What Oolong Are You Drinking

Semi-oxidized tea
Andrew S
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Tue Sep 14, 2021 12:14 am

Playing again with the rou gui from You Yu Qiong, Xi Qiu tea factory, which was part of EoT's yancha sample collection.

It gives me a remarkably potent feeling; a forceful kind of relaxation that suits the wet and windy weather outside.

Andrew
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Ethan Kurland
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Tue Sep 14, 2021 2:02 pm

Andrew S wrote:
Tue Sep 14, 2021 12:14 am

It gives me a remarkably potent feeling; a forceful kind of relaxation that suits the wet and windy weather outside.

Andrew
That's a statement that led me to think; &, my thoughts led me nowhere. :?: interesting
Andrew S
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Tue Sep 14, 2021 8:23 pm

@Ethan Kurland: I'm glad to have prompted a little thought journey, even if it didn't lead anywhere in the end. Some good teas can make me think, but others do quite the opposite, and nothingness can be a relaxing place to be for a while.

Today's yancha is Daxue Jiadao's ma rou, from their Wuyi Heritage selection. Bright, cheerful, fruity, persistent, obviously quite different in character to their Full Roast range, and with an uplifting feeling for me today. It also seems to match well with today's teapot.

I've been slow in getting around to playing with all of their teas, but I should remedy that. However, I'm conscious that I keep saying that... I usually tend to stay on one tea for a long time, rather than experimenting with many small samples, not just because of the benefits from learning how to drink one tea in detail, but mostly because I'm a creature of habit, and enjoying just a few different teas from day to day is comfortable and relaxing.

Andrew
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Bok
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Tue Sep 14, 2021 8:27 pm

Andrew S wrote:
Tue Sep 14, 2021 8:23 pm
I usually tend to stay on one tea for a long time, rather than experimenting with many small samples, not just because of the benefits from learning how to drink one tea in detail, but mostly because I'm a creature of habit, and enjoying just a few different teas from day to day is comfortable and relaxing.
I think this is a very good way to really get to know a tea, I often do the same. Repeating the same teas for days or even weeks on end. Some teas I have every day until I run out.
Andrew S
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Thu Sep 16, 2021 6:34 pm

I've been trying to teach myself through trial and error how to brew my own very rough and non-traditional version of the Chaozhou gongfu style of making tea (without any of the ceremony, and breaking plenty of the 'rules').

In reality, my version is just a more extreme version of how I would normally brew yancha (even more leaves than usual, crushing some of the leaves up, brewing longer, trying to get three good brews). I've been using the same pot, and the same tea, almost every single time; my hongni biandeng and a big bag of EoT's house rou gui.

I'm curious if anyone else around here dabbles in this style of making tea (whether in the traditional way, or a reinterpretation of it), and what their experiences have been.

After some practice, I can usually get three pretty decent brews now, and it is interesting how it really can work well when it is done right; it is not simply a stronger version of what you'd normally get, but it brings different qualities out of the tea, and is a different style altogether.

However, I was distracted today, and the tea suffered for my inattention.

If I'm brave enough, I might even try doing it with one of the full roast yanchas from Daxue Jiadao; they'd suit this style quite well.

Andrew
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Bok
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Thu Sep 16, 2021 6:53 pm

@Andrew S I do! I mostly use my personal variation of it for Yancha or Dancong.

I do not crash leaves though, tends to happen anyways with very small pots and I find a brew with lots of bits more difficult to control.

As you say it brings out a different quality in many teas and I like them.

I also find that skipping a pitcher gets a more optimal temp in the cup. I even use two or more cups when drinking by myself to practice the pour method and not have that pitcher in my sight.

Another thing to be said about drinking out of very small cups, same as an espresso out of a mug will not taste the same, a tea does as well.

I do push the tea until it’s falling off though, three rounds are usually too few.
Andrew S
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Thu Sep 16, 2021 7:05 pm

@Bok: yes, I also push past the traditional three brews, but my objective is to try to make those first three as good as I can make them, and then to treat any subsequent brews as a bonus as the tea fades away.

I find it interesting that you use this style of brewing with dancong, which I've always found to be too lightly roasted, and sometimes too lightly oxidised, for this kind of brewing. But perhaps I just haven't had the good stuff, and that has influenced my opinion unfairly. Or perhaps it is just a stylistic preference that works for you.

Andrew
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Thu Sep 16, 2021 8:17 pm

Andrew & Bok, Interesting. You probably differ in parameters used and/or how much time elapses between rounds, etc.

If one has crammed his pot with leaves to be steeped a fairly long time & then drank the brew quickly one round after another, by the time he is drinking a 7th round his mouth is coated w/ flavor. Extra rounds can be quite weak w/o seeming so. At least I imagine this can be how things play out sometimes.

I've recently put some favorite cups on the shelf & switched to smaller cups. I've been feeling there is an improvement but was not sure because any change if well-timed can seem like an improvement. I like reading about the drinking side of our pleasurable pastime. I was slow to realize that how we drink matters so much.
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Bok
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Thu Sep 16, 2021 8:33 pm

Andrew S wrote:
Thu Sep 16, 2021 7:05 pm
Bok: yes, I also push past the traditional three brews, but my objective is to try to make those first three as good as I can make them, and then to treat any subsequent brews as a bonus as the tea fades away.

I find it interesting that you use this style of brewing with dancong, which I've always found to be too lightly roasted, and sometimes too lightly oxidised, for this kind of brewing. But perhaps I just haven't had the good stuff, and that has influenced my opinion unfairly. Or perhaps it is just a stylistic preference that works for you.

Andrew
I think it might be your tea. Gongfu brewing is made for these teas. While against common wisdom it has not originated in Chaozhou it is certainly a region famous for practising this method. Seems to me the only way people in Chaozhou brew Dancong.

The teas I had with it range from the greener to the more roasted, all work the same with this method. With Dancong I can get 12 or more good infusions if brewing this way.
Andrew S
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Thu Sep 16, 2021 8:34 pm

@Ethan Kurland: I think you're correct that things such as cup size, cup shape, time spent between rounds, and various other factors are often overlooked as influencing our perception of what we taste and smell.

Having three small, concentrated steeps quickly is a different experience to making those same concentrated steeps over the course of an hour (putting aside things like temperature drops).

And just as Bok says, espresso out of a mug would be unlikely to be pleasurable, and a mug full of espresso would likely be overwhelming in terms of flavour (putting the quantity of caffeine aside). Similarly, I doubt that many people would enjoy drinking a pint of whisky, or a shot of beer, or a delicate wine out of a mug.

People often question the point of paying for a nice wine glass by saying that it won't make the wine any better, but I think that that kind of reasoning ignores the fact that we are humans whose perceptions of flavour and aroma are affected by various factors. It is nice to drink wine from an elegant glass made in a nice shape. It can also be nice drinking tea from a small cup, or a wide bowl, or simply an antique cup.

I've found my own general preferences have been big cups for aged puer, wide cups for high mountain tea, small cups for yancha. And for me, yancha benefits from steeping the brews quickly one after another, whereas old puer is fun to drink casually over a long period of time. Others might have different preferences, and it's fun to experiment.

Andrew
Andrew S
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Thu Sep 16, 2021 8:36 pm

@Bok: thank you, that's probably quite right. I haven't touched dancong for years, no doubt because of low-quality examples in the past (just like I've unfairly ignored hongcha).

I'll have to try some good ones and see what I've been missing.

Andrew
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tjkdubya
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Thu Sep 16, 2021 11:44 pm

Andrew S wrote:
Thu Sep 16, 2021 7:05 pm
Bok: yes, I also push past the traditional three brews, but my objective is to try to make those first three as good as I can make them, and then to treat any subsequent brews as a bonus as the tea fades away.
Hi Andrew. What are your typical steep times, roughly speaking, when you attempt the 3+bonus with full roast yancha? With the DXJD trad zhengyans I find it pretty challenging, usually I'm content to space it out over 4 intense steeps then bonus time...
Andrew S
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Fri Sep 17, 2021 2:13 am

tjkdubya wrote:
Thu Sep 16, 2021 11:44 pm
Andrew S wrote:
Thu Sep 16, 2021 7:05 pm
Bok: yes, I also push past the traditional three brews, but my objective is to try to make those first three as good as I can make them, and then to treat any subsequent brews as a bonus as the tea fades away.
Hi Andrew. What are your typical steep times, roughly speaking, when you attempt the 3+bonus with full roast yancha? With the DXJD trad zhengyans I find it pretty challenging, usually I'm content to space it out over 4 intense steeps then bonus time...
Apologies, I should have been clearer. I haven't yet tried the longer steeps / stronger infusions / three brews method with your teas yet, but I'll give it a go soon. I've only been drinking your teas in my more usual method, with shorter steeps and more infusions, and usually a 1g to 10mL ratio.

As to timing, I suppose that this stronger method for me involves six long breaths for the first infusion, three long breaths for the second, and nine long breaths for the third, with around 10g of tea for my 80mL teapot. If I get it right, the results are quite elegant, even perfumed. I find that there isn't one best way of brewing these teas; quick brews might prevent an overly roasty feeling, but strong brews can balance the roast out with additional flavour. Of course, if I get it wrong, it can go badly wrong.

I may have a higher tolerance for drinking tea-flavoured water by the end of the infusions than other people, though. It feels like saying goodbye to a nice tea.

I'll let you know what my results are trying one of your full roast ones like this. They do seem to be made for this style of brewing.

Andrew
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