Novice help please

Semi-oxidized tea
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Baisao
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Wed Feb 13, 2019 11:25 pm

I’d suggest avoiding filters because you don’t want to remove the minerals in your water since they give the water body and flavor. A tasty spring water is best. There’s a thread here where we discuss waters. Some waters like Acqua Panna lock up flavors and should be avoided. I’ve had good luck with Iceland Springs. Others like Fiji, Crystal Geyser (source varies considerably though), Poland Springs, etc. Ideally we are going for spring waters with a TDS between 40-150, with a clean taste, that doesn’t lock up flavor like the aforementioned mineral water.
swordofmytriumph
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Thu Feb 14, 2019 1:52 am

Jimtro wrote:
Wed Feb 13, 2019 10:59 pm
This is great information, thank you.

I believe I understand the logic of the first step being longer, but having numbers to reference will definitely help.

Working on improving my teas, unfortunately I decided that I'd place my first orders during Chinese New Year :P You do have me curious about the water; I've been using bottled spring water though I've not paid much attention to the source (tastes good to me for bottled water). I'm sure the are some good threads on the subject but I'm wondering if maybe a filter is in order?
If you're using bottled spring water you shouldn't need a filter. The main reason for using a filter (for us anyway) is to remove chemicals from your tap water. With bottled water that isn't an issue, and using a filter will just remove the good parts as baisao said.

Depending on where you are, your tap water might be decent once a filter is used. I know @Victoria has had good luck with this. I don't recommend trying that though until you have enough experience under your belt with a good bottled water such as iceland springs so you are more familiar with what good tea tastes like when combined with good water. Might be something to look forward to testing later.
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Thu Feb 14, 2019 4:24 am

I suggest working on only one or two parts of preparation of your tea at a time. If you change your temperature only, you can learn how that is effecting results. If you settle on a temperature (or temperature range) as ideal for a particular tea and are satisfied completely, you can forego playing with the timing. If not, then you can experiment with timing. Once those parameters are okay for you, you can experiment with water; then, teaware etc.

A reminder: The important issues are quality of tea, quality of water, and preparation (time and temperature, amount of leaves; and your mouth--does it have salad dressing in it, did you eat a banana just before drinking tea?). Teaware is the least of it.

I think almost all of us agree on that.

My own opinion on water is that the emphasis is to avoid water that ruins tea or does not let its flavors come out; not to emphasize finding ideal water or ideal water for this tea and another water for that tea, etc.
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Baisao
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Thu Feb 14, 2019 5:05 pm

Ethan Kurland wrote:
Thu Feb 14, 2019 4:24 am
My own opinion on water is that the emphasis is to avoid water that ruins tea or does not let its flavors come out; not to emphasize finding ideal water or ideal water for this tea and another water for that tea, etc.
I agree. It's been my experience that a water that is good for one tea is usually good for all teas. The exception to this would be pairing waters with a thick mouthfeel (high TDS) to pectin-rich teas like dong pian. While this same water-- like Fiji-- might be great for dongfang meiren the brew would be too thick for dong pian. It would play as tone on tone. I'd rather have a thin-body water with a thin-body tea than a thick water with a thick tea.
Jimtro
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Thu Feb 14, 2019 8:11 pm

Ethan Kurland wrote:
Thu Feb 14, 2019 4:24 am


A reminder: The important issues are quality of tea, quality of water, and preparation (time and temperature, amount of leaves; and your mouth--does it have salad dressing in it, did you eat a banana just before drinking tea?).
This cracked me up but point definitely taken. Thank you.
Jimtro
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Wed Feb 20, 2019 11:52 pm

Thank you all very much for your help and advice. Turns out that a bit of good tea completely fixed the situation.

First attempt at gongfu cha style with Wenshan Bao Zhong spring tea was a fantastic experience! I could've used a bit more tea imo but got maybe 6-7 steeps after a wash, tasted like liquid flowers. :D

I'm excited to learn so much more while drinking some very nice tea.
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Bok
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Thu Feb 21, 2019 12:12 am

Jimtro wrote:
Wed Feb 20, 2019 11:52 pm
6-7 steeps after a wash, tasted like liquid flowers. :D
if the tea is good – and why drink bad tea – a wash is absolutely not necessary, except for Puerh.

Baozhong being one of the less endurant teas, I would fear a wash robbing me of at least a round of good flavour!
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Baisao
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Thu Feb 21, 2019 12:56 am

Jimtro wrote:
Wed Feb 20, 2019 11:52 pm
Thank you all very much for your help and advice. Turns out that a bit of good tea completely fixed the situation.

First attempt at gongfu cha style with Wenshan Bao Zhong spring tea was a fantastic experience! I could've used a bit more tea imo but got maybe 6-7 steeps after a wash, tasted like liquid flowers. :D

I'm excited to learn so much more while drinking some very nice tea.
Glad to hear it! “Liquid flowers” is an apt description of baozhong. It was one of the first teas I tried from Taiwan and I was surprised that it wasn’t scented, that all those flower note were products of terroir, cultivar, and skilled processing. It’s an underrated tea in my opinion. Common notes to look for in different steepings and temperatures are honeysuckle, “orchid”, and gardenia. One other thing I pick up with baozhong is an allspice/clove-like spiciness towards the rear of the palate.

Lastly, you can take the leaves you have used up in a session and put them into a pitcher with water and refrigerate this overnight. The next day you’ll have a delicious cold steep that is more refreshing than just about any beverage on a hot day. I’ve found this works well with baozhong and high mountain teas.

I’m really glad you found some better tea. Cheers!
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debunix
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Thu Feb 21, 2019 11:30 am

Baisao wrote:
Thu Feb 21, 2019 12:56 am
you can take the leaves you have used up in a session and put them into a pitcher with water and refrigerate this overnight. The next day you’ll have a delicious cold steep that is more refreshing than just about any beverage on a hot day. I’ve found this works well with baozhong and high mountain teas.
Yes!

And....you can plan this for hot days: I put a small quantity of dried leaf in a bottle or thermos; add a tiny quantity of hot water to 'wake' the leaf, then fill up with cold water and let steep several hours. Great for taking on hikes or drives on hot days.
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Victoria
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Thu Feb 21, 2019 1:24 pm

Baisao wrote:
Thu Feb 21, 2019 12:56 am
Jimtro wrote:
Wed Feb 20, 2019 11:52 pm
......First attempt at gongfu cha style with Wenshan Bao Zhong spring tea was a fantastic experience! I could've used a bit more tea imo but got maybe 6-7 steeps after a wash, tasted like liquid flowers. :D
Glad to hear it! “Liquid flowers” is an apt description of baozhong. It was one of the first teas I tried from Taiwan and I was surprised that it wasn’t scented, that all those flower note were products of terroir, cultivar, and skilled processing. It’s an underrated tea in my opinion. Common notes to look for in different steepings and temperatures are honeysuckle, “orchid”, and gardenia. One other thing I pick up with baozhong is an allspice/clove-like spiciness towards the rear of the palate.
Do you steep Bao Zongh on the cooler side and longer than other oolong? I have only had Floating Leaves various Bao Zongh, one of her specialties, so am not an expert. I recently order some from @Tillerman by mistake, I was distracted and thought I was ordering Bai Hao :?. Given that it is lightly oxidized and unroasted/lightly roasted in the past I steeped using cooler water 180°F-195°F. I also didn’t pre-rinse. I think I steeped longer than typical minimum 60sec. What are your parameters?
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Baisao
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Thu Feb 21, 2019 2:25 pm

Victoria wrote:
Thu Feb 21, 2019 1:24 pm
Do you steep Bao Zongh on the cooler side and longer than other oolong? I have only had Floating Leaves various Bao Zongh, one of her specialties, so am not an expert. I recently order some from Tillerman by mistake, I was distracted and thought I was ordering Bai Hao :?. Given that it is lightly oxidized and unroasted/lightly roasted in the past I steeped using cooler water 180°F-195°F. I also didn’t pre-rinse. I think I steeped longer than typical minimum 60sec. What are your parameters?
I steep everything with temps that are only as hot as they need to be. Some teas need 205° and some need 120°. Steeping everything at 205° (just off a full boil) seems silly to me even if it is conventional.

With baozhong and gaoshan I jockey between 185° and 193°, depending on the steep. No rinse and steeping time varies because my hand "knows" when to pour. Hope this helps.
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Thu Feb 21, 2019 3:16 pm

I recently order some from Tillerman by mistake, I was distracted and thought I was ordering Bai Hao
@Victoria If you'd like to exchange for the Bai Hao, please let me know.
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Victoria
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Thu Feb 21, 2019 3:26 pm

Tillerman wrote:
Thu Feb 21, 2019 3:16 pm
I recently order some from Tillerman by mistake, I was distracted and thought I was ordering Bai Hao
Victoria If you'd like to exchange for the Bai Hao, please let me know.
Haha not necessary, but thank you :) I can share with a few Bao Zongh lovers here in LA. With my last order I forgot to try your Bai Hao....next time.
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Thu Feb 21, 2019 3:27 pm

Bok wrote:
Thu Feb 21, 2019 12:12 am

if the tea is good – and why drink bad tea – a wash is absolutely not necessary, except for Puerh.

Baozhong being one of the less endurant teas, I would fear a wash robbing me of at least a round of good flavour!
Couldn't agree more.
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