. I often give the same treatment to oolongs and
blacks without a major issue. There is an art to it that took me a
while to perfect and to match to my tastes but it can be done with a
little effort. The big thing is to find a kettle that keeps the heat
really well or I'd imagine you could pour off to a nice glass vacuum
thermos and use that for each brewing after the first.

- Dominic


That's pretty much what I've tried to do many times but it's always
a bit off. I mean, if I heat up about 4 gaiwans worth (I have a very
small gaiwan), then it's perfect but then I have to heat up the kettle
once again.. Basically, it comes down to spending ~7 minutes to make
a 3-cup pot vs. spending at least ~45 minutes hanging around the kitchen,
heating kettle 2-3 times, timing the infusions right, and drinking
the tea leasurely. I could speed the whole thing up but then I have
to drink it too fast and that's no fun. If I could work in the kitchen
on the laptop, I would probably adjust eventually, but I hate the
laptop's keyboard.

What I end up doing is this: I have two 3-cup glass pots and I brew
in one of them, with no infuser, and then decant into the second one.
I have to say I was never able to make greens and yellows in a gaiwan
as nicely as I get them with this method, although I haven't tried
that many times. But.. it's just hard to imagine that it's possible
to make better green, yellow and black tea than that - very often
it comes out just perfect; I do like light tea--I think part of
the advantage of a gaiwan is that it's possible to make much stronger
tea without adding too much astringency and sourness; but light
tea suits me even better.

So, my only problem is oolongs and puerhs. The funny thing is that
I keep buying them and I do like them so they just keep accumulating
and... it's a good thing that they don't go stale! (well, greener
oolongs might..). But I found that I can make green oolongs quite
nicely with glass pots, too, with less leaf and longer infusions.

What I really need is one of those butane portable burners they
sell in some stores in chinatown. I saw one for only $15 and I'm
still kicking myself that I didn't get it back then.. That will
solve my puerh and oolong problem! -ak






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Old 27-04-2009, 03:07 PM posted to rec.food.drink.tea
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On Apr 27, 9:50*am, AK wrote:
Dominic T. wrote:
On Apr 27, 7:45 am, AK wrote:
How much water do you heat up at a time and how do you keep it hot?
I almost never use gaiwan lately because it's too much hassle to go
to the kitchen and heat up more water and I don't like the taste of
water boiled with an electric kettle.. other than that I'd love to
use gaiwans more often. I end up only drinking blacks, greens and
yellows because of this. -ak


Often I do use an electric kettle, one of which has a temp hold
feature and one that does not. At work I use the water cooler/heater
which is a local PA spring water and I turn the thermostat all the way
up so I get ~195-200 degrees. I actually don't heat and reheat the
water very often, in fact because I drink many teas that take lower
temps i make the first brew and then just make subsequent brews with
the water at whatever temp it remains to be. Many swear by adding heat
for each subsequent brew, but with greens I find that it's not really
necessary for many... the descending heat does just fine, I may up the
steep time a bit but that's all. Yellows also do great like this.


Same thing could be done with a kettle on the stove, heat it up once
and keep using it. I often give the same treatment to oolongs and
blacks without a major issue. There is an art to it that took me a
while to perfect and to match to my tastes but it can be done with a
little effort. The big thing is to find a kettle that keeps the heat
really well or I'd imagine you could pour off to a nice glass vacuum
thermos and use that for each brewing after the first.


- Dominic


That's pretty much what I've tried to do many times but it's always
a bit off. I mean, if I heat up about 4 gaiwans worth (I have a very
small gaiwan), then it's perfect but then I have to heat up the kettle
once again.. Basically, it comes down to spending ~7 minutes to make
a 3-cup pot vs. spending at least ~45 minutes hanging around the kitchen,
heating kettle 2-3 times, timing the infusions right, and drinking
the tea leasurely. I could speed the whole thing up but then I have
to drink it too fast and that's no fun. If I could work in the kitchen
on the laptop, I would probably adjust eventually, but I hate the
laptop's keyboard.

What I end up doing is this: I have two 3-cup glass pots and I brew
in one of them, with no infuser, and then decant into the second one.
I have to say I was never able to make greens and yellows in a gaiwan
as nicely as I get them with this method, although I haven't tried
that many times. But.. it's just hard to imagine that it's possible
to make better green, yellow and black tea than that - very often
it comes out just perfect; I do like light tea--I think part of
the advantage of a gaiwan is that it's possible to make much stronger
tea without adding too much astringency and sourness; but light
tea suits me even better.

So, my only problem is oolongs and puerhs. The funny thing is that
I keep buying them and I do like them so they just keep accumulating
and... it's a good thing that they don't go stale! (well, greener
oolongs might..). But I found that I can make green oolongs quite
nicely with glass pots, too, with less leaf and longer infusions.

What I really need is one of those butane portable burners they
sell in some stores in chinatown. I saw one for only $15 and I'm
still kicking myself that I didn't get it back then.. That will
solve my puerh and oolong problem! -ak


Oh, well maybe we are on two different pages. Let me step back and
kind of qualify what I was saying. For me 3-4 gaiwans is what I am
aiming for in a typical brewing, not speed or volume which may be more
of where I misunderstood your initial question. I can probably get 4-5
gaiwans brewed with one heated pot of water, so probably 400-600ml
(14-20oz.) of tea which doesn't really require any time investment
beyond the initial "boil" of maybe 5-7 minutes and a couple trips back
to the kettle for more water. At most I might reheat the water once
more or heat a fresh pot to boil for the last rounds or if I've spread
it out over a longer time period and the water has cooled.

Something like a Zojirushi small-mid sized kettle might work for you
if you can get past the aversion to electric heat as they can be set
and keep the water at the right temp and there is no "wasted" time or
effort. I can't see butane being preferable to electric as it is going
to possibly impart an actual taste or at least fumes which aren't the
most pleasant.

I don't do a ton of Puerh or green oolongs and when I do those tend
not to find their way to my gaiwan anyhow. That's mostly the domain of
Yixing for me. It took me a considerable amount of time to finally
settle on my gaiwans and to proclaim that they have "won." I struggled
and went back and forth over time, but for me they finally proved to
be the best balance of all aspects and even exceled in a few. My best
suggestion would be to not force it and just find your own sweet spot,
they may not be for everyone and it may take time to finally click.

- Dominic
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Old 27-04-2009, 09:40 PM posted to rec.food.drink.tea
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Dominic T. wrote:
On Apr 27, 9:50 am, AK wrote:
Dominic T. wrote:
On Apr 27, 7:45 am, AK wrote:
How much water do you heat up at a time and how do you keep it hot?
I almost never use gaiwan lately because it's too much hassle to go
to the kitchen and heat up more water and I don't like the taste of
water boiled with an electric kettle.. other than that I'd love to
use gaiwans more often. I end up only drinking blacks, greens and
yellows because of this. -ak
Often I do use an electric kettle, one of which has a temp hold
feature and one that does not. At work I use the water cooler/heater
which is a local PA spring water and I turn the thermostat all the way
up so I get ~195-200 degrees. I actually don't heat and reheat the
water very often, in fact because I drink many teas that take lower
temps i make the first brew and then just make subsequent brews with
the water at whatever temp it remains to be. Many swear by adding heat
for each subsequent brew, but with greens I find that it's not really
necessary for many... the descending heat does just fine, I may up the
steep time a bit but that's all. Yellows also do great like this.
Same thing could be done with a kettle on the stove, heat it up once
and keep using it. I often give the same treatment to oolongs and
blacks without a major issue. There is an art to it that took me a
while to perfect and to match to my tastes but it can be done with a
little effort. The big thing is to find a kettle that keeps the heat
really well or I'd imagine you could pour off to a nice glass vacuum
thermos and use that for each brewing after the first.
- Dominic

That's pretty much what I've tried to do many times but it's always
a bit off. I mean, if I heat up about 4 gaiwans worth (I have a very
small gaiwan), then it's perfect but then I have to heat up the kettle
once again.. Basically, it comes down to spending ~7 minutes to make
a 3-cup pot vs. spending at least ~45 minutes hanging around the kitchen,
heating kettle 2-3 times, timing the infusions right, and drinking
the tea leasurely. I could speed the whole thing up but then I have
to drink it too fast and that's no fun. If I could work in the kitchen
on the laptop, I would probably adjust eventually, but I hate the
laptop's keyboard.

What I end up doing is this: I have two 3-cup glass pots and I brew
in one of them, with no infuser, and then decant into the second one.
I have to say I was never able to make greens and yellows in a gaiwan
as nicely as I get them with this method, although I haven't tried
that many times. But.. it's just hard to imagine that it's possible
to make better green, yellow and black tea than that - very often
it comes out just perfect; I do like light tea--I think part of
the advantage of a gaiwan is that it's possible to make much stronger
tea without adding too much astringency and sourness; but light
tea suits me even better.

So, my only problem is oolongs and puerhs. The funny thing is that
I keep buying them and I do like them so they just keep accumulating
and... it's a good thing that they don't go stale! (well, greener
oolongs might..). But I found that I can make green oolongs quite
nicely with glass pots, too, with less leaf and longer infusions.

What I really need is one of those butane portable burners they
sell in some stores in chinatown. I saw one for only $15 and I'm
still kicking myself that I didn't get it back then.. That will
solve my puerh and oolong problem! -ak


Oh, well maybe we are on two different pages. Let me step back and
kind of qualify what I was saying. For me 3-4 gaiwans is what I am
aiming for in a typical brewing, not speed or volume which may be more
of where I misunderstood your initial question. I can probably get 4-5
gaiwans brewed with one heated pot of water, so probably 400-600ml
(14-20oz.) of tea which doesn't really require any time investment
beyond the initial "boil" of maybe 5-7 minutes and a couple trips back
to the kettle for more water. At most I might reheat the water once
more or heat a fresh pot to boil for the last rounds or if I've spread
it out over a longer time period and the water has cooled.


I have a gaiwan that's about 1.5-2oz, that might be part of the reason
why it's more labour intensive, but I feel there's an advantage, too,
because you can fill it up with enough leaf that when it expands, it
fills the whole volume and I think that keeps flavor from getting
stale longer between rounds of infusion. That's another thing I know
people do with gaiwans but I was never able to - leaving them for a
relatively long time (i.e. longer than 20mins) between rounds of
infusion, that is to say, first a few infusions out of the first boiled
kettle, then some interval longer than 20mins, then a few more infusions
- and so on: for me, I begin to notice a very, very tiny change of taste
after about 20 minutes passing (unless I keep making new infusions).

Actually now that I think about it, a larger gaiwan may keep it there
longer..


Something like a Zojirushi small-mid sized kettle might work for you
if you can get past the aversion to electric heat as they can be set
and keep the water at the right temp and there is no "wasted" time or
effort. I can't see butane being preferable to electric as it is going
to possibly impart an actual taste or at least fumes which aren't the
most pleasant.


I got a Zoji, but it's even worse than a regular electric pot. I suspect
it's because of slow heating, or maybe because of teflon. It was a waste
of $120, and by far the most expensive failed tea experiment for me
(unless you add up all the teas that turned out lousy). Come to think of
it, my issue with the regular electric kettle may be because of the
bright, chrome-covered steel on the inside, my regular kettle is a le
creuset with enamel coating and it works great, I've also had very good
results with a cheap whistler glass kettle, and I suspect the issue with
electric kettle is a consequence of water boiled in it having a slight
metallic (bright) taste. If you lick a chromed metal surface you'll get
the same taste, but not for enamel covered steel, and of course not glass.

I had an idea that if I run about a thousand or maybe 500 cycles of
water through the kettle, the steel will wear down and the taste will
improve, but that's a lot of electricty wasted, so I might try doing
that to prep water when cooking.


I don't do a ton of Puerh or green oolongs and when I do those tend
not to find their way to my gaiwan anyhow. That's mostly the domain of
Yixing for me. It took me a considerable amount of time to finally
settle on my gaiwans and to proclaim that they have "won." I struggled
and went back and forth over time, but for me they finally proved to
be the best balance of all aspects and even exceled in a few. My best
suggestion would be to not force it and just find your own sweet spot,
they may not be for everyone and it may take time to finally click.

- Dominic


So green pu-erhs work out better in yixings? Really? I somehow thought
that darker ones would work better in them. In my experience with
yixings it's too easy to overheat teas in them, and greener oolongs I've
had are not very tolerant of overheating.

How about "silver needle" puerhs - yixings or gaiwans? I only tried them
in regular glass pots so far, and they work great. I think of them as
lighter oolongs even though I've heard they're really green cakes puerhs.

-ak (rainy)
  #13 (permalink)   Report Post  
Old 27-04-2009, 09:57 PM posted to rec.food.drink.tea
external usenet poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 1,096
Default Gaiwans have won

On Apr 27, 4:40*pm, AK wrote:
Dominic T. wrote:
On Apr 27, 9:50 am, AK wrote:
Dominic T. wrote:
On Apr 27, 7:45 am, AK wrote:
How much water do you heat up at a time and how do you keep it hot?
I almost never use gaiwan lately because it's too much hassle to go
to the kitchen and heat up more water and I don't like the taste of
water boiled with an electric kettle.. other than that I'd love to
use gaiwans more often. I end up only drinking blacks, greens and
yellows because of this. -ak
Often I do use an electric kettle, one of which has a temp hold
feature and one that does not. At work I use the water cooler/heater
which is a local PA spring water and I turn the thermostat all the way
up so I get ~195-200 degrees. I actually don't heat and reheat the
water very often, in fact because I drink many teas that take lower
temps i make the first brew and then just make subsequent brews with
the water at whatever temp it remains to be. Many swear by adding heat
for each subsequent brew, but with greens I find that it's not really
necessary for many... the descending heat does just fine, I may up the
steep time a bit but that's all. Yellows also do great like this.
Same thing could be done with a kettle on the stove, heat it up once
and keep using it. I often give the same treatment to oolongs and
blacks without a major issue. There is an art to it that took me a
while to perfect and to match to my tastes but it can be done with a
little effort. The big thing is to find a kettle that keeps the heat
really well or I'd imagine you could pour off to a nice glass vacuum
thermos and use that for each brewing after the first.
- Dominic
That's pretty much what I've tried to do many times but it's always
a bit off. I mean, if I heat up about 4 gaiwans worth (I have a very
small gaiwan), then it's perfect but then I have to heat up the kettle
once again.. Basically, it comes down to spending ~7 minutes to make
a 3-cup pot vs. spending at least ~45 minutes hanging around the kitchen,
heating kettle 2-3 times, timing the infusions right, and drinking
the tea leasurely. I could speed the whole thing up but then I have
to drink it too fast and that's no fun. If I could work in the kitchen
on the laptop, I would probably adjust eventually, but I hate the
laptop's keyboard.


What I end up doing is this: I have two 3-cup glass pots and I brew
in one of them, with no infuser, and then decant into the second one.
I have to say I was never able to make greens and yellows in a gaiwan
as nicely as I get them with this method, although I haven't tried
that many times. But.. it's just hard to imagine that it's possible
to make better green, yellow and black tea than that - very often
it comes out just perfect; I do like light tea--I think part of
the advantage of a gaiwan is that it's possible to make much stronger
tea without adding too much astringency and sourness; but light
tea suits me even better.


So, my only problem is oolongs and puerhs. The funny thing is that
I keep buying them and I do like them so they just keep accumulating
and... it's a good thing that they don't go stale! (well, greener
oolongs might..). But I found that I can make green oolongs quite
nicely with glass pots, too, with less leaf and longer infusions.


What I really need is one of those butane portable burners they
sell in some stores in chinatown. I saw one for only $15 and I'm
still kicking myself that I didn't get it back then.. That will
solve my puerh and oolong problem! -ak


Oh, well maybe we are on two different pages. Let me step back and
kind of qualify what I was saying. For me 3-4 gaiwans is what I am
aiming for in a typical brewing, not speed or volume which may be more
of where I misunderstood your initial question. I can probably get 4-5
gaiwans brewed with one heated pot of water, so probably 400-600ml
(14-20oz.) of tea which doesn't really require any time investment
beyond the initial "boil" of maybe 5-7 minutes and a couple trips back
to the kettle for more water. At most I might reheat the water once
more or heat a fresh pot to boil for the last rounds or if I've spread
it out over a longer time period and the water has cooled.


I have a gaiwan that's about 1.5-2oz, that might be part of the reason
why it's more labour intensive, but I feel there's an advantage, too,
because you can fill it up with enough leaf that when it expands, it
fills the whole volume and I think that keeps flavor from getting
stale longer between rounds of infusion. That's another thing I know
people do with gaiwans but I was never able to - leaving them for a
relatively long time (i.e. longer than 20mins) between rounds of
infusion, that is to say, first a few infusions out of the first boiled
kettle, then some interval longer than 20mins, then a few more infusions
- and so on: for me, I begin to notice a very, very tiny change of taste
after about 20 minutes passing (unless I keep making new infusions).

Actually now that I think about it, a larger gaiwan may keep it there
longer..



Something like a Zojirushi small-mid sized kettle might work for you
if you can get past the aversion to electric heat as they can be set
and keep the water at the right temp and there is no "wasted" time or
effort. I can't see butane being preferable to electric as it is going
to possibly impart an actual taste or at least fumes which aren't the
most pleasant.


I got a Zoji, but it's even worse than a regular electric pot. I suspect
it's because of slow heating, or maybe because of teflon. It was a waste
of $120, and by far the most expensive failed tea experiment for me
(unless you add up all the teas that turned out lousy). Come to think of
it, my issue with the regular electric kettle may be because of the
bright, chrome-covered steel on the inside, my regular kettle is a le
creuset with enamel coating and it works great, I've also had very good
results with a cheap whistler glass kettle, and I suspect the issue with
* electric kettle is a consequence of water boiled in it having a slight
metallic (bright) taste. If you lick a chromed metal surface you'll get
the same taste, but not for enamel covered steel, and of course not glass..

I had an idea that if I run about a thousand or maybe 500 cycles of
water through the kettle, the steel will wear down and the taste will
improve, but that's a lot of electricty wasted, so I might try doing
that to prep water when cooking.



I don't do a ton of Puerh or green oolongs and when I do those tend
not to find their way to my gaiwan anyhow. That's mostly the domain of
Yixing for me. It took me a considerable amount of time to finally
settle on my gaiwans and to proclaim that they have "won." I struggled
and went back and forth over time, but for me they finally proved to
be the best balance of all aspects and even exceled in a few. My best
suggestion would be to not force it and just find your own sweet spot,
they may not be for everyone and it may take time to finally click.


- Dominic


So green pu-erhs work out better in yixings? Really? I somehow thought
that darker ones would work better in them. In my experience with
yixings it's too easy to overheat teas in them, and greener oolongs I've
had are not very tolerant of overheating.

How about "silver needle" puerhs - yixings or gaiwans? I only tried them
in regular glass pots so far, and they work great. I think of them as
lighter oolongs even though I've heard they're really green cakes puerhs.

-ak (rainy)


Heh, once again I now realize I didn't specify well... I was meaning
cooked Puerhs. I'm personally not a big fan of uncooked (well I'm not
a huge fan at all, but occasionally try some cooked when the mood
strikes) I do uncooked puerh in my gaiwan exclusively if/when I do
drink it. Most gong fu is done with greener oolongs and various
roasted green oolongs. I've never had a silver needle puerh, so that I
have no comment on. I'm not a white tea fan so even regular silver
needles gets very little time from me. I like the darker more robust
teas in yixing, it can bring out notes other methods subdue and it can
mellow out some other notes.

- Dominic
  #14 (permalink)   Report Post  
Old 28-04-2009, 12:37 AM posted to rec.food.drink.tea
AK AK is offline
external usenet poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 8
Default Gaiwans have won

Dominic T. wrote:
On Apr 27, 4:40 pm, AK wrote:
Dominic T. wrote:
On Apr 27, 9:50 am, AK wrote:
Dominic T. wrote:
On Apr 27, 7:45 am, AK wrote:
How much water do you heat up at a time and how do you keep it hot?
I almost never use gaiwan lately because it's too much hassle to go
to the kitchen and heat up more water and I don't like the taste of
water boiled with an electric kettle.. other than that I'd love to
use gaiwans more often. I end up only drinking blacks, greens and
yellows because of this. -ak
Often I do use an electric kettle, one of which has a temp hold
feature and one that does not. At work I use the water cooler/heater
which is a local PA spring water and I turn the thermostat all the way
up so I get ~195-200 degrees. I actually don't heat and reheat the
water very often, in fact because I drink many teas that take lower
temps i make the first brew and then just make subsequent brews with
the water at whatever temp it remains to be. Many swear by adding heat
for each subsequent brew, but with greens I find that it's not really
necessary for many... the descending heat does just fine, I may up the
steep time a bit but that's all. Yellows also do great like this.
Same thing could be done with a kettle on the stove, heat it up once
and keep using it. I often give the same treatment to oolongs and
blacks without a major issue. There is an art to it that took me a
while to perfect and to match to my tastes but it can be done with a
little effort. The big thing is to find a kettle that keeps the heat
really well or I'd imagine you could pour off to a nice glass vacuum
thermos and use that for each brewing after the first.
- Dominic
That's pretty much what I've tried to do many times but it's always
a bit off. I mean, if I heat up about 4 gaiwans worth (I have a very
small gaiwan), then it's perfect but then I have to heat up the kettle
once again.. Basically, it comes down to spending ~7 minutes to make
a 3-cup pot vs. spending at least ~45 minutes hanging around the kitchen,
heating kettle 2-3 times, timing the infusions right, and drinking
the tea leasurely. I could speed the whole thing up but then I have
to drink it too fast and that's no fun. If I could work in the kitchen
on the laptop, I would probably adjust eventually, but I hate the
laptop's keyboard.
What I end up doing is this: I have two 3-cup glass pots and I brew
in one of them, with no infuser, and then decant into the second one.
I have to say I was never able to make greens and yellows in a gaiwan
as nicely as I get them with this method, although I haven't tried
that many times. But.. it's just hard to imagine that it's possible
to make better green, yellow and black tea than that - very often
it comes out just perfect; I do like light tea--I think part of
the advantage of a gaiwan is that it's possible to make much stronger
tea without adding too much astringency and sourness; but light
tea suits me even better.
So, my only problem is oolongs and puerhs. The funny thing is that
I keep buying them and I do like them so they just keep accumulating
and... it's a good thing that they don't go stale! (well, greener
oolongs might..). But I found that I can make green oolongs quite
nicely with glass pots, too, with less leaf and longer infusions.
What I really need is one of those butane portable burners they
sell in some stores in chinatown. I saw one for only $15 and I'm
still kicking myself that I didn't get it back then.. That will
solve my puerh and oolong problem! -ak
Oh, well maybe we are on two different pages. Let me step back and
kind of qualify what I was saying. For me 3-4 gaiwans is what I am
aiming for in a typical brewing, not speed or volume which may be more
of where I misunderstood your initial question. I can probably get 4-5
gaiwans brewed with one heated pot of water, so probably 400-600ml
(14-20oz.) of tea which doesn't really require any time investment
beyond the initial "boil" of maybe 5-7 minutes and a couple trips back
to the kettle for more water. At most I might reheat the water once
more or heat a fresh pot to boil for the last rounds or if I've spread
it out over a longer time period and the water has cooled.

I have a gaiwan that's about 1.5-2oz, that might be part of the reason
why it's more labour intensive, but I feel there's an advantage, too,
because you can fill it up with enough leaf that when it expands, it
fills the whole volume and I think that keeps flavor from getting
stale longer between rounds of infusion. That's another thing I know
people do with gaiwans but I was never able to - leaving them for a
relatively long time (i.e. longer than 20mins) between rounds of
infusion, that is to say, first a few infusions out of the first boiled
kettle, then some interval longer than 20mins, then a few more infusions
- and so on: for me, I begin to notice a very, very tiny change of taste
after about 20 minutes passing (unless I keep making new infusions).

Actually now that I think about it, a larger gaiwan may keep it there
longer..



Something like a Zojirushi small-mid sized kettle might work for you
if you can get past the aversion to electric heat as they can be set
and keep the water at the right temp and there is no "wasted" time or
effort. I can't see butane being preferable to electric as it is going
to possibly impart an actual taste or at least fumes which aren't the
most pleasant.

I got a Zoji, but it's even worse than a regular electric pot. I suspect
it's because of slow heating, or maybe because of teflon. It was a waste
of $120, and by far the most expensive failed tea experiment for me
(unless you add up all the teas that turned out lousy). Come to think of
it, my issue with the regular electric kettle may be because of the
bright, chrome-covered steel on the inside, my regular kettle is a le
creuset with enamel coating and it works great, I've also had very good
results with a cheap whistler glass kettle, and I suspect the issue with
electric kettle is a consequence of water boiled in it having a slight
metallic (bright) taste. If you lick a chromed metal surface you'll get
the same taste, but not for enamel covered steel, and of course not glass.

I had an idea that if I run about a thousand or maybe 500 cycles of
water through the kettle, the steel will wear down and the taste will
improve, but that's a lot of electricty wasted, so I might try doing
that to prep water when cooking.



I don't do a ton of Puerh or green oolongs and when I do those tend
not to find their way to my gaiwan anyhow. That's mostly the domain of
Yixing for me. It took me a considerable amount of time to finally
settle on my gaiwans and to proclaim that they have "won." I struggled
and went back and forth over time, but for me they finally proved to
be the best balance of all aspects and even exceled in a few. My best
suggestion would be to not force it and just find your own sweet spot,
they may not be for everyone and it may take time to finally click.
- Dominic

So green pu-erhs work out better in yixings? Really? I somehow thought
that darker ones would work better in them. In my experience with
yixings it's too easy to overheat teas in them, and greener oolongs I've
had are not very tolerant of overheating.

How about "silver needle" puerhs - yixings or gaiwans? I only tried them
in regular glass pots so far, and they work great. I think of them as
lighter oolongs even though I've heard they're really green cakes puerhs.

-ak (rainy)


Heh, once again I now realize I didn't specify well... I was meaning
cooked Puerhs. I'm personally not a big fan of uncooked (well I'm not
a huge fan at all, but occasionally try some cooked when the mood
strikes) I do uncooked puerh in my gaiwan exclusively if/when I do
drink it. Most gong fu is done with greener oolongs and various
roasted green oolongs. I've never had a silver needle puerh, so that I
have no comment on. I'm not a white tea fan so even regular silver
needles gets very little time from me. I like the darker more robust
teas in yixing, it can bring out notes other methods subdue and it can
mellow out some other notes.

- Dominic


I think 'silver needle' mostly refers to the looks of the leaves,
flavour is something quite different from white teas (by the way, we
have the opposite tastes in tea - white silver needles is my all-time
favorite over anything else!). The silver needle puerh might be even
closer to golden yunnan in taste, but is very different from that, too,
especially in the sense that it never sours like golden yunnans tend to.

I've tried many, many puerhs, but I don't know how many of them were
cooked, a lot of times sellers don't specify that and I don't know how
to tell. -ak (rainy)


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